As students journey their way through college, this time of self-discovery has often pushed the idea of relationships to the bottom of the priority list. Dating and relationships are quickly replaced with hopes of hook-ups and the constant fear of the “what are we” conversation.
What happened to the innocence of high school dating and the dream of remaining with your high school sweetheart? Because college is such a huge transition into adulthood, the magnitude of a serious relationship gets infinitely multiplied.
“The culture of campus dating is broken. … It’s because we are a generation frightened of letting ourselves be emotionally vulnerable, addicted to communicating by text, and as a result, neglecting to treat each other with respect,” Charlotte Lieberman wrote for Cosmopolitan.
Our generation has made “relationship” such a convoluted term because of our emotionless effort to communicate with one another. While a cute text might have been super sweet in high school, it’s not going to cut it on a university level. Face-to-face is necessary to get your message across.
Texting has become a whole other language, being decoded by multiple friends who come to a conclusion that is often opposite of the true message. We’ve come to the point where a smiley face could make or break a person.
“Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a Cold War spy to interpret,” social media and blog manager Shani Silver told The New York Times.
We’re so ruled by the expectations of “hook-up” culture that we drop all efforts to go that extra step to develop something more. We act as if showing emotions for another is a nothing but a sign of weakness.
“Blame the much-documented rise of the ‘hook-up culture’ among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings,” Lieberman said.
Commitment. A 10-letter-word we, as youth, struggle to comprehend. Instead of showing feelings for one individual, we look to a roster of common flings to fulfill our desires up until someone drops the relationship bomb.
“So, what are we?” Four short words that terrify the vast majority of early-adults. One shouldn’t be ashamed of caring for someone, and the returning end shouldn’t be scared of this type of attention.
“Being there for someone when they need you, that’s all that relationships are,” Imogen Poots says in the new film “That Awkward Moment.”
A relationship doesn’t need to be difficult or boring or restricting, like the definition our culture has so recently defined it as. Any relationship, romantic or platonic, requires both individuals to put forth the effort to foster it into something great.
Through this romantic transition, we’ve erased the middle ground between a fling and relationship: dating. Going out on dates is essential to learning more about a person and to really learn more about you. Get rid of that, and it’s no wonder we struggle with compromising the wants and needs of others with our own.
“You’re closing doors to the kinds of experiences and emotions that arise from caring deeply about another person,” Lieberman said.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to go to dinner with him. It’s a date, not a marriage proposal. And guys, put on your big-boy pants and ask her out to dinner already. You’ll never know what could become if you’re forever ruled by your personal insecurities.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @BeccaSmouse