No matter what seems to go wrong in my life these days, I gain can some perspective from one resounding and comforting fact: I am no longer in high school.
One of the best and worst things about high school is the overall awareness that everyone sort of likes each other yet no one really knows what to do with those burning feelings. My friend Jenna and I would pass notes (This was pre-texting, folks. Barely, but still.) during english class endlessly discussing if our crushes had looked at us that day, should we ask so-and-so to Sadie Hawkins, and how cute Pete Wentz was (remember Pete Wentz?).
I think to some degree I knew I was clueless about boys and relationships. But I wish someone who was not my mom had sat me down and gave me some insight into the whole process (whether I listened or not).
Some things just cannot be understood when we are a certain age or haven’t lived through the experiences ourselves. But looking back, here is what I would have tried to tell my 15-year-old self about dating:
- If you already know your relationship is not going to last, for the love of Pete Wentz do NOT start dating that person. And here is the part where you sort of have to admit to yourself that the chances of your high school relationship lasting are quite slim. But you also have raging hormones, so what’s a freshman to do?
- Do not start dating someone you have known for two weeks and have liked the same amount of time. YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS PERSON. No matter how many times you have stalked their Instagram or Facebook or Vine or whatever (and if you were me, you were stalking their Myspace page).
- Being mean to a guy will not result in him liking you. Countless 2001-era chick flicks exposed me to this false idea, one I unfortunately carried into my flirting methods for years (if you can call general disdain and being condescending flirting).
- Don’t date to be popular. Because it seemed like every well-liked girl in my high school had made out with or dated at least two different people, I figured that I would be considered weird or uncool until I had done the same. Let me just take a moment to boost your confidence: YOU DO NOT NEED TO DATE SOMEONE IN ORDER TO BE COOL. You are already so, so cool.
- Dating or not dating is only one part of who you are. Liking someone else is probably one of the most, if not the most, interesting realities of life in high school. Who likes who, does that person like me back, daydreaming about a future relationship are all things that took up SO MUCH of my thought process and the things I chose to do (as in I became a cheerleader partly because I wanted my boyfriend to think I was outgoing and interesting). Maybe I’m just a certain breed of boy-crazy. But seriously, there is more to who you are.
- Try not to let everyone know why you and so-and-so broke up. I know, it’s hard. Especially if that guy totally wronged you and the world deserves to know how bad he messed up. But it says a lot about you as well as him if you make sure to tell everyone, even your band teacher, why things didn’t work out. Tell your best friends, tell your dog, tell your trusted adult. But don’t tell everyone who asks just to get back at your ex.
- Seventeen Magazine and other such publications are written by real people who most likely don’t know what they’re doing either. Those quizzes to see if your crush likes you? Guess what: everyone is different and shows how they like people different ways.
- If they seem reluctant to date you, they are reluctant to date you. They are not playing hard to get. You absolutely, one hundred percent deserve to be with someone who really wants to be with you. You’re so, so cool, remember?
- And finally…do not make out in public places, such as the student parking lot. I’m just trying to save you from weird looks from your vice principal, folks.
© Julia Feeser and HelloSoul, 2014.