Teaching Opportunities: Parents Need to Better Understand How Teen Experience Impact the Mind

pexels-photo-89873For a while now, science has understood that the teenage brain is still developing, and that certain factors can have a lasting impact on that development. But thanks to the latest imaging technology, research is beginning to shed even more light on how adolescent experiences — both good and bad — affect who teenagers are likely to become.

Experts estimate that, although the brain’s volume is within 5% of adulthood by about age 5, that development is far from complete until adolescence has passed. For most people, development continues into their 20s.

What That Means for You

Most parents don’t fully understand the effects of certain behaviors and experiences on the developing adolescent brain. Too often, we dismiss certain behaviors as part of growing up, assuming our teens are “going through a phase” and will “grow out of it.” On the contrary however, research has actually shown strong correlations between adolescent experience and adulthood, illustrating the fact that some experiences, whether positive or negative, help determine the kind of adult your teen becomes. That makes it extremely important for parents to be watchful, seeking out help where necessary.

What That Means for Your Teen

Every adolescent brain is different, and development can happen at slightly different rates. But let’s go over some of what has been proven when it comes with linking adolescent experiences and behaviors with brain development. For example:

  • Binge drinking can actually cause irreversible brain damage. Researchers have found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of teenagers who drank heavily. It is believed that this nerve damage has a negative effect on both attention span and comprehension. Also, drinking alcohol during adolescence has been shown to play an adverse role in memory and thought process.
  • Teens whose parents go through a divorce may grow up to be more anxious or aggressive. They may be at higher risk for substance abuse and delinquency, rendering even greater impact on their maturing brain.
  • Smoking pot (especially before age 16) has been linked to cognitive problems into adulthood.
  • Abuse or bullying can have prolonged impacts that last into adulthood, including higher likelihood of poor mental and physical health, lower education levels, and difficulty in social relationships.
  • Peer rejection is actually more stressful for adolescents than for children, invoking a greater stress response.
  • Experiencing or witnessing violence in adolescence leads to a higher risk of violent behavior as an adult.

The Good News

While there are a host of risky behaviors and troublesome experiences that can adversely affect the teenage brain, the news isn’t all bad. Researchers are beginning to study the flip side of the coin — meaning how positive parenting and positive experiences affect the developing adolescent brain for the better. For example:

  • Supportive, loving parenting has been shown to have strong, positive effects on behavioral, cognitive, and psychological development throughout a person’s lifetime.
  • Learning to play and appreciate music has been linked to higher test scores and better ability to memorize. It has also been shown to improve self-esteem.
  • Teens who are generally happy, with a positive outlook on life and hope for the future, are more likely to keep that attitude into adulthood.

The Bottom Line

Many teens are reluctant to listen to a parent who’s in lecture mode. While we, as loving parents, want so badly for them to understand what we are trying to teach them, a more effective method may be to turn everyday experiences — good or bad — into opportunities for learning and growth.

Parents should educate themselves on how different types of experiences can affect the teenage brain. Once you learn, don’t be afraid to pass on that knowledge when the opportunity arises. For example, along with talking to your teen about your expectations that they don’t drink, make sure you understand the long-term effects so you can pass on the knowledge. When your teenage daughter feels rejected by a love interest or social group, understand that her stress level is off the charts and take her emotional state seriously. Encourage meaningful discussion of current challenges, but try to face them with a positive attitude and resolve that will carry your teen into adulthood. And as always, if your teen is struggling with bad experiences or behaviors that you believe are having a lasting effect, don’t hesitate to go to reliable sources for information and guidance.

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15 Intense “Buffy” Moments That Still Give You The Feels

1. “Prophecy Girl,” Season 1 finale

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One of the most heart-wrenching moments in the whole episode is when Buffy loses it, saying she wants to quit slaying and stating she’s too young to die. This is of course true, but also doesn’t help in the long run, because she does in fact die. However, not for long, and the episode ends in an upbeat way.

