It is often said that it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, but does the same ring true for hookups? Is it really better to hook up and ghost someone than to never hook up at all?
The standard form of relationships for centuries was etiquette-bound courtship, before it was eventually replaced by less formal dating. Courtship became dating. The often idealized days of diner dates and drive-in movies romanticized by movies like “Grease” have seemingly gone with the wind.
Dating culture seems to be becoming a thing of the past as well. Today is the age of hookup culture. The popularity of apps such as Hinge, Grindr and Tinder has led to a fundamental change in romantic relationships for college students. The way our generation dates is not the same as our parents did.
Instead of going on multiple dates with various suitors, there are multiple matches waiting to text. Additionally, a good pick-up line doesn’t hold quite the same zing when sent online. When a date doesn’t go well or a text conversation turns bland, one must simply un-match to move on.
One of the key issues of online dating is the selection process. Dating app interactions are based almost entirely on looks. Key personality traits and virtues cannot be unveiled through a 200-word bio attached to a picture of you posing at the beach.
Relationships and interactions built from looks alone encourage shallow behavior and hookups, with no possibility of something deeper. The element of humanity has been replaced with technology. People have been replaced by profiles.
Another damaging aspect of online dating apps is how they affect self-image. The act of reducing one’s entire being to a profile makes it easy to attach your self-image to the success of your profile.
Matching frequently with randoms can build up some self-confidence, but that same confidence can be smashed when someone you don’t even know doesn’t swipe right. We connect our self-worth to the opinions of people we might not ever meet.
A generation-wide lack of foundational relationship-building skills can be partially attributed to online dating as well. The important social skills that are honed through face-to-face interactions are lost when these interactions become completely virtual.
The uncomfortable and awkward situations we face going on bad dates create social skills that are impossible to replicate. Bad dates make us better people.
Safety is another massive concern with online dating. Catfishing, or pretending to be someone you are not, is a common problem that most have heard of. Catfishing may seem harmless, but it isn’t the only thing that can go wrong online. Countless cases of inappropriate relationships between children and adults are formed through dating apps and the internet.
The average person might not have concerns about who is on the other side of a virtual conversation, but the reality is frightening, as violent crimes have resulted from relationships that began online.
The world of online dating has some incredible benefits, and might lead to real relationships, but at what cost? Our generation has begun to sacrifice the essential components that make us social creatures. We have sacrificed safety and reality for convenience.
I do not believe that dating apps are inherently bad, but it is time we take a closer look at how they affect us. Online dating is not worth the price we pay.
Cory Koch is a 20-year-old political science junior from Alexandria, Louisiana.