Dating in the Millennial Era By: Emily Long

Flash back: You just got home from a date that you know went exceptionally well. There was a chemistry, the other person had just the right amount of everything you’re looking for. In the two days following you wait by the phone. After two days, if you haven’t heard from them, you start going through the notions of hurt, rejection, and confusion. Fast forward to the present: The time limit on the “call back” has drastically changed. With the evolution of technology, the “call back” has now turned into a “text back” and normally it’s within an hour of the person leaving. Something simple like “I had a great time tonight.” The conversation goes on for a little bit and you think you really have a connection with this person. Then the day comes, whether it be before or after your second date, that they disappear. Your life turns into a front-row magic show where you’re left wondering what happened. The psychological torture of the hurt, rejection, and confusion becomes more intense due to the fact that it takes 30 seconds to send a text message. Instead of jumping every time a phone rang loudly next to you like back in the day, you now jump every time your text message alert goes off. You never come to a full conclusion of what went wrong and eventually you learn to let it go. What other choice do you have? But then two months later, you get that text you’ve been waiting for. The spiral of confusion begins again.

The dating game has now changed into a giant psychological game of different scenarios that in the end, mostly all have the same result: unanswered questions. The only question that really should be pending is: Why do we put each other through all of this? It should be simple; if you don’t like someone you tell them (kindly) that you weren’t feeling it or into it. In their maturity, they should be understanding. Post Korean War, a code of conduct was put into effect following the exploitation of U.S. POWs through psychological torture. Although this does not compare to what these soldiers went through, it sparks an idea: Why can’t dating have a code of conduct? With dating now at your fingertips through websites such as Match and Christian Mingle, why not establish some guidelines to save each other from the ensuing confusion? Here are a few:
 

  1. What if I’m just not feeling it?
Yes, honesty can hurt, but what hurts more? Questioning what went wrong. Of course on the first date everyone knows how to glamorize themselves or will know if it just didn’t turn out right. Getting to know the person better might take a couple of dates, but if after that you’re just not into it, tell them. If you’re afraid of hurting their feelings, think about how you’ll actually be helping them more by not leading them on. If they can’t accept the fact that you don’t feel things were going the same way that they do, then that’s a red flag and it’s probably better that you walk away now.

 

  1. How long do I have to wait to text?
When is it an acceptable amount of time to text them? The answer is very simple: whenever you feel like it.  However, 10 missed calls and 20 text messages are NOT ok! Although you’re already thinking about them non-stop, if something truly significant comes into mind and you want to text them, it’s OK. This is also the time to use your intuition on the conversations. If the other person doesn’t respond with anything to keep the conversation going, don’t try to carry it alone. They may be busy so give them time to respond. If or when they do respond, take it as a positive sign, even if they’re not carrying on a back-to-back text conversation. If they don’t respond at all, take it as a sign to move on.

 

  1. What do I call them?
You’ve been on a couple dates, or more than that, and you haven’t brought up meeting friends or family yet (way too soon!). Then it happens- you run into someone they know or used to know and courtesy demands that they introduce you. You’re all ears as to how they’re going to refer to you. In this situation, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “This is my date, (insert name here)”. There’s also the option of being introduced by your first name with a simple explanation of what you’re doing. For example: “This is (insert name here) we’re going to see the new movie that just came out.” The friend you ran into will most likely not push it any further. The questions will come later time when you’re not there.

 

  1. What do I call us?
If you’ve made it anywhere close to the month dating mark, this question is on your mind. You are constantly questioning how they view you, and wondering if they’re questioning how you view them. Suddenly you’re keyed into anything you think would be a subtle hint as to how the relationship is progressing. If things are clearly going great, don’t be afraid to ask at this point where the relationship is headed, but leave it at that. The response to this question should simply affirm that you’re not wasting your time with this person. Do not pressure them to take it to the next level or it will make them distance themselves from you. 

 

  1. Social media
Just received a promotion? Immediate Facebook status update! Showing off your new pair of sunglasses? Instagram #selfie! Sleeping through an alarm clock made you late for work? Twitter update! It’s 2015, your whole life is on the internet, so why would you not post about your new relationship/potential relationship (depending on the conversation you had from #4)? You might really like this person and like where things are going, but consider social media as another step in the dating process. Would you introduce them to your parents after the first date? If you answered no (and hopefully you did), then understand it’s almost the same idea. Take your time and enjoy what a relationship is supposed to be about: two people getting to know each other. It’s an exciting feeling to like someone new and want to show them off to the world. The most important people that need to know most likely do at this point anyway, so don’t focus on letting all of your old high school friends know. Relationships build a better foundation when you establish yourselves in each others’ lives than on Facebook.

 
The most important thing while entering the dating stage is to remember your individuality. Everyone you date isn’t going to be “the one”, they might be one of 50 more to come on the path to finding your match. Enjoy the experience of each person you encounter and remember that they have a heart just as you do. No matter what the outcome, each person you date will be a lesson. Whether you see the lesson immediately or further down the road, have fun and enjoy the adventure!

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