Picture a teenage girl in the 70s, waiting anxiously by the landline for her crush to confirm their first date. She wonders what to wear, where they will go, and if her father will embarrass her when her crush comes to the door to pick her up. Will he kiss her goodnight? Will it be awkward? These thoughts are interrupted when the phone finally rings. She lets it ring a few times, so that she doesn’t come across as too eager. “Hello”, she says nonchalantly, “Are we still on for tonight?” The seconds it takes for him to answer feel like an eternity. “Sure thing. I’ll pick you up at seven?” Finally able to breathe again, she says “Sure!” After she gets ready, she walks to her best friend’s house, trying to get a few last minute words of encouragement. Finally, he arrives and thankfully because her father has a phone call when the doorbell rings, he settles for a quick wave goodbye. The drive to the restaurant goes smoothly, with a only a few awkward pauses and sufficient small talk. They seem to have left their initial awkwardness behind once they have been seated at the restaurant. Exceeding all of her preconceived expectations, the evening blows her away. When the night is over and he walks her to the door, he kisses her on the cheek and wishes her a goodnight.
Now picture a similar scenario between two teenagers. However, the year is 2017. A girl stares at her phone in disappointment, seeing her crush has opened and ignored her Snapchat twenty-three minutes ago. He had previously made a comment about how they should should hang out sometime, but it was so vague that the girl is unsure if it was sincere. A few more minutes go by and fearing that she is going to lose her mind, she FaceTimes her best friend. Without a second for her friend to even say hello, the girl jumps right into explaining the situation, desperately hoping her friend will be able to assign meaning to this seemingly meaningless invitation. To her disappointment, she talks about how guys say stuff like that all the time and it’s hard to get them to commit to something. But just as she was about to lose hope, he Snapchats her back saying they should meet up after the basketball game later that night.
Nowadays, with everyone going off to college in such a variety of areas, it is pretty much a given that high school relationships are temporary. This was not the case many decades ago years ago, however, because more often than not, people stayed in the same areas after high school, continued on with their high school relationships, and got married at much younger ages. These stories of couples being each other’s high school sweethearts are charming, but are they outdated? If high school relationships are now expected to inevitably end at graduation or even sooner, then what’s the point in trying? Why put in effort into these relationships when there is an extremely slim chance of things working out?
These thoughts may be the reason that the dating world for young people has changed so drastically. Has going on fun and thoughtful dates been replaced by casual invitations to “hang out”? If we look at young people’s relationships from past decades compared to those today, they differ in almost every aspect, ranging from how relationships begin to what a normal date might look like. Most aspects of even talking to someone you are interested in has taken a turn. Often times, before talking in person, two people who are interested in each other will first use social media networks, such as Snapchat, to begin getting to know each other. Before the technological age, if someone wanted to ask another person on a “date”, they’d either have to call this person on the phone or ask in person, both of which take courage. Now all someone has to do is type three simple words on a keyboard, “wanna hang out?”
It is clear that things have changed significantly, but the question remains: Is it for the better or the worst? Comment below what you think!