Despite the flak they receive, you can’t deny that millennials excel at a lot of things. We are a group of driven, focused, goal-oriented, active individuals. We fight for what we believe is right. We work hard to create a fulfilling life for ourselves and others. We strive to ensure a better future for all. We are environmentally conscious, care about the products we use, and research thoroughly before making big life decisions. All in all, we’re a group of pretty badass, thoughtful people. Yet, there is one area in which we are absolutely failing as a whole, and that’s dating.
I have (thank god) never had to download the Tinder app, but I have been silently conducting case studies over the years while watching my friends attempt to find love in this millennial dating era. And holy shit, it sucks. When did we become so self-absorbed and caught up in our online presence that we stopped caring about real-life interactions with human beings? Have you all ever seen the Black Mirror episode where the people’s existence literally depends on the number of ‘likes’ they get on their social profile? That’s what millennial dating culture looks like to me. Even if you’re not swiping right (or left - which one is good again?) on Tinder, you’re stalking someone’s Instagram profile to make sure they’re up to your standards before you choose to give them the time of day. And if they’re not deemed cool enough, don’t get enough likes, or have x number of followers…it’s back to the drawing board.
This is, of course, not the only reason why millennial dating culture currently sucks. It’s simply one of the many. Don’t worry your pretty little heads though, I’ll be sure to list them all out.
We are too plugged in.
This is sort of what I am speaking to above. One of the wonderful things about millennials is that we are so technologically savvy, and typically use the knowledge we gather online to better educate ourselves and stay informed. However, the downside of being so technologically savvy and plugged-in, especially in regards to dating, is that we have essentially created a wall between ourselves and the real world. We feel empowered to say anything we want online, and we create digital profiles of ourselves to appeal to others so that they’ll want to follow or be friends with us. I sort of think of it as rushing for a sorority - you’re only going to put your best characteristics out there for fear of being rejected. And that’s not wrong; it’s human instinct to want to do so. Yet, I believe it’s biting us in the ass when it comes to dating, because if/when we meet someone online that we’re interested in…we feel this pressure to uphold the image that we’ve created online. We become nervous to show who we really are versus who we say we are (or think we are) in the digital world. We want to appear as cool as our social profiles lead us to be. And that simply results in an inauthentic first interaction that will undoubtedly lead to more.
We need to be constantly entertained.
Because millennials are such hyper-active individuals, we have the desire…and maybe even the need to be constantly entertained, either by ourselves or others. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing - I know that I personally feel best when I’m consistently on-the-move and productive. But, I don’t think we realize just how easily, and dangerously, that can translate when it comes to dating. Because of our need for this constant stimulation, we get bored easily…with both projects AND people.
I think it’s safe to say we can all agree that the “get to know you” phase is the most fun part of a relationship. Everything is new and exciting. You’re finding out something different about them each day. You’re enjoying trying to “figure them out” and learn their little quirks. There’s still so much mystery to the relationship, where it may lead, etc. And sadly, that’s where a lot of relationships end for millennials, because once the dust settles and you get to know the person…you’re bored. You can’t handle the mundane aspects of a long-term relationship. You miss the tingly feeling of wondering what surprise will come next.
Millennials often need constant change to keep themselves motivated and inspired.
That one friend who’s always jet-setting across the world every 6 months or so on their next adventure.
The person who’s been job hopping ever since college to find “the right fit.”
The serial dater who can’t seem to keep a relationship afloat.
Sound familiar? I thought it might.
We want instant gratification.
Millennials are driven to succeed, want results fast, and work hard to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. This has, in turn, lead to a plethora of millennials becoming self-made millionaires, CEOs, entrepreneurs, etc. When it comes to our career, this characteristic is paying off big time (literally $$$). Yet, when it comes to dating…not so much.
Simply put: our inability to be patient and our drive to succeed makes us lack the desire to endure a long-term relationship. We can’t deal with putting in the effort if we can’t see the end result. We want to know for damn sure we’re not wasting our time, because we have very carefully crafted plans that we will stop at nothing to achieve. Anything/anyone that stands in our way or doesn’t meet the criteria is out. Sorry ‘bout it, that’s just the way millennials are wired. If this sounds harsh, it’s because it is. We have become a generation of individuals who will stop at nothing to succeed, and unfortunately that meets cutting people loose who we don’t think are worthy of the ride. And more often than not, we don’t take the time to find out if they really are. If they don’t tick off all our boxes, it’s adios amigo.
We don’t want to limit ourselves.
Millennials don’t like to be tied down, whether that be to a city…a job…or a person. We like to keep our options open, and we’re always on our toes for the next big thing. This has lead to the ever so popular, "it’s complicated" way of dating. Not to be crude, but millennials are notorious for sleeping around. We are the generation of "relationships without titles." We don’t want to commit to just one person, place, or thing…so we try our hand at as many as we can in hopes that eventually we’ll stumble into what we’ve been looking for. The problem with that logic is, that if you don’t stick around long enough to figure out what’s right for you, how will you ever really know for sure?
We want everyone to like us.
Ah, this is perhaps my favorite millennial dating trait - ghosting. If you’ve ever heard a friend talking about how she was dating a guy and that things we’re going really well…but all of a sudden she stopped hearing from him with no explanation. Yo girl got ghosted.
Because millennials care so much about what other people think, we don’t want to disappoint others or make them think poorly of us. And that means that rather than explain why we would no longer like to see someone, we simply vanish without a trace…delete you from our social media profiles…and hide in bathrooms when we see you out around town. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. But it’s so true. And you know it. I guarantee that everyone reading this is nodding their heads in agreement at this very moment.
Obviously not all millennials are culprits of these shitty dating habits…but most of them are leading the charge with these very actions. My proposed solution to break the cycle is to focus on creating more meaningful relationships with others, take the time to get to know them, and not cast someone aside because they don’t check off one of your ‘must-have’ boxes.
If relationships aren’t your priority and you want to focus on your career, great! More power to ya. Just be up front about it.
Be honest. Be kind. And most importantly…Be YOU. Not what you think someone wants you to be, or what you think you should be, but who you really are - all of the messy, weird, awesome parts of you. Let the world see it. Because someone, somewhere, is going to think it's really fucking great.
Good luck, beauties.
Hi beauties! I'm Tori: a 24-year-old writer, reader, and coffee drinker here to inspire you to become the most authentic and empowered version of yourself. Together we'll transform.
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