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Love at first swipe?

author: abbey johns | contributor

Credit: Jaecy Bells

I was born in this technological age, yet even I don’t see the significance of a heart emoji.

Gone are the days of falling in love and gazing into each other’s eyes. These days are replaced instead by the simple and depersonalized act of analyzing edited and perfected photos of the people for which you develop feelings. I don’t find this so romantic.

In today’s society, we heavily rely on technology. Technology is beneficial; however, it’s opened us up to a different world full of disheartening implications that are rarely discussed. It has also subjected us to a confusing and bumpy roadmap of love that none of us know how to navigate. I was born in this technological age, yet even I don’t see the significance of a heart emoji.

There is a real convenience in being “connected.” You can pay all your bills online, you can Facetime with friends across the country, you can find your way to an address easier than ever, and ultimately be on the fast track to a victim of “ghosting.” And yes, that’s a real term. However, what price are we paying to be so “connected” to one another?

It’s quite ironic, actually. As technologically connected as we are, the less and less we connect to one another on a genuine and personal level. Let me describe a typical scene many of us have witnessed: two individuals are sitting at a local Starbucks, each with their overpriced lattes, one with a scone, and the other a chocolatey treat. One would think these two individuals would be on a date, catching up, or enjoying each other’s company, but that is not the case. They are each staring at their phones, one scrolling through Instagram, while the other engages in a meaningless text conversation. Neither speaking nor acknowledging the other.

This is a scene witnessed all too often, yet it sums up many relationships today – distracted and disingenuous. Screw the coined term “millennials,” how about “distractials.” Okay, maybe not that, but you get the point. Our easy access to technology, Internet included, has resulted in a lack of connection and genuine relationships.

Oh, romantic relationships. Every millennial’s most feared word: relationship. This generation is full of “commitment issues.” Why? Online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have been more popular than ever. And this makes sense, due to our lack of in-person conversation and lazy antics. In the comfort of your own home and favorite sweat suit, you can acceptably judge potential romances solely upon a couple uploaded pictures. Although many claim to use this app for “fun,” the reality is that this is how we are meeting partners/lovers/hook-ups or whatever you’d like to call it these days.

Now, the flaw in this dating roulette is quite simple. You connect with someone, chat, follow, like, tag, finally meet, dislike, unfollow, rinse, and repeat. Just like that, you can create a rapport, sometimes talk for weeks, decide they’re “meh, not what you’re into” and vanish into cyberspace. The interaction begins with pillars of ingenuity and ends that way as well.

All too often, this results in serial dating and “the grass is always greener” mentality. You may be wondering what this is. It’s quite simple. With our increased accessibility to the Internet, apps and direct messaging, we are all so quick to search for the next novel enjoyment or instant gratification. This pattern creates insincere romantic relationships. Why focus on the relationship you’re in when you can DM the Insta-hottie who just uploaded a “fire” picture? Not only does it lead to undervaluing the individuals you physically meet, but it also creates an easy access to infidelity. The most heartbreaking part about this whole scenario is how we have lost our ability to connect, to cherish, and to value people in our lives.

In a sense, we’ve created an alternate reality for the “Instagram us.” This is the perfect us, who is always on the hunt for a perfect “Instagram lover.” However, we all know perfection doesn’t exist, yet we’ve single-handedly created a world where it does: social media. So, when you ask, “why are millennials so afraid of commitment?” there you have it. Commitment takes time, effort, loyalty, caring and attention, something our generation has failed to practice.

The above dating cycle or the social media “us” can often leave us feeling exhausted, run-down, with low self-esteem and spouts of “am I good enough?” mentality in real life. Well, I have the answer for you! You are! You are you, beauty, humor, stained sweat suit and all! Utilize these helpful apps, like Tinder and Bumble, to meet people, but do not let them run your life. Be fearless! Rather than swiping to match with the cutie in your class, ask to borrow a pencil. Compliment that hottie at the bar. I fully support texting and memes, but know there exists a time and place to indulge in our “Internet World.”

Disconnect to reconnect. Put your phone away in social situations and cultivate real and authentic relationships, or as I like to call them “the ride or die” people in my life. Because when it’s all said and done, all we have is each other. Be present, be genuine and ultimately, be you.

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