Verbatim: Modern love: High school dating protocol has changed

Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010

My mother seems to have difficulty understanding the current terms used by the teenagers of today to describe relationships. I feel that many suffer from this lack of understanding the current terminology. So, this is a crash course in today's teen relationship terminology.

Every relationship as a teenager begins with the infamous text message. Instead of getting to know each other face-to-face many learn about each other through texting. This state varies in length. However, it will inevitably lead to a hangout. Now this is where the confusion often begins. The term "hang out" does not necessarily mean "dating" or even "an involved relationship." Rather, it is the term used to describe the state of spending time together but not being exclusive. Physical contact sometimes does occur during this state including handholding and the occasional kissing. (Varying with relationship.)

Now, when does the relationship become exclusive or "serious"? This stage is difficult to decipher. Oftentimes, the boy or girl will begin to tell people they are boyfriend or girlfriend or dating. If a teenager uses the term "dating" it usually means exclusively seeing only one person. However, a good indicator of the relationship and how serious it is can always be learned from Facebook. If a couple has chosen to broadcast their relationship status as in a relationship it normally means they are fairly serious. The term to describe this state is "Facebook Official."

The last part of this crash course is going to involve a glimpse into the concept of friends with benefits. A benefit is not pointing toward a nice and supportive friendship. This is a status that is given when a pair is labeled as only friends however may have a physical relationship as well. Oftentimes, this never works out well because one or the other will become jealous at some point in the friends with benefits relationship because there are no strict commitments to that one person.

I hope that this has been insightful for all the parents out there. So they can no longer bug their teenage children about what they mean when they are only hanging out with a member of the opposite sex.

Cassie Sheridan is a senior at Soldotna High School.

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