2. “Surprise,” Season 2, Episode 13

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If you’ve watched Buffy at all, odds are you’re as in love with Angel as Buffy is (well, maybe not as much — but close enough). That being said, this episode literally rips the heart out of anyone rooting for the couple, much like their happy ending was ripped from them. While a little cliché, Buffy and Angel make love for the first time on her birthday, but then Angel loses his soul (because consummating the relationship with his true love made him just a little too happy for the Gypsies who cursed him). This causes him to turn into the demon most vampires are. He breaks Buffy’s heart over and over again, due to the fact that he makes fun of her love for him (or for Angel) and physically hurts her as well in their duels.

3. “I Only Have Eyes for You,” Season 2, Episode 19

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While Angel is out being the most evil vampire he can be (because he no longer has a soul), a heartbroken Buffy is still trying to deal with life, which includes paranormal activity as well as vampires. The ghosts of dead lovers take over Buffy’s and Angel’s bodies, making them play out their failed love, only to change the ending to a happy one, so that they can move on to the afterlife.

4. “Becoming Pt. 2,” Season 2, Episode 22

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At the conclusion of this failed love arc that Angel and Buffy have going on, there seems to possibly be a light at the end of their tunnel. Willow, a witch, believes she can get Angel’s soul back, ridding them of the monster that is Angelus. However, he already opened a portal to another dimension that would destroy this one, so naturally Buffy has to kill him to stop that from happening. Oh, but of course, not before she sees Angel, the love of her life, is back. Just stab me instead, why don’t you?

5. “Helpless,” Season 3, Episode 12

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This episode shows Buffy in a very vulnerable position physically, which is something we hardly ever see on the show. On her 18th birthday, Buffy realizes she starts losing her slayer strength and coordination. She questions her calling as the slayer, panicking about becoming a new, helpless Buffy, a sitting duck for all things Hellmouth-y.

6. “Wild at Heart,” Season 4, Episode 6

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Willow dates a werewolf by the name of Oz, someone we’re introduced to in the first season. However much in love they were (which was a lot) doesn’t really matter after this episode. He meets a fellow werewolf, Veruca, and they sleep together twice with Willow catching them the second time. Of course, Oz isn’t too much to blame, what with his not being able to control his wolf instincts. However, he broke Willow’s heart, and in response, leaves town. Tissues, please!

7. “The Body,” Season 5, Episode 16

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This is where Joyce (Buffy and Dawn’s mom) is found dead by none other than Buffy herself. Those almost-soundless minutes after discovering her body are some of the most heart wrenching in all of TV history (and you can quote me on that). I really can’t watch this episode without getting teary-eyed myself. Especially when she has to tell Dawn. Wow.

8. “The Gift,” Season 5, Episode 22

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As if one major death in a season isn’t enough, Joss had to go and add the death of all deaths; Buffy herself. While she had died in the first season, only to come back to life, it was shocking to see her hit the floor and not come back. We see her sacrifice herself, give Dawn the gift of her own life, and then hear one of the most iconic speeches in the whole series: “The hardest thing in this world — is to live in it. Be brave. Live…for me.” JUST KILL ME OFF TOO, WHY DON’T YOU, JOSS.

9. “Bargaining Pts. 1 and 2,” Season 6 Episode 1 and 2

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Fresh off of Buffy’s death, Season 6 not only shows you how everyone is coming to terms with what happened, 147 days (or so) after, but doesn’t really give you time to heal because *boom* Willow has a plan to bring her back. These two episodes bring about such a whirlwind of emotion, from loss and sadness to joy (from the Scoobies). But seeing how distraught and wounded Buffy is brought about so many questions: where was she? Was she in a hell dimension like Willow said? Is she catching onto Spike’s new, caring (kind of) nature? Did another slayer rise up while she was down for the count?? The answers are what hurt the most, honestly. I need a drink after a viewing of this one.

10. “After Life,” Season 6, Episode 3

The WB

This one is mainly on here because this is another rare time where Vulnerable Buffy is front and center. Also the fact that she still looks so out of place and uncomfortable is just unnerving. Oh, and we find out that she was actually in heaven and is now living in her own personal hell because Willow & Co. ripped her out of there. Oy vey!

