Concerts Come & Go – But Friends Can Last Forever (well at least longer than a concert)

Just read an interesting post by Merideth over at Y Pulse which demonstrated a truth about teenage behaviour which is all too easily forgotten in our hyper consumer society- events are ultimately an excuse to hangout with friends.

During the US recession teenage spending on movies and concerts dropped, but sales to that market of DVD’s, music and games held its own.  The point being that concerts and movies are fun and good, but when things get tight hanging out is better.

For teenagers events are often just as much about the chance to be in a “parent free” space with their peers enjoying the freedom and community that comes with that space.  I remember that I loved going to school dances, not because I loved dancing (I was not a good dancer…and nothing has changed),  I loved going because it was a night out of the house, minus parents, just hanging with friends.  The night was always full of promise; watching tomorrow’s gossip unfold in front of us, the chance for everyone to see how cool I looked when I dressed up to go out, the hope of romantic success with whichever girl I was silently obsessed with at the time, and ultimately it was a chance to sit around, hangout, and laugh with my best mates.  The music and dancing were merely the excuse and the background noise.  If someone had said my mates and I could spend Friday night at the school hall just hanging out by ourselves, we probably would have been just as happy to do that (except then there would be no hope of getting the girl of my dreams.)

While teenagers enjoy seeing movies and going to concerts, they have a much stronger need to be in a space that affords the chance to explore who they are in the company of the people who they most want to share the journey with.  Learning to relate in a more independent, grown up way is an exciting pastime for teenagers.  Enjoying and maintaining relationship is a profoundly satisfying and often compelling need for teens.  Shared experiences provide opportunities for these things to happen, but the experiences don’t always need to be million dollar blockbusters. Sometimes a Coke and Hamburger in a parent free zone is just as good.

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