In a relationship with?

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.

Don’t miss a post. Subscribe in a reader!


  1. I'm trying to understand the concept of "talking." It is, apparently, right before the commitment of going with. Only I think it's called going out now. Maybe it's still going with. Anyway, I get a kick out of hearing the question "Are you talking?" It's not are you talking with (fill in name)? It's just are you talking. I think I hear a collective "phew" from all of us that don't have to do the teen dating/talking/going/quitting thing anymore!:)Lynn

  2. As the mother of a 14 year old daughter. I have the inside info on fb. 🙂 Or at least the information she wants me to have. These days they call it "going out" and I thought writing notes was passe'. I am happy to report its not. They are not allowed to text at school so they still write notes. My daughter has a note box. She and her BFF take notes from others and their notes and put them in the box to review later.

  3. I'm involved in the high school and jr. high ministry at my church, so I'm learning how this works. It depends how old they are. Middle schoolers and freshman… rather likely to be publically "In a relationship" with someone that is totally shallow. As long as school friends know about the mutual liking, it can go on facebook. By mid-high school they have learned that those little relationships don't last long and then saying "so-and-so is no longer in a relationship" is awfully public and embarassing. By this time the wiser kids will keep their relationships off of facebook until they are dating somewhat seriously. Thing is, usually it eventually ends up on facebook, because if it doesn't there's sort of the underlying question of, "are you to embarassed for your friends to know that you're dating me?" Usually a breakup does NOT mean you will de-friend someone, because most teens are "friends" with just about anyone from their school, just just the ones that are actually their friends.

  4. I hated the embarrassing notes, phone calls. So hard to deal with as a teen, I can't imagine dealing with it in such a technology driven time. I worry about this, and actually talked about it at work with some people last week. Having a daughter growing up in this time is hard. Oh, but Boo JUST got a note from a boy asking if they were friends, with a yes box and a no box! It made me smile, made my day.

Leave a Reply