Before we get to our main article, get excited! Here's a pop quiz for you! Don't worry, it has only 1 question:
What does "dating"/"going out" mean?
a. It's mostly a label - it just expresses that you really like each other.
b. It's when two people who have a "crush" on each other start talking more often, in person, on the phone, in text/social media.
c. It's when two people become an official couple - like "boyfriend and girlfriend," kiss, and go out on dates like the movies or school dances.
d. It's when two people who have romantic feelings for each other begin spending time together with plans to get married and be together forever.
Scroll down for the answer.
ANSWER: I DON’T KNOW! You tell me!
Seriously, please tell me. Write to me on the message board "What is Dating in Middle School?" With your help, maybe I can write a better article in the future!
So. If there isn't even one certain meaning of "going out," the issue becomes confusing before anything even happens! When I was in middle-school, "going out" could mean any or all of these things -- from two people making it public that they especially like each other but who don’t do anything really romantic, to a flirty friendship, all the way to a serious relationship with planned dates outside of school and maybe some kind of physical intimacy, such as kissing or cuddling, and, for a small percentage of middle-schoolers, more serious physical intimacy.
At a time of life when being "normal" seems like the most important thing in the world, a middle-schooler can feel huge pressure to start doing whatever is "normal" in the dating world. You may also be developing "crushes" -- romantic feelings for someone that can be intense -- and not know what to do with those feelings.
Matters of dating and intimacy are sensitive. They are very personal and often something we'd like to keep private. It can be incredibly embarrassing to have these sensitive feelings known or criticized by other people, but at the same time we want to feel accepted and normal, like we have the "right" feelings and behavior. With this emotional storm blowing around inside us, it can be hard to figure out what we need and how to make decisions that work for us, with a minimum of embarrassment!
All of my female friends, including myself, have experienced the pressure, anxiety, excitement and confusion that come with the time of life when people start "going out," usually in middle school. And years later, after high school and college and even having children of their own, my friends still remember difficult moments from middle-school, usually involving a boy.
In the quiz below, you will step into the place of a few of my friends in real stories from their middle-school years (I have changed their names to protect their privacy). While reading the questions, picture yourself into the story and think about what you would do, and then pick the answer that you think is best for you.
I can tell you now: my friends really did some of the things you might think are NOT the best answers, but please try not to judge them: They did the best they could in difficult situations, just like you would, and they have learned a lot from their experiences.
Ready for the quiz?
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