As a kid I had a perception of what I thought high school would be like. The truth is that high school is not like the movies: no one is shoved into lockers, no one breaks into song throughout the school day and not everyone looks like a model after puberty hits. However, the most stereotypical high school experience I could not have predicted is dating.
Amongst us there are some who have it all figured out, but most of us have it all wrong. Children of the 21st century are unconsciously beginning to fall into a pattern of habits.
First, it has become “cool” to show a lack of care and to show nonchalant attitude towards others. Showing care is showing weakness. Way too often, I have found myself or my peers rewriting a text or blatantly not speaking up because it would show we care too much as if that is a bad thing.
In middle school health class, they always say how as a teen it will be an emotional rollercoaster. The biggest reason for this is because it is a constant fight with our emotions. Rather than just saying how we truly feel, we hide our emotions to have the upper hand against a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend.
No one is willing to take the risk or put them self out there in fear it may not work out. Today, we would rather have love find us than going out and finding love.
Second, it has become a misconception that going on a date, such as dinner, all of a sudden means it is a serious relationship with someone. As a result, some of us will not date at all.
Instead, we have decided to just be in this stage of “just talking,” or “being a thing” because referring to the concept as dating makes it sound way too serious. Dating has also been conceived as causing drama or being too complicated when in reality the dynamic is up to the people.
In the past 40 years, the proportion of seniors who report not dating at all increased substantially over this period, from 15 to 49 percent.
No matter what the situation is, the ‘title’ or ‘label’ has become a defining point for relationships. There are specific time frames as to when it is acceptable and expected for relationship norms such as when to say ‘I love you.’ The label has started to define the norms and boundaries instead of the people.
Finally, a common area of confusion is intent. If one is dating someone else, it means they are looking at them as a possible husband or wife. This is high school; most relationships will die within the four years.
Some will put themselves out there and accept it for what it is: dating. And some will end up together. However, the reality for most of us is dating in high school is not about looking for someone to spend the future with. We are not mature enough yet to even know who we will be for the rest of our lives.
At this point in life, dating should be focused on someone with of interest instead of a desire to find “the one.” Looking for someone who makes them smile, someone who keeps them on their toes, someone who brings out something positive in them that they did not know they had or needed.
No one should feel ashamed for choosing to date or choosing not to. It should be embraced as an experience towards growth. When it comes to an end, and so often it does, the relationship should be left with an insight as to what can be better next time.
If everyone gave up after the first try, they could easily let an exceptional experience dating has to offer slip through their hands. We should be taking advantage of this time when dating is not expected to lead into marriage to figure ourselves out and learn from experience.
Before we know it, we will be walking out of high school, the goal will shift and dating will become serious. Be a high schooler, how care and appreciation, take a chance on someone, build meaningful connections, learn from each other, and most of all, stop making everything so complicated. More often than not, the best relationships and experiences come from something that was least expected.