High school in a nutshell part two: dating edition

Written by: Hannah Forsythe

I have had three boyfriends throughout high school. They’re all relatively great guys but every relationship ended horribly. Whether it was my fault or theirs, it always ended with drama. But with this article, I want to help you avoid the drama and actually have a healthy relationship. Here’s everything I’ve learned while being in these relationships.

The Unspoken Rules of High School Dating

There are really only a few rules to dating in high school. If you keep them in the back of your head while looking for someone, they’ll help you decide whether or not the relationship is smart.

  1. Don’t date someone you barely know.

WIth all the guys I dated, we basically skipped the friendship stage. We went straight into being a couple and look at how that turned out. If you genuinely want your relationship to work, try being friends first. And I don’t mean be an unofficial thing where you guys always flirt and go on dates. Just treat them as a good friend and nothing more. This will help you decide whether or not you two are compatible.

2. Don’t date two grades (or two years) older than you.

In one of my relationships, I broke this rule. The guy was a junior while I was still a baby freshman. We were both on completely different maturity planes. Looking back now, at seventeen, I realize that those kinds of relationships are creepy and give the older person a bad reputation. If you don’t want to date in your grade, stick to the year above or the year below. Most guys I’ve had “things” with are usually the grade above me and there are almost never any maturity problems.

3. Listen to your friends.

Oh gosh. This is probably the most important one out of all of these rules. If I had listened to my friends opinions about the guys I was into, I would've prevented loads of heartbreak. Your friends know you best. They know who you are and know what you like. They also see the other person from an outside view and can see them for who they truly are. Always trust what your closest friends think, because all they want is the best for you.

Things to Avoid in Guys

Sorry boys, I don’t have any advice on what to avoid in girls as I have never dated one. But what to avoid in guys? I know that subject pretty well.

  • Avoid the boys who conflict with your morals. Buy that I mean, if a guy does drugs, is racist, or is homophobic and those are things you hate? That should be an automatic deal breaker.

  • Don’t date the ones who have bad reputations. Like the morals one, the guys with bad reputations almost always believe/ do things that are against your values. Not only will they probably hurt you in the long run- they’ll hurt your reputation as well.

  • Drop the guys who ask for nudes/ have asked other girls for them. With this one, ask yourself, “do I want a boy who disrespects women and objectifies them?”

  • Avoid the cheaters. This one is obvious, but never date a guy who has cheated on a girl. I know that men can change, but the males in high school are not men. They’re boys. Teenage boys don’t change their habits very easily.

Date Ideas

When I was with my ex, I loved planning out our dates. It was so much fun and made me happy to do something for him. Here’s some of the dates we did and ones I wish we did.

  • Movies and a lunch/ dinner

  • Double date with friends

  • Top Golf or mini golf

  • Nice dinner at a local place

  • Walk around the mall and window shop

  • Have a chill day at one of your houses and watch movies

  • Go on drives together around town.

  • Do mini photoshoots for each other.

  • Have a picnic.

  • Go on hikes

  • Go to the pool together

What not to do while in a relationship

I’m a huge advocate for remaining true to yourself and never letting any boy change who you are. But, there are things you should avoid doing while in a relationship.

  1. Don’t be clingy. This one I learned the hard way. It just drives people away and hurts you in the end. I know how hard it is to control the clingy urge ( and you only have it because you care so much), but you have to.

  2. Don’t try to control them. Most people reading this are thinking right now, “I’d never try to control my boyfriend/ girlfriend!” Well, honey, maybe you don’t think you would, but you might be doing it subconsciously. If you’re telling them to not hang out with a certain person, checking their phone all the time, and demanding attention- you're being controlling. They're their own person, remember that.

  3. Do not change who you are. Other than those two things above, don’t change who you are for someone. If they want you, then they have to accept who you truly are.

I hope that this helps some of you out there! I know that most of these tips and tricks won’t work for everyone- and that’s ok. Everyone is different and every relationship is different. Just remember that you don’t need to date while in high school. These are the years that will help mold you into an adult, sometimes a boy just distracts from that and causes unnecessary heartbreak. Make sure that you love yourself first and that you can be happy without a boy before you get into a relationship.

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