The years teens spend in high school are typically engulfed by drama over friends, enemies, boyfriends and girlfriends. Nowadays, the problems that emerge from relationships are much different than they used to be, partly because of how relationships have drastically changed over the years.
In past generations, a relationship followed a certain, basic pattern. Two people would meet, the male would typically ask the female on a date to get to know them better, and if the date(s) went well, the male would eventually ask the female to be his girlfriend.
Our current generation however, has shifted from the typical, old-school ways of dating to a new and more complicated process.
In an article from the Huffington Post, the new “stages” of dating starts with two people. First, there is the “just talking” stage. The Huffington Post describes this stage as when “the two people involved have some romantic affiliation, but both still identify as single. Most of their communication occurs via text, and many people around them are not aware the two are together.” This type of relationship is non-monogamous and is very common because when two people are just “talking” it isn’t considered very serious.
If teens get past the “talking” stage, they move to having a “thing” with their significant other. This stage is a little more serious than talking but not quite as serious as being in a full blown relationship. “This is best identified as the pre-dating stage. When two people are “a thing,” they’re not quite single but not officially dating. says the Huff post when characterizing this stage.
Finally after a long, confusing process, the two people involved reach the final stage; dating. This stage is the only part of relationships that hasn’t changed. The Huffington Post states that during the final stage of dating the two people “often plan to be with each other for a longer amount of time and don’t have any other romantic interests outside of the relationship.”
All this talk about the changing course of relationships automatically makes one wonder: what caused the shift? There are three main factors to consider: immaturity, indecisive teens and social media.
Issues like immaturity and teens being indecisive have been around for years. Social media, however, has not. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and dating sites like Tinder and Omegle are all contributors to the drastic shift in teen relationships.
Anne Bowers, LRHS junior, believes that social media has had a huge impact on relationships. She thinks it gives people insight on the true personality and behavior of others, making it easier to determine whether or not to pursue them further. “Social media can share some personal information about a person that may not have been as easy to gain access too in past forms of dating,” said Bowers.
This extra insight can be positive, but can also be very negative. Some teens use social media irresponsibly and post things that are unattractive to others. This can be a major turn-off for people looking to develop a relationship. Teens post everything on social media, so their accounts are very personalized. Posting everything about your life is not always a good thing however. A teen’s social media can reveal the true morals and values of a person that otherwise would have never been known.
Additionally, social media platforms contribute to the development of “things”. Claudia Kennedy views this particular side effect of social media in a negative light. “Social media makes where people can be talking to a lot of people at one time, and that isn’t something that creates good relationships among people,” said Kennedy. Since teens are able to talk to multiple people at a time, they can be semi “serious” with more than just one person. In many cases, this can become problematic.
This shift of relationships has caused the current generation to grow up relying on social media to keep their relationships in tact. Looking at the long term consequences, the heavy reliance on social media will most likely make it difficult for today’s teens to develop the same intimate relationships built from “old-school” socialization.
Advancements in technology are supposed to help us, but it appears to have the opposite effect when it comes to relationships. The ease of social media makes communication very accessible, but it also encourages us to forget about the morals of monogamous relationships and face-to-face contact that past relationships so heavily relied on. Maybe that’s why we’re known as the generation that can’t settle down.