Can we just stop this nonsense now?
I get it. It’s the 21st century, life is lived online. But why does it have to include our love lives? Surely we are better than all this.
I am the kind of person who looks for the good in everyone, but five seconds on a dating app and all I see is ugliness. Poses and captions and swiping and sadness. Is this really what we want?
Before I steamroll into anger, can we all just pause a second and think about it?
By using these kinds of apps, we are shopping for people. Literally browsing options; for sex, for love, for whatever. Are we really happy to live in a world where people are marketing themselves as something to be won in what is essentially a game?
And it is a game! I have friends in university who sit in lectures, swap phones, and swipe away on each other's profiles. I’ve sat in restaurants with someone’s phone in the centre of the table, and all involved swiping for them, basing their judgements of the number of dog pictures they have..
“It’s just a bit of fun”
Now you’ll all start screaming that some people do just use such apps for fun; for something casual or just to look. Good for them, but that’s where the real problem comes in. We as a generation are buying into the lie that all we are worth is a bit of fun and that there’s always something better than what you have that’s only a swipe away.
This very idea of browsing is that it’s noncommittal, taken at face value and with little thought of anything more. As an objective person in real life, these are all red flags in any kind of relationship. Yet, as a culture, we still buy into this idea that relationships, of any description, are disposable, and that, to me, is the saddest thing of all.
It’s all fake.
Just like on our own social media, none of it is really real. We edit and airbrush and filter and crop it all to show our best moments. Lying is never a good foundation for anything and it definitely should be avoided when it comes to dating.
I’m not even talking about catfish. I’m talking about your general, supposedly single user who is putting their best foot forward. But what happens when there are no more pictures to judge, matches to make? People are not their profile picture every day and nor should they be.
Time for a truth bomb.
Usually I’d say "you do you," but I think it’s time to speak up. If you can’t even start a romantic endeavour face to face, how on earth can you expect to have any kind of long-term relationship with honesty and transparency when you couldn’t even do that at the start?
We are raising generations of teenagers who place all their value on their media presence and are left reading into words messaged to them online. But that’s the thing—it’s just words online. You can’t read tone or intention and arguably cannot get to know someone truly online.
Communication over any kind of messenger is false. We have another wall between us and the other person, on top of our usual self-defense walls. If a relationship begins online, is it more likely that you are not going to be able to deal with the bigger things in real time either?
Messages are a safety net, a cop out of commitment and vulnerability, and no good relationship can grow from that place of distrust.
But how are you supposed to meet someone?
Delete your apps. Join a group of likeminded people and start a conversation. Be a person and communicate genuinely.
Smile more! A friend of mine smiled at a handsome man passing her in the street, as they went their separate ways he turned back, ran up to her, and asked her out on a date. Real life.
How wonderful would it be to happen upon your next relationship just for being yourself, rather than waiting for someone’s mate to jokingly swipe right on their profile?