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Dating: not what it used to be

| Friday, November 18, 2016

What is dating culture? Honestly, someone needs to tell me because at this point I am starting to get a little confused. Go ask your parents what dating was like when they were our age. You’re likely to hear stories about them meeting a guy or girl, being asked out or asking them out and getting to know them over dinner or a movie. What happened if they didn’t like the person then? Well, they got through the date and probably didn’t see them again.

Dating used to be a way to get to know someone. You went on a date because you were intrigued by the person and wanted to know more about them. If you had a bad time, or just didn’t like the person, then you didn’t have to spend any more time on them. Also, you were now one step closer to finding someone that you did like. So … what happened to that style of dating? What happened to meeting someone for the first time and scheduling a date because you were curious?

Nowadays there seems to be almost no trace of this “dated” culture. Instead of the spontaneity of meeting someone and risking it all to ask them out, we resort to getting to know them through text, Snapchat or whatever other means before we decide we want to know more about this other person. We join dating sites like Tinder, Bumble, etc., and evaluate a person on the screen before even deciding that we are interested in them. We take out the social aspect of social media and instead introduce another way to judge a book by its cover. The only problem with that model is that it is nearly impossible to judge a person by five pictures and a biography of their life that is shorter than the length of a tweet.

Now, I am not one to completely bash these social media dating apps — they’re fun. But for the most part, people treat them more like a game, seeing how many matches they can accumulate, rather than trying to get to know the person that swiped on them as well. If only we tried getting out there, in person, and talking to one another, we may have more luck. Texting is great, and Snapchat is even better in my opinion; but it is hard to get to know someone’s personality when we are reading their words in our own head. One of the main reasons that we like people is that they introduce things into our lives that we find exciting. So maybe next time you’re out somewhere on your phone and you see someone that is cute, go and talk to them instead of texting your friends about them. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised; our parents sure as hell seemed to have good luck.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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