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

Chris Ramey
Text Troubles

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.”

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About the Contributors
Zoe Brown
Zoe Brown, Editor-in-Chief
When it comes down to it, managing schoolwork can be tough to handle. Think about being someone who can manage double the work. Zoe Brown ‘16 does just that. Brown performs a stunning job juggling her status as a good student, Editor-in-Chief of Inklings and her position as the co-president of TAG (Teen Awareness Group). But as Brown painfully put it, she never goes to bed before 12 and often her associations embezzle half her free time. Being impressive like Zoe comes with long hours of time and commitment. Not everything fell into place for Brown from the start. Brown was forced to move to Westport in eighth grade after her father found a new job in Greenwich. This was especially agonizing for her after growing up in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania for 14 years. The transition was tough going into the new school system. “It was terrible. I hated it. I was in this place where I was denying to myself that I would have to live here for the rest of my childhood and so I didn't branch out and make an effort to find a place,” she said. Luckily, Brown’s love for writing set her up for three great years on Inklings, where she made many of her friends she still has today. Also this past summer Brown visited Columbia and Boston University, helping her with everything from feature design to investigative reporting. After high school, Zoe hopes to study journalism and communications. But for now, she is set with the interesting people she meets on the job. Brown had a fun time interviewing an actor at an event held at Oscars Deli, saying how “he was very enthusiastic about the interview which made it fun.”
Cadence Neenan
Cadence Neenan, Web Managing Editor
By the age of 18, most kids have not yet chosen their favorite word. In fact, most teenagers have never even thought about such a question. Perhaps a few have been asked on a “Getting to Know You” sheet handed out by English teachers on the first day of school. But in that case, most probably just mindlessly scribbled words onto their sheets such as “literally,” or “totally,” or “dude.” Cadence Neenan ’15, on the other hand, has thought about this deeply. Her favorite word is “loquacious.” Neenan grew up in a home that fostered a love for all things English. With her mom as a former Staples High School English teacher and her dad as a librarian, Neenan was destined for a love affair with vocabulary, grammar, and reading. “My mom always used to read to me ever since I was little,” she said. “I love to read because I was raised to be a good reader.” In school, Neenan has opted to create a heavy course load that reflects her love of English and reading. AP Lit, AP Lang, AP Euro, and AP Gov are just a few of the difficult classes Neenan has chosen to take on. For Neenan, however, much of the learning and “fun with English” goes on outside the class material. “The other night, I was reading a poem during English class,” Neenan said. “I really liked it, so I brought it home and showed my mom. We spent the whole 45 minutes at dinner rhetorically analyzing it and talking about the devices the author used. It was so fun.” Alongside typical English classes, Neenan has also become a part of Inklings to exercise her love of writing. After taking Intro to Journalism, she fell in love with newspaper writing and, since then, has proven herself to be an essential Inklings player, as she is now the Web Managing Editor. “When I found out that I got Web Managing I had a panic attack because I was so happy,” Neenan said. “I like being a managing editor because I love the freedom the web gives me to be creative with my ideas.” Neenan also plans to use her journalism and writing skills in college and, later, in her career. “In college I want to study political science, but I am considering using that to go into journalism,” Neenan said. “Going into journalism with a focus on politics is what I am really interested in.”
Chris Ramey
Chris Ramey, Staff Writer
From joining the water polo team to becoming web features editor, Chris Ramey ’14 has his high school career pretty laid out. Next on the agenda? An admirable ambition—he wants to be a Navy Seal. It was his dad’s involvement in the Marine Corps—more specifically Force Recon—that originally sparked his interest in becoming a Navy Seal. Ramey expects that a lot of the skills he gains from his Inklings experience will carry over to his practices later in life, and help him to model himself after his dad: tough, determined, and intelligent. “The training is arguably the hardest on the planet, and I like that as a challenge,” he says. “I’d like to be able to say I went in and came out with my head held high.” Ramey joined Inklings this year after having Ms. McNamee as an English teacher freshman year, and so far he has nothing but grand plans. He wants to make full use of the web capabilities, including videos—perhaps even partnering with STN.

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