High School Dating Explained


Jeanelle Wu

Remember the olden days when the process of being in a relationship was as simple as passing a note in class? Things have surely changed.

Jeanelle Wu, Editor

High school dating has become one of the most complicated processes; there are rules, steps, and stages. In fact, it’s so complicated that Albert Einstein would probably be failing to keep up; quantum mechanics is nothing compared to the ups and downs of high school dating. 

The very first stage of the dating process is finding the person that you want to go on the journey with and who wants to go with you. This could be someone you have had a crush on or someone you want to get to know (basically the person you just thought of in your head right now). Whether it be someone you met at your school or someone you meet through social media, potential and mutual interest is all you need to move to the next stage.

In this next stage, all you have to do is get to know the person (aka the talking stage). The talking stage is usually done over text or Snapchat, which is ironic because it’s not really sitting down and actually talking to someone in real time, something you would assume a stage labeled “the talking stage” would include. Although this stage may seem simple, it is quite the opposite. The talking stage sets the foundation for a relationship and that’s if the two people make it past the talking stage. This is often when ships crash and burn and people realize they don’t want to be with the person they are talking to. Not to mention, the talking stage is when many red flags become apparent, which gives people a chance to back out before anything gets serious. Additionally, there is no set amount of time of how long you should stay in this stage; it can be days, weeks, or months. It all depends on the people involved, but some people have set a 3-month rule where they move on from a person after they are in the talking stage for 3 months and there is no progress. Also, in order to differentiate from the next stage, it is important to note that the talking stage does not signify attachment. In other words, you can talk to many people at the same time. 

Exclusive talking on the other hand is one step up from just the normal talking stage. If you and another person are exclusively talking, it means you are only interested in getting to know each other and are not trying to get to know other people in a romantic way. While it may seem crazy to some people that there are two different stages of talking, reaching the exclusive talking stage is usually a good sign that things will work out.

Next comes the in-between stage where two people are not officially together but it sure seems like they are. This is known as a situationship: when two people don’t want to put a label on their relationship yet but are “hanging out”, which basically means they are going on dates even if they don’t call it that. Simply put, it is when one would mark “It’s Complicated” on their social media profile. 

Lastly, when they are ready, the two lovebirds might decide to put labels on their situationship and what they have can finally be classified as a relationship and being together. This labeling stage is actually quite simple; it is the getting here that isn’t.

It feels like there are more stages than there were when I was in high school… it’s crazy that you guys have more than one talking stage.”

— Mrs. Chen (Staff)

Clearly, dating in our current generation is a lot different from what it used to be. For one, the whole social media aspect and sliding into people’s DMs has changed the dynamic. The talking stage used to just be face-to-face talking and getting to know each other while going on dates. Now, people are getting to know each other through snaps on Snapchat and texting on all different kinds of platforms before actually going on dates. Teachers are witnesses of the high dating process, and as a teacher, Mrs. Chen (Staff) agrees that dating has gotten more complicated. She states that “it feels like there are more stages than there were when I was in high school… it’s crazy that you guys have more than one talking stage.” When asked for her opinion and wisdom on the talking stage, Mrs. Chen emphasizes that “the time spent in the talking stage should be different for everybody since it should be defined by how you feel about the relationship.”

Dating sure seems like hard work. Hopefully the long journey pays off, but if it doesn’t, well that’s a whole other breakup process with its own set of stages and complexities. Because if you couldn’t tell already, GenZ likes to make things complicated.