Tension, Tantrums and Technology: A Glimpse into the World of High School Breakups

Text+Troubles

Chris Ramey

Text Troubles

Zoe Brown and Cadence Neenan

Allow one crying girl, one silent boy, a few misinterpreted texts and some angry words to simmer at high temperature. What do you have? A typical high school breakup.

Note: side effects may include awkwardness.

“At first it was super awkward because we just wouldn’t interact whatsoever,” said a freshman girl who was granted anonymity. “In the halls, he would try to casually ignore me.”

“It was pretty awkward,” Kyle Baer ’15 said. “I don’t think we talked. We kind of pretended each other didn’t exist.”

The word virtually every person uses to describe post-breakup stress is “awkward.” Whether it was “mutual” or “messy” (the way most high school breakups seem to be), it’s usually pretty uncomfortable for each party. The next morning in school is inevitably awkward, but the moments after may result in a bit more drama.

“I was just calling people and sobbing at people because I didn’t know what to do,” Olivia Jones ’15 said.

However, Mike Holtz ‘13 had a different experience: “We never were like screaming or yelling at each other,” he said. “We still talk regularly.”

The aftermath usually depends on the nature of the actual breakup. Whether it ends up dramatically or calmly, the same timeless line is generally used.

“I said the whole ‘we can still be friends’ thing, but that’s more out of just what you do,” Baer said.

In movies, songs, and real life, “we can still be friends” is the classic line, even if it isn’t always true. Some people say it without meaning it, but some actually say it in the hopes that a friendship can be restored even after a painful breakup.

The pain of the breakup can be determined by how it is actually executed; in fact, today’s world has almost an innumerable total of breakup tactics.

Dalma Heyn, an author, psychotherapist and relationship consultant, believes that these new ways to break up are not the best ways.

“You do not text, email or leave a phone message. You do not Skype. You do not hurt someone with the aid of technology,” said Heyn, who added that utilizing technology as a crutch to aid you in the breakup is unethical.

Most sources interviewed agree with Heyn—even in the age of technology, breaking up with someone over social media seems like the easy way out. Text messaging seems impersonal, even cowardly to most. It hardly gives the other person a chance to respond, yet it still seems to be a common way to execute a breakup.

“If people break up over text, it can be kind of cruel,” Holtz said. “It’s lame to do it over text if you don’t have the guts to do it in person.”

Modern technology has not only affected relationships in the way they end but also in the way that they function.

“We talked so much and texted every second of the day, and we ran out of things to say, so all we did was fight,” said an anonymous sophomore girl.

Some say that the constant presence of technology negatively affects relationships, especially in high school.

“They say things over text, and then you come in the next school day pretending they were never said,” Lilly Valente ’16 said. “It’s like two different worlds.”

Many high schoolers have witnessed the negative effects of technology on the modern-day relationship. Constant status updates, “sub-tweeting” about your boyfriend or girlfriend, always checking up through text, iChat, Skype, or phone calls—the possibilities (and their awful consequences) are endless. High school peers often get written off as needy or obsessive when it is often, simply, technology’s fault.

Still, others find the silver lining of the looming cloud of technology. Many cite technology as the way relationships begin or how they continue.

“On one hand, technology makes it easier to have long-distance relationships because it’s easier to communicate without really seeing each other,” Holtz said.

According to a June 2012 McAfee study, nine out of ten teenagers use Facebook. It’s clear that high schoolers get sucked into the maelstrom of technology more than any other age group. The aforementioned cloud of technology looms over high school relationships almost as much as just being in a high school relationship affects the daily dynamic of high school.

“I personally think that high school romances ultimately don’t last that long,” said an anonymous sophomore boy. “Unless you go to the same college, it won’t work.”

The future of high school relationships seems to have an obvious cutoff to those involved. Most realize that, in the long term, college ends the close time spent with their high school sweetheart.

But for some students, like Valente, a broken relationship may also result in broken friendships and almost unavoidable awkwardness.

“Haven’t talked since,” Valente said. “Thank God.”