On Facebook, with just a few clicks, a romantic relationship can be started, be taken to the next level, become “complicated” or be ended. The entire lifetime of a relationship can be decided within a few weeks of status updates, and its progress can be publicly monitored.
The sheer simplicity of changing the way a relationship stands with only a few words or mouse clicks seems to prove the age-old snubbing of high school relationships as “casual” and “meaningless.” Despite this, the high school relationship should not be instantly written off as negative or counterproductive.
It is true that around 50 years ago, “going out” with someone meant actually going out on dates around town that consisted of a few of the following elements: watching movies, eating dinner and making conversation. Back then, of course, the biggest deal was getting your significant other’s class ring—to show the world that you were already taken.
These high school romances were arguably more intense and serious than they are now. Now, teenagers are condemned as too reckless and flippant with their sex lives and relationships.
“Things between two teenagers get more intense way too soon,” senior Kenny Jasper said.
This belief could be due to the short length of most relationships.
“I think that many of [the relationships formed in high school] are temporary, even if they last a long time,” senior Tori Chin said. “Because a person changes a lot through high school, … you can’t exactly be sure what you want at this point.”
In our fast-moving, electronic world, relationships can last for a mere matter of minutes or continue for months to over a year. Obviously, an e-mail is much quicker than a letter, instant messaging is quicker than an e-mail and texting beats all of the above.
“The dating scene has gotten more casual, because technology has advanced to the point where couples don’t need to be physically together to communicate,” junior Dan Meierkort said.
However, this casualness in romantic relationships could be exactly what students need, even if it is considered negative.
“I think [relationships] being casual has both good and bad effects,” junior Jenna Klein said. “It’s good because there’s a very small chance you will actually stay with your high school boyfriend [or] girlfriend, so keeping it casual will keep it fun and light.”
Students today are extremely stressed, sleep-deprived and generally unhealthy due to current societal pressures. The relationships they embark on with other stressed-out high schoolers could actually provide just the right amount of emotional and physical support to relieve some tensions brought on by school and other sources.
“I think that relationships are beneficial because it’s important to interact with people on all levels,” Tori said.
For some students, these “casual” high school relationships are sometimes necessary.
“I think some people just appreciate having someone to talk to, while others think the physical aspect is important,” Dan said. “Still others really value the emotional connection.”
In addition, these relationships are often not given enough credit. Not all high school relationships are shallow. Couples do develop serious, intimate bonds, as would happen in “normal” romantic relationships, and the relationship as a whole is respected and appreciated. Some students even plan on continuing them beyond high school.
“I really think a person is only going to have a handful of serious relationships in their life, and who’s to say how old you have to be?” Jenna said. “When you find the right person, it happens so naturally. High school is the time to experiment and have experiences that you will take with you onto college and in life.”
A relationship is simply as important as those involved make it to be. And because of this, no longer should high school relationships be snubbed as “just” high school relationships. Whatever Facebook has to say on the matter, it is true that there are those who prefer flings to a relationship of value, but there are also those who treasure their relationships and appreciate both their emotional and physical values.