11. “Once More With Feeling,” Season 6, Episode 7

The WB

This episode fills you up with so many feel-good songs and dancing that it has to be on this list. Joss Whedon really outdid himself with these original songs and lyrics, even getting (most) of the cast to sing! These songs are classics and deserve to be shouted at the top of your lungs! Tara and Willow are the absolute most ship-worthy couple in this musical episode and I just love Anya’s songs (she’s almost more hilarious in lyrical form). Oh, and Buffy and Spike kiss at the end, so there’s that. *swoon*

12. “Normal Again,” Season 6, Episode 17

The WB

This episode is on this list, not because it induces “feels” that make you want to cry from pain or joy. No, this is on the list because it makes me feel like I want to lock myself in a room and think about if we’re in a Matrix-type simulation or if this is real life. No joke, this episode messed me up and I had to sit on it for a week or so before continuing on with finishing the season. Basically, Buffy gets stung by a demon and the poison makes her have visions of being in an insane asylum due to the fact that she has delusions of being a vampire slayer. This is obviously in direct contradiction to everything the show is based on, so it can’t be the true reality, right? Well, who knows, I guess…

13. “Seeing Red,” Season 6, Episode 19

The WB

We’ve discussed multiple character deaths so far. But this one might be the most devastating. Buffy was a hard one to go through, and so was Joyce. However, Tara’s death is the most gruesome and tragic, and Willow’s reaction is literally the stuff nightmares are made of.

14. “Empty Places,” Season 7, Episode 19

The WB

Season 7 was probably the darkest, with the bleakest moments in the whole series. Tensions are high, potential slayers are everywhere, and there are multiple times where the audience feels just as hopeless as those on screen. Sunnydale is in a dire state of emergency, with The First and Caleb seemingly unbeatable, and everyone is on edge. However, the worst part of this episode is when the girls, along with the Scooby Gang, vote Buffy out of the house like she’s on some cable reality show. How dare they, after all that she’s done for them?!?!

15. “Chosen,” Season 7, Episode 22

The WB

I could go on and on about how this show is a revolutionary piece of work and should be celebrated for all eternity, and that’s why the absolute last episode is on this list, yadda yadda. This episode really has it all and sets the scene for a great finale. It has the epic battle scene between slayers and uber-vampires, the tying up of (most) loose ends and the destruction of the Hellmouth. While the ending is bittersweet, especially with the brief death of Spike, it shows Buffy’s strength and makes the show go out with a bang.

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21 Extra-As-Fuck Inventions For People Who Are Extra-As-Fuck

1. Wake up to the sound of the most extra alarm clock in existence because, you know what they say, simulated gunfire is the perfect start to any day!

2. Get out of your bird’s nest bed, which allows you to wake up feeling like a beautiful crow each morning!

4. Either way, hop in the shower for a nice tanning sesh that definitely won’t cause health and safety issues!

5. And there’s this nozzle for those who want to create a water fountain/rinsing station in their bathroom.

6. Getting ready is too easy with this ironing board that doubles as a mirror!

7. For breakfast, break out this toaster, which will ensure your toast has a nice view.

8. Then enjoy a nice cup of coffee that charges your phone and poses absolutely no electrical hazards.

9. Time to bring your extravagance to the real world. Don’t worry if you’re incapable of holding something while it rains because there’s this:

10. Or if you’re someone who physically needs to eat every two hours to survive, you have your pizza slice carrier, which will not cause people to give you concerned looks.

11. And with these stickers, you can pretend you’re engaged and listening while you take a snooze!

13. It’s time for some you time. Maybe head to the nearest body of water and break out your sturdy hammock-raft hybrid.

14. Or stay home and take a load off in this totally comfortable, not-dangerous-at-all hammock.

15. Or just play a nice game of pool at this table that no one would call you a douche for owning.

17. And once you’ve achieved the perfect pour, use this to achieve the perfect sip:

Krazy Straws are shook.

18. Now for dinner. You can use this to avoid the peril of chopping onions:

19. And for dessert, you KNOW you’ve got ice cream on lock in the freezer.

20. Devour your ice cream as you watch TV on the couch, flipping through channels with your wand.

21. And, finally, end the night by treating yourself to a relaxing, closed-off bath that you definitely won’t drown in!

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    32 Things To Make Your Bedroom Cute AF

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    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

    1. A nightlight so you can rest with your head in the clouds.

    Get it on Amazon for $9.

    2. An adorable pillow cover that definitely won’t help with those midnight cravings.

    Get it on Amazon for $5.

