I remember back in grade school when kids wanted someone to be their “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, we had a very specific set of rules that must be followed.
First, write a note asking the person to “go with you”.
Second, ask your best friend to deliver the note.
Third, wait patiently for answer to be returned on same piece of paper. Yes or no?
Once this relationship had been established, it meant that you would occasionally talk to that person at school. You also would work extra hard to catch that person in a recess game of “girls catch the boys” or vice versa.
By about fifth grade, one might even make a prank call to the other’s house. No caller ID then, so prank calling was not only possible, but one of the most enjoyable activities during a playdate with friends.
When the relationship was over, another note was delivered with the message: “I quit you.”
As we moved on to middle school and then high school, the terminology changed. We also started speaking in person to the object of one’s affection. We started saying that people were “going out” or “dating” and later that they “broke up”.
If it wasn’t humiliating enough to receive the “I quit you” note or the phone call to deliver the news of a break-up, I’m not sure how today’s teens can handle the public announcement of their relational status online.
I have some of the most awesome teens in my life. But I was intrigued… um… surprised… um… maybe just feeling really old… this week to see that a couple of them had updated their Facebook status to say they are now “in a relationship with _____”. Eek! Of course, Facebook makes the announcement for the world to see once they have updated their profile.
I’m too scared to ask them how this whole thing works. (And I know that reading my blog is WAY too old-fashioned for them.) But I’m so curious.
Are they immediately “in a relationship with” someone after the first date? Or do they send each other flair for a while? Maybe they say things like, “Oh, she and I just comment on each other’s status. It’s not serious.”
What happens when they are no longer “in relationship with”? Do they immediately change their profile to make it clear to all of their friends? Will they defriend their ex- on Facebook right away. Or do they hang on to lurk?
Oh my. And the really scary part is that this whole world will have changed even more by the time my kids are old enough to be “in a relationship with” someone. Hand-written notes are sounding so appealing to me right now.