When I first got out of college I started working with the teen girls at church. I was one of the younger leaders, and immediately got talked into leading an “accountability group” for the junior high school girls.
In case you aren’t familiar with accountability groups I’ve always compared them to AA meetings for Christians.
“Hello, my name is Marie and I’m a sinner.”
Basically, you share what is going on in your life. Specifically, everyone goes around and talks about how bad they feel because they didn’t read their Bible this week/watched a tv show they shouldn’t have/got angry at an old lady driving in the fast lane. We all promise to do better and to hold each other “accountable” to our promise. Oh, and everything that is said is confidential. We don’t want anyone finding out that we… sin.
So I’m leading this accountability group for these 13 year olds, and can I tell you that I was super ecstatic about it. No, seriously. I was going to get to listen to 13 year old girls lament over ACCIDENTALLY saying the f-word during 2nd period. This was going to be cuter than baby toes, People.
Being the accountability group leader meant that I became, by default, one of the coolest adults ever because I didn’t judge them for being teen girls and sometimes thinking more about the boy that sits behind them on the bus more than they think about Jesus’ sacrificial love.
At the same time I’m leading this group Mark and I are at the very beginning of our relationship. He had just started attending the church (which is how we met) and our budding relationship quickly made it on many church members’ radars. We weren’t really that interested in being church gossip, so other than my family and a family he was particularly close to, no one knew much about what was going on between us other than we sat together during service.
Well, after we kissed for the first time I was ready to tell the entire world.
Mark: Um, no.
Me: No? What do you mean ‘no’? I can’t tell anyone?
Mark: People are going to talk and I just don’t feel comfortable with it…
Me: Fine, of course. My lips are sealed.
Ah, but little did he know that I had an accountability group. An accountability group filled with teenage girls. Teenage girls that would LOVE to squeal about this first kiss. Teenage girls who couldn’t tell anyone what they knew because “what’s said in here, stays in here”.
I couldn’t wait for accountability group that week…
Me: Guess what, girls? Mark kissed me this weekend!
The Girls: Squeal!
Me: I know, right?
One girl who was part of the family that Mark was close to: Mark? The Mark that hangs out with my family?
Me: Yeah, we’ve been dating for, like, a month.
Girl: Oh. That’s… interesting.
Me: What is…interesting?
Girl: Oh, well, I just remember when you guys went on your first date…
Girl: Oh, nothing.
Me: What’s said in here stays in here, so go ahead and tell me, little brat with information I NEED precious child of God.
Girl: Well, I just thought I remember him saying that he wasn’t… interested. In you.
Did someone just karate chop me in the neck? Because I can’t breathe.
Me: Um, yeah… so… why don’t we just move on. Random Teen Girl, how many times did you read your Bible this week? Only twice? Way to go on loving God. Jeesh.
I was devastated. He wasn’t interested in me? But he took me out to eat. And it wasn’t Burger King. And he called me all the time. And he let me rent girlie movies. I had read all the signs wrong.
I was going to have to approach him in a mature, calm, rational manner…
Me: YOU AREN’T INTERESTED IN ME!
Mark: I’m sorry, what? And why are you yelling?
Me: Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell…you aren’t interested in me, YOU JERK.
Mark: Of course, I’m interested. What are you talking about?
Me: I told the girls in accountability group that we kissed-
Mark: YOU TOLD THEM WE KISSED!
Me: Look who’s yelling now! And of course I told them we kissed! THAT’S WHAT 13 YEAR OLDS DO!
Mark: FYI! You’re. Not. 13!
Me: Mere technicality. And so NOT the point of this fight. This fight is about how you weren’t interested in me after our first date.
Mark: YOU KNEW THAT ALREADY!
Oh. Yeah. I did know that.
When Mark and I hung out for the first time we both left thinking, “eh”. Neither of us were interested. I had told my mom he was a leetle too arrogant for my liking and he had, apparently, told his friends that I giggled too much wasn’t his “type”.
Obviously, things worked out fine, but I just wanted to let this be a warning to all: Taking relationship advice from a 13 year old could, frankly, ruin your life. Don’t do it.