    3. A delicate jewelry tray meant to hold all those little things.

    Get it at TJ Maxx for $13.

    5. Some wall decals to greet you the second you turn on the lights.

    Get the set of six on Amazon for $7.

    6. Some storage boxes that can hold all your tiny treasures.

    Get them on Amazon for $3 each.

    7. A delicate dish awaiting whatever treats you want it to hold.

    Get it at TJ Maxx for $8.

    8. An adorable bow pillow because your bed and its coziness are a total gift.

    Get them on Amazon for $15+ each. / Available in a variety of colors and patterns.

    9. A ceramic cactus that’s too precious to be prickly.

    Get it from TJ Maxx for $13.

    10. A wall hook so you can hang everybunny’s stuff.

    Get them on Amazon for $6 each.

    11. An adorable duvet cover that’ll let you hedgehog all the blankets.

    Get it on Amazon for $50. / Available for twin-king size beds and in a variety of prints and colors.

    12. A little flower pot who’s just too cute to handle.

    Get one for $7 or a set of three for $13 on Amazon.

    13. Some hooks perfect for turning your room into an animal house.

    Get the Panda and Flamingo for $4 each at H&M.

    14. A collapsible storage box to hold and disguise all those things that aren’t that cute.

    Get it on Amazon for $7.

    15. A pretty little globe for when you’re ready to map out your next adventure.

    Get it from Typo by Cotton:On for $24.

    17. A pillow so you can always point out the pink elephant in the room.

    Get it from TJ Maxx for $13.

    18. A piece of shelf decor for those moments where you’re too excited for words.

    Get it at ModCloth for $14.

    19. A blanket cozy enough to wrap you up in adorableness.

    Get it at BoxLunch for $25.

    20. A poster for when you’re wondering who’s the little weasel?

    Get it from Tiny Bee Cards on Etsy for $12+. / Available in 5”x7”, 8”x10”, and 11”x14”.

    21. Some shelves to hold all your delicate treasures.

    Get it from PBteen for $49.

    22. A clip-on light that’s really all ears.

    Get it from Land of Nod for $39. / Also available in a fox version.

    23. A pillow cover so you can get comfortable when you have serious monkey business to get done.

    Get it from H&M for $6.

    24. A shelf meant to hold all your things the moment you walk through the door.

    Get it on Amazon for $24.

    25. A light to guide your way when you gopher water in the middle of the night.

    Get it on Amazon for $21.

    26. Some wall decor that’ll have you thinking you’re frolicking through the forest.

    Get them from Land of Nod for $29 each.

    27. Some wallpaper you can just peel and stick to whatever wall you want.

    Get it on Amazon starting at $60. / Available in 66”x96” and 100”x144” sizes and in a variety of prints.

    29. A cat mirror so you can always make sure your hair and makeup are purrrfect.

    Splurge on the gold one from PBteen for $79 or get the white one from Urban Outfitters for $16.

    30. Some magical lights to remind you to always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then be a unicorn.

    Get the string lights for $12 or the nightlight for $18 at ModCloth.

    31. A cat cushion who wants to tell you that yes, you can.

    Get it from Typo by CottonOn for $15. / Also available in a pug and unicorn option.

    Do you have half an hour to help us out?

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    Mel B’s Message About the Death of Her Dad Will Turn You Into an Emotional Mess

    Mel B’s Dad Dies

    Mel B’s Message About the Death of Her Dad Will Turn You Into an Emotional Mess


    Mel B’s dad, Martin Brown, passed away on Saturday after a five-year battle with cancer. The former Spice Girls singer and America’s Got Talent judge announced the tragic news in an emotional Instagram post on Sunday, writing, “It is with great sadness after a 5yr battle to multiple myeloma cancer our loving father Martin Brown passed away age 63 peacefully yesterday. Both of us his children were by his side and would like to say thank you to St Gemma’s and all the doctors and nurses for there amazing care and support over the years. Please respect our privacy and let us as a united family grieve. With love and respect. Melanie and Danielle Brown x Be Free Dad.” Along with her note, she posted a black and white shot of her and her dad holding hands. TMZ also reported that filming for America’s Got Talent has been cancelled next week due to Martin’s death. Our thoughts are with Mel B and her family.

