I had one particular friend growing up. (Okay, sometimes more than one.) She was very cute and, even though initially shy, quite popular with the guys. So on a fairly regular basis one of our classmates (or a student a grade or two above us) would sneak up to me when my friend wasn’t around, asking that all-important question: “Do you think she likes me?”

Thus, I ended up negotiating several relationships for my friends in our early teen years. Yes, I was a preteen relationship broker. Did you have experience with one of those? A guy would go to a “broker” (ex. girl’s insider friend) for advice or encouragement about the girl of their interest, and the broker would relay the guy’s sentiments and bring back positive (or sometimes lukewarm) responses. Said couples would then “get together.” (We were sheltered kids in the ’90s, and too young to drive, so being “together” was relative.) Sometimes the guy would return if he seemed troubled by a lack of attention or were worried about his relationship status; the inside friend would be a sounding board for the girl’s dating concerns as well.

Helping my friends through their early relationships was probably my first experience as a middleman, and as a counselor. And despite the drama of young teenage romantic notions, I think I actually enjoyed having a hand in the developing relationships around me. It may have been a little silly, but in the little world in which I grew up I was a necessary negotiator, as my peers slowly became comfortable with a more direct approach to the opposite sex.

What can I say? Sometimes a mature adult’s third wheel is an emotional teen’s trusty sidekick. 🙂

What about you? Did you ever take advantage of a “relationship broker”? How did your early teen relationships work out?

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