The great high school love is an age-old trope, found in tons of different movies and television shows. Though a lot of the time those fictional high school romances involve vampires these days, that does not lessen the allure of a real high school romance. After all, you’ve only got one shot at it, right?
However, the world of high school dating is only getting more complicated. Modern high school students are more open to exploring their identities; sexual orientation, gender identity and of course general self-discovery are a huge part of any high schooler’s life. As are social media and a wide range of communication platforms. It is difficult to find someone who will accept you and who you can grow with amidst the mental and emotional chaos of high school life, especially if you are looking for a same sex relationship or are experimenting with your gender identity. Here are a few things to try out if you want to find a boyfriend or girlfriend in high school.
Don’t Use Dating Apps
Tinder may seem like the answer to all of your problems. It’s a simple way to meet people in your area who are attracted to you. However, there is an ever-growing hookup culture in high schools. Many high school students these days just want a one-time hookup or friends with benefits kind of situation. Tinder is mostly used to find this kind of arrangements and rarely leads to a serious relationship. You can still give it a shot if you really want, but it is unlikely to actually get you a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Do Try to Socialize More
This doesn’t necessarily mean going to tons of parties or walking up to random people in the hallway. You want to find someone who is likely to be compatible with you, so try to meet people in an activity centered around common interests. If you’re a math geek, try joining the mathletes or a math honors society, or just talking to a guy in your math class. Most high schools have an extensive variety of clubs that are open to the students; no matter the interest, you can find something. There are activist groups or charities, or clubs centered around an aspect of pop culture like a specific television show. Joining an organization that interests you will allow you to meet other people who are interested in the same things you are. Unlike dating apps or other social media, club meeting and events allow you to foster an organic relationship with the person. It may seem that with texting you don’t have to worry about seeing a person as much because you are always in contact with them, but this can actually be a problem, as seen below.
Don’t Text too Much
Texting is a great way to keep in contact, make plans, and communicate with your friends. However, when it comes to dating, texting is a tool and a weapon. Modern dating is a game, and the way you text can give you the upper or lower hand. This makes it sound extremely intimidating, but really it’s pretty basic. If you start texting someone incessantly right away, it can come off as clingy and desperate, and they will come to expect a thousand texts from you every time they open their phone.
In addition, texting gives you access to each other 24/7, as most modern high school students have their phone on them all the time. Nobody can talk for the whole day; you are bound to run out of things to say. Constant texting results in forced conversation and may cause your partner to actively delay their replies so that they won’t have to come up with as much to talk about. Keep the volume of texting down so that they are excited when they get a message from you, rather than burdened. Don’t just say “hey what’s up,” start a conversation about a common interest. If you both follow politics, ask them if they’ve seen a recent development or speech, or their opinion on a policy that just passed. This way you have an active conversation that you will both be interested in, and that can come to a natural close without awkwardly stagnating.
Do Talk in Person
Social media, texting, and apps just don’t allow you to express yourself the way a personal conversation does. You want the person you are interested in to be excited to see you, so emphasize these interactions over virtual ones. Having a great time at a club meeting or in a class where you’re working together will create a pleasant but time-limited experience. This will make them want to spend more time with you, actively interacting, rather than just texting back and forth.
Modern high school dating is more of a minefield than ever, with so many ways to mess up and constant exposure. It’s easy to fall into the trap of stalking the social media of the person you’re interested in, finding out about their previous relationships and overanalyzing their pictures. It’s easy to swipe right and left on a constant stream of faces in your area, then have no idea what to say when they send you a boring old “hey” on the chat function. But none of these activities will get you the relationship you want. You have to get to know each other personally and naturally, not trying to force a “relationship goal” you’ve seen on social media. Go after what you want, and don’t worry about how it’s going to look when you post it on all your accounts.