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    Shannen Doherty Looks Happy and Healthy 1 Week After Finishing Chemo

    Shannen Doherty is a fighter. Just one week after finishing chemo, the actress attended the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation’s Gratitude Gala in LA on Saturday night. Shannen was joined by husband Kurt Iswarienko and animal activist Marc Ching, and appeared to be in good spirits as she hit the red carpet. Once inside, Shannen shared a photo of her and Kurt on Instagram, writing, "Tonight @animalhopeandwellness full house and with my love @kurtiswarienko #ahwfgala."

    Ever since revealing to the world that she was diagnosed breast cancer, Shannen has been incredibly open about her journey. In addition to attending fundraisers, she’s also been documenting how she’s "fighting like a girl" on social media. Most recently, Shannen uploaded a video of her impressive dance workout on social media, and we must say, she’s got moves! We just love seeing Shannen happy!

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    This Sensory Quiz Will Reveal What Your Next Boyfriend Will Be Like

      1. Via Getty

        Cashmere

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        Marshmallows

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        Teddy bear

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        Sugar cookies

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        Skin

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        Duvet cover

      1. Via Getty

        Bricks

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        Pineapple

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        Tree bark

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        Cat tongue

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        Pebble beach

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        Lychee

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        Wet grass

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        Fresh laundry

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        Gasoline

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        Coffee

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        Old books

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        Shampoo

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        Lavender

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        Peppermint

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        Sandalwood

      1. Via Getty

        Chamomile

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        Grapefruit

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        Eucalyptus

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        Rain

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        Bonfire

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        White noise

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        Ocean waves

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        Soft music

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        Falling leaves

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        Fireworks

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        Music festival

      3. Via Getty

        Sirens

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        Thunderstorm

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        Dog barking

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        Fire alarm

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        Brownies

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        Apple pie

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        French macarons

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        Crème brûlée

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        Strawberry shortcake

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        Doughnut

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        Potato chips

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        Olives

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        Pretzels

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        Feta cheese

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        Movie popcorn

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        Nuts

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        Crayons

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        Peacock

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        Flowers

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        Sticky notes

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        Coral reef

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        Candy

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        Piano keys

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        Zebra

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        Chess board

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        Sneakers

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        Dice

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        Dalmation

    This Sensory Quiz Will Reveal What Your Next Boyfriend Will Be Like

    1. You got:

      Passionate athlete!

      Your future boyfriend will be super sweaty, in the sexiest of ways. He’s an athlete who loves to get his blood pumping. But don’t worry. He won’t push you to exercise with him, unless you want to! He’s got a drive and a healthy competitive nature that you can’t help but gravitate toward.

      Getty

    2. You got:

      Secretly-sweet badass!

      Your next boyfriend will have badass exterior but a tremendous sweet side. He’ll start to open up and show you the sweetheart underneath. He will be a creative force in your life who will encourage you to pursue your ambitions.

      Getty

    3. You got:

      Friendly giant!

      Gone are the days of straining yourself reaching for something in the top cupboard because your next boyfriend will be tall. Like, seriously tall. Sure, the height difference comes with some problems, like when it comes to showering or sleeping in your regular-sized bed. But he won’t mind if his legs are dangling off the edge, as long as it means he gets to cuddle up next to you!

      Getty

    4. You got:

      Artistic traveler!

      Pack your bags because your next serious love interest wants to show you the world, Aladdin-style. He’s always hungry for an adventure and you’ll make for the perfect travel buddy. You two will travel far and wide and take stellar Instagrams along the way. Obviously.

      Getty

    5. You got:

      Culinary genius!

      Don’t worry about cooking dinner ever again because this dude sincerely loves to cook for you. Say goodbye to room temperature pizza and let your future boyfriend whip something up in the kitchen. He will definitely add a little spice to your love life.

      Getty

    6. You got:

      Quiet dog lover!

      We don’t want to you freak out or anything but your future boyfriend is a dog-owner. Yes, seriously. He owns an adorable doggo who will quickly become your best friend. You three will go on quiet walks in the park and spend days playing frisbee at the beach. And maybe, if you’re lucky, he’ll own two dogs. *gasp*

      Getty

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    Do You Know The Official Language Of Each Of These Countries?

     

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