In case you aren’t in high school, let me explain to you how dating in high school is both the same and different than dating in the “real world”. In high school, there are a number of status symbols and things that make you look good that shockingly, don’t solely encompass materialistic items. If I could create a popularity point-system for high school, you would lose points for a bad sense of style, being too good at school, and not being good enough at school (yes, confusing, I know). You would earn points for sitting at a cool lunch table, having a “party” house and…the ultimate prize, having a boyfriend/girlfriend.
When I entered high school, I didn’t realize how important it was to be dating someone. The truth is, that having a *boyfriend, is so much more than just that when you’re in high school. It means having someone sending you “good morning and goodnight” texts. It means having a hoodie (or scrunchie) to wear around school. It means being walked to class after lunch. And, most of all, it means getting to say that you have a boyfriend. To most girls I have met, having a boyfriend is a pretty big priority, with some making it more of a priority than others. I’ve also noticed that, in many cases, it’s just as important to the guys, who just aren’t as open about it. The number of Snapchat stories and Tik-toks I have seen people post about getting a boyfriend makes me wonder why it is so important to teens.
If you talk to a handful of high schoolers, you’ll find that almost all of them are either in a relationship, mourning a relationship, “talking” to someone, or yearning for a relationship. It’s really no wonder to me anymore why those who aren’t in one, want one. It’s because if you aren’t actively participating in looking for a boyfriend, then you are actively outcasting yourself. And, in high school, that’s something you can never do. Theoretically, that is.
To give my opinion on the matter, it may seem like I am against dating in high school. However, that cannot be farther from the truth because, I know if I met a nice boy who I connected with, and truly liked me for who I am, I wouldn’t really hesitate to go out with them. What I am against though, is making dating in high school some sort of competition. I have only completed one year of high school and I’ve already had people say to me “I’m surprised you’ve never had a boyfriend” or “don’t worry! You’ll definitely get a boyfriend by sophomore year”. Yet, they’ve never stopped to think that maybe, I’m not searching for one. If this is my experience, I can imagine that most girls in high school have been told the very same things.
If there is one thing I wish I could tell all my friends, and any high schooler in general, it is that you don’t NEED to date someone. While I’m sure it would be great to have a person to connect with, it doesn’t make you any greater than you already are. If someone says “don’t worry because you’ll find someone soon”, it’s fine to respond with “thank you, but I’m not really worried, I’m not looking for anyone right now”. When we all say that we’re going to be alone forever, remember that we are still kids, it’s really not the time to be worrying about soulmates.
I am fifteen years old, and I have never had a boyfriend. That fact bothered me for some time, especially when all my friends were dating or “talking” to different guys and acting giddy when they would text them back. When I evaluated my situation, I realized that I didn’t really have the desire to date anyone in that moment, what I did have the desire for though, was to connect with my friends over a boy and feel like I fit in.
There is a quote out there that says “until you learn to love yourself, no one else truly can”. Now, I can only speak for myself, but as a freshman in high school, I know that I still have a lot of growing up to do. There are so many parts of myself that I still need to discover and learn to love. Of course, over these next few years I may find someone to go to the movies with or get chocolate from on Valentine’s Day. But, I hope that you and everyone in high school learns that your worth is never based on if someone else calls you their “girlfriend/boyfriend”. We still have so much time to find that person. For now, look around at all the people around you who already love you, create a memorable high school experience, and learn to love yourself.
*I used the word boyfriend throughout this article, since those are MY preferences, however, this word can also be substituted for girlfriend or partner depending on yours.
Featured image by @jannerboy62 on unsplash.com