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Teenagers have an unprecedented number of opportunities to connect with others, yet many still lack true friends and significant relationships (even though they have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook). Today, we are finishing up with two more principles to teach teenagers how to better connect with other believers (catch yesterday’s article HERE):

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Strengthen the leaders in your ministry with this practical training from
Doug Fields and Josh Griffin.

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3. BE YOURSELF
You can’t have a real friendship if the other person doesn’t know the real you. Be revealing and share your true thoughts and feelings. This isn’t as easy as it may sound! The risk of rejection is great and it’s easier to settle for a superficial connection rather than face potential rejection.

Acknowledge the risk, but challenge yourself to move toward honest sharing by refusing the temptation to wear a mask. The goal is to become less concerned with presenting an image you think others will accept. It’s a natural action that we take because we desire to be known and accepted. Yet, ironically we end up more isolated because our friends aren’t connected to the real us…rather a fake image of what we are projecting to them.

4. CHOOSE AFFIRMATION OVER CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS
It’s tempting to talk bad about others. To tear someone down with gossip or criticism doesn’t take much intelligence. It may be juicy, but ultimately it’s hollow and lacking substance. When the main connection friends have in common is negative, there is little depth in the relationship. It won’t be long until the character assassins turn on each other. Stay away from putting other people down and instead look for how you might build them up with words of affirmation. Doing this actually requires intelligence and is the path to deepening relationships.

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Strengthen the leaders in your ministry with this practical training from
Doug Fields and Josh Griffin.

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Life can be lonely. Deep, lasting friendships can become a reward that follows you for the rest of your life.
 

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