We need to change our dating habits


Toni Pantone

By Ellen Barczak, Columnist

College is a defining period in a person’s life; you learn who you are, figure out what you’ll do with your career, make lasting friendships and maybe even find your spouse. Sometimes, though, the pressure to find “your person” in this short span of time can be a bit much. I would even argue most young people today won’t find their life partner in college.

Everyone’s heard of girls going to school looking to earn an “MRS” degree or, in other words, to find a husband who will provide for them. Although this idea is a bit antiquated, there are surely current students who have this mindset.

It’s impossible not to have even the slightest expectation you’ll meet your spouse at school. After all, so many people tell stories of parents who did meet in college. However, today’s world is so radically different from that of our parents’ that we must adjust our expectations to the times.

We don’t know how to date anymore. We don’t know how to have emotional connections or emotional intimacy anymore. We are afraid of real, substantial, meaningful interactions.

Look at how so many people meet now — not in a bar or in a class, not in an RSO or at a dance (we don’t even have those anymore) but on Tinder. Or Bumble. Or any other of the host of dating apps from which we can choose. How can anyone expect to have lasting relationships when they began with the very thing that has ruined our ability to socialize?

One factor in dating that hasn’t changed, though, is the maturity gap between men and women. Studies have shown  this perceived difference is, in fact, apparent in the developmental differences between the male and female brain. I’ve always ball-parked the difference at about three years.

Love (or the lack thereof) has frustrated and confused people since the beginning of time itself. It’s rather mystical, when you think about it; nobody has ever physically seen love, touched it, bumped into it. Yet we all know it. And even though it’s invisible, it’s the most real thing in the world.

Love seems to elude my generation, for its classic difficulties have been mixed with the deadly cocktail that is smartphones, social media, inauthentic communication and social incompetence. Young people are reluctant to put themselves out there and oftentimes, if they do, have difficulties committing to anything serious.

My goodness, this column has turned rather dismal. I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a potential solution to our sad, date-less lives.

Get off Tinder. I’m not talking about deleting the app, I’m talking about deleting your account. Have that conversation with that person with whom you’re “hanging out” about the terms of your relationship. Ask that cute person in your class to coffee. Put yourself in new situations, the kind where you don’t know anybody.

I can’t tell you if you’ll find your spouse here or not, but I can tell you if you want to attempt to find that special someone, you need to put your phone aside and join the real world. You can be the one to show people the joy of authentic friendship and pure interactions.

If we don’t change anything, this is going to be one lonely generation.

Ellen is a sophomore in LAS.

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