OPINION: Dating culture among college students has become too casual, unrealistic with presence of social media

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With the advent of social media, the dating landscape has changed the ways people make personal connections. (John Chapple | Collegian Media Group)

College students of today have experienced dating through the lens of social media and dating apps. As digital natives who have grown up with technology, the realm of online dating isn’t as taboo to us as it is to our parents or older individuals.

College students are accustomed to apps like Tinder and Bumble, and we’re no strangers to the phrase “slide into the DMs.” In today’s society, it’s hard to determine if someone actually likes you for, you know… you, or if they’re really just into how you portray yourself online.

You’ve probably been in the situation where you meet someone, in person or online, that you just click with. You exchange phone numbers or (more often than not) add each other on Snapchat. You start to communicate solely through pictures or emojis (so much emotional depth, am I right?) and eventually work up to having a streak. Maybe they even have a pink heart next to their name on Snapchat (we all know what this means). Things seem to be going strong.

You occasionally hang out in person, but a majority of your time spent together is through messages on different media platforms. Whenever they take a longer amount of time to reply than normal or leave you on read, you might start to freak out a little bit. Your entire relationship runs through your mind and you start to wonder, “Where did I go wrong?”

Now, I have a couple questions for anyone who relates to what I’ve said above, and I have a feeling an overwhelming majority of students reading this probably do.

The first question: is this healthy? Is it really beneficial to your mental health to base your worth on whether or not your boo thing liked your latest Instagram pic? Or think that they love you less because they didn’t post about you on Valentine’s Day? In my opinion, the answer is a big, gigantic NO.

Anyone can take a couple minutes out of their day to reply to Snapchats, send a text message or make a post on social media. My boyfriend liking my selfies or funny tweets has absolutely nothing to do with how much he loves and values me. If you think relationships are measured on that sort of scale, you might want to rethink.

My second question: do you feel fulfilled? There’s obviously going to be feelings of instant gratification when your crush/significant other likes your pics, or if the cute Tinder boy you’ve been talking to for a while asks you out on a date. But does that actually make you feel content?

In my personal experience, any form of relationship I’ve built online hasn’t really lasted after taking things further (a.k.a. actual face-to-face human interaction). Now, this isn’t the case for everyone and a lot of people have met their sweethearts online. In addition, a lot of college students aren’t looking for anything more than a casual fling, which is also totally cool.

Everyone is different when it comes to dating, but I personally just don’t feel fulfilled through Snapchat messages, casual conversations or emotionless hookups. I’m at a point in my life where my college career is about to come to an end and the real world is closing in on me with each passing day. While the online dating world can introduce you to people you probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with naturally, I truly don’t think anything can beat forging close, human connections (romantic or platonic) with people you meet in person.

Emma Snyder is a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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