We’ve all been there, or at least we have seen it happen. Two people are at the same bar. They make eye contact. One walks up to the other and buys a drink. They exchange about 10 words. They walk out of the bar together, get a taxi, and will not be seen again until the next morning.
Occurrences such as the one described above are an all-too-common component of the modern-day college experience. No longer are the days of courtship and courtesy. Going on dates? The closest you’ll get to that is having the guy you hooked up with the previous night swipe you into your campus dining hall while you struggle to hold a conversation over a meal of runny eggs and undercooked bacon.
That’s not to say that dating isn’t completely extinct. Yes, there are those couples that have been together since day one of freshman year who are planning on marriage right after graduation, but the vast majority remains in what I like to call “relationship purgatory.”
Let me explain what I mean by this term. Oftentimes, college students are involved in what they like to call a ‘consistent hookup.’ Sometimes these hookups can feel like Dante’s journey in Paradiso, traveling to the different levels of the celestial spheres until he finally reaches the Empyrean, a place that’s beyond actual existence, or as college students may call it, a relationship.
Until we reach that ethereal existence, we remain in Relationship Purgatory, maybe advancing a few levels to “friends with benefits,” or if you’re lucky, “exclusive.” Only a few in college will ever get to relationship Empyrean.
What is it that has made dating in college nearly obsolete? It’s not as if casual hook-ups are a modern occurrence. They happened when our parents were in college in the years of sexual liberation, yet people were still getting married at 23.
The difference between our parents’ generation and our generation is the way we interact with eachother. We communicate almost entirely through digital mediums, making it easy for us to hide behind a virtual veil rather than revealing our true identity and intentions.
This lack of in-person intimacy can have some serious effects on behavioral health. The use of technology in trying to develop relationships can cause unnecessary stress and mind games.
Instead of the support and happiness a healthy relationship should bring, we sit in frustration wondering why the person that we are interested in is not texting us. Or worse, people waste time trying to read into what text messages “really mean.”
All college students have been there. You like someone and suddenly every “ok” or “what’s up” text has a hidden meaning that we must decode. Our world is suddenly consumed with over-thinking and self-doubt.
Instead of walking around, enjoying the world around us, we sit in our dorm rooms hoping that our phones will buzz and that special name will pop up on the screen. It is a frustrating scenario.
While technology has its advantages, it is not healthy to rely completely on texting to start a relationship. Spending face-to-face time with someone will really allow the relationship to bloom. You will suddenly have shared experiences together and actual memories to discuss, rather than digging for meaning in forced daily text messages.
Most people don’t fall in love with a text message. So if you want a relationship, open up and let people know who you really are. The end result will be much more satisfying than a one-time drunken hook-up.
Jenny is a senior at Wake Forest University from Cohasset, Mass. Jenny is an English major, and loves to write, whether it is a Shakespeare paper or an article for her school newspaper. She is hoping to enter the bustling world of public relations after graduating in May 2014. When she isn’t writing, you can find her at the local barre studio or trying but failing to quietly sing an Italian aria.