We are the instant gratification generation. And it has killed our romantic lives.
Let me explain. I think it’s safe to say that, if you ask just about anyone in modern society, they’d tell you that dating today is distinctly different than it was ten years ago. With the ever-growing popularity of technology, cell phones, digital culture and dating apps, dating seems to be nothing more than a casual, on-demand service we have at our fingertips.
As a millennial living and working in San Francisco, it’s commonplace to see or hear people talk about their participation on apps like Tinder, The League, or Bumble, and nothing more than expected to hear about the casual hookups my friends are having. We live quickly and expect instant results; we are impatient and independent and go quickly after what we want – and, with that, what we want changes often.
The age of meeting someone in person, nervously calling them for the first time, courting them and spoiling them with genuine dates is dead. People meet online, they chat online, they become close online – you know everything about your date for the evening before you meet them because you’ve been messaging on Tinder for a week. And, even with that, it’s expected that you message back in a timely manner – more than 24 hours and you lose their attention. The predominance of the internet has provided the capability to stalk someone’s online presence and learn every minute detail about them without ever having to meet them in person. Technology has infiltrated our lives, our relationships, our ability to be romantic, our sex lives – all of it. Social media is king; when you match with someone on a dating app, it’s completely normal to then try to find their Twitter or Instagram account to learn more about them before you dive into a conversation (or to decide if you even want to have a conversation). First dates become challenging to create conversation because you’re no longer learning about each other – you’re just awkwardly trying to take the relationship that exists online and manifest it in real life.
This instant-dating lifestyle that lives at our fingertips leaves us constantly wanting instant gratification at all times romantically. Millennials shoot a text to their latest hook-up buddy and wait for a reply – no reply? They move on to someone else. The ability to reach out with no shame comes with ease for us, as texting does not require the confidence as asking someone out in person does. We get bored of our latest Bumble dates too quickly and move onto the next swipe. We’re moving so quickly that we don’t want to wait for the time it takes to build a real relationship with someone. It’s not instant enough.
As a millennial living in the middle of this, it’s something I’ve grown used to. Casual hookups are brought up regularly in conversations with friends and arguably almost every day I hear about something that happened in relation to a dating app. I personally don’t care for dating apps much – I find the act of swiping entertaining, but have only ever met up with two people over the course of the past few years, nothing more – but it is challenging to find other ways to meet people, as everyone is so attached to their phone and the digital exploration of love. I question if, and when this fad will ever die – and hope that one day it will.
Though, keep in mind, this does not apply to every millennial out there – hell, one of my close friends is marrying her high school sweetheart in a month. And I have massive respect for those few that do find true love in modern society. It’s beautiful.
As for now, friends, happy swiping!