We live in a world where people are afraid to feel anything genuine, or at the very least, are afraid to show it. When someone is unhappy with you, there’s no meet up to talk about it. Instead you get a passive aggressive response via a text message or a suspiciously relevant subtweet, subtly calling you out in 140 characters or less. Everything and everyone is tactful, and it is one of the most exhausting games I’ve ever had to play. I could probably earn my masters degree with the amount of time and energy it takes to determine whether or not a guy actually has feelings for me.
Here are 10 things that every 20+ year olds are stuck with in the modern dating/hookup culture:
1. These days, online dating is equivalent to online shopping. Unfortunately, we’ve normalised the concept of choosing people from a catalog, and our interest in them is based on a photo and a name.
2. Their social media and online presence pretty much sums up everything about them. It’s like everything we need to know about them is on their bio and Instagram feed.
3. Committing feels as though it is a sign of hopelessness for finder “better”. We look down on the people who we think are settling too soon, as though their lives are over after they say “I do”. We don’t want to sell ourselves short and refuse to commit because we think that we can always do better.
4. Calling each other has become a huge deal. Its almost like going first base in the relationship. We’re so socially inept that we get anxious when it comes to directly asking somebody out.
5. Things are only official when you go public — on your social media. You’re only for real when you’ve more or less announced it on social media or changed your Facebook status. Furthermore, the relationship is only deemed valid when we gain others’ approval through their comments.
6. Comparing whose relationship is more loving and glamorous. A couple who posts all their holiday travels to Paris, Rome and Greece is probably doing better than a couple who spends their time together helping out at a dog shelter.
7. Stop for a second and think about how weird this is – our hearts flutter when we hear a beeping noise in the morning. Can you believe it? We actually feel gratified by a “good morning” text. Someone please save us from ourselves.
8. We’ve been acculturated in an environment where pursuing our dreams has become increasingly paramount. Career achievement often go hand in hand with long hours, moving, and other major relationship sacrifices. Watch La La Land, if Hollywood can’t do it, what hope do we have?
9. At the start of courting someone, you kind of need to have your phone on you at all times. Not texting back within a few hours can spell doom, figuratively and literally. The person on the receiving end is probably on the brink of insanity by the third hour where the sender hasn’t replied.
10. The need to play it cool is exhausting, but you might as well be prepared to be single for the rest of your life unless you choose to participate in these modern dating “rules”.
So here’s an idea: If someone makes you happy, tell them. If you like someone, tell them. If you’re not interested in someone, please just tell them. For the love of God, do not keep them hanging. It’s about time we grow up and stop leaving people confused with unanswered texts and cryptic social media posts. Everyone is human and we’re all just trying to understand one another in this messy, messed up world, so stop treating a relationship of any kind like it’s a challenge to accomplish. Be honest with other people about how you feel, and don’t get so caught up in playing the game that you forget to extend the same courtesy to yourself.