Krogel: Relationships can be tricky business

There seems to be as many different perspectives towards Valentine’s Day as there are people.

To a romantic, it is a day where people express their love in the most perfect and thoughtful ways.

To a cynic, it is a day where single people think their life has no value as they bitterly watch couples whose relationship is dependent on the number of chocolates exchanged within the magical 24 hours.

To a preteen, Valentine’s Day is the most exciting day of the year.

This year it was a fairly emotionally neutral day for me, but despite my natural tendency towards cynicism, part of me missed the excitement that used to surround Valentine’s Day for me.

When I was 13, the candygrams I received were enough to outshine Christmas and my birthday combined.

But like most preteens, the so-called relationships I had were based on nothing more than instant messaging and passing notes in class, so naturally, they tended to dissolve after a couple weeks.

While many people can look back on the relationships they had in middle school with enough maturity to realize there are better ways to get to know someone, others carry the preteen mindset towards dating throughout high school and even further on in life.

The problem is that a consistently shallow approach to relationships tends to be incompatible with growing, changing, and increasingly complex teenagers.

While I am in no way a relationship counselor, I have seen many of my friends become devastated after breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, and often, this is because they never knew them well enough in the first place.

The messiest break-ups I have seen have typically between two people who were completely incompatible from the start – maybe aside from their evenly matched good looks – but completely threw themselves into the relationship after a few conversations on Facebook chat.

Sometimes people begin well-suited for each other, but because we change so much in our teenage years, they become too different in character for the relationship to work.

This happens with friendships, too.

You may be lucky enough to have had the same best friend since you were little, but there are usually people you see around your school for whom a quick wave has become more appropriate than the long talks you used to have, and that’s not a bad thing.

As time goes on and we experience more of life, we are changed by those experiences, often in ways that make it hard to relate to people we were previously friends with.

The experience heading my way in less than four months is graduation, and I’m preparing myself for the way my friendships will change as everyone goes their separate ways.

While I work hard at not basing my significance on relationships, I’m learning the importance of significant relationships.

And I’m guessing that the friendships that will continue will be with the people I’ve done more than text and pass notes with.

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