Viewpoint: Social media has changed dating for college students

By Haley Davis

It’s not official until it’s Facebook official. The way college students and young adults date in the 21st century is completely different than how previous generations approached dating.

It was simpler back when parents were our age and dating in college. A boy saw a girl he liked, talked to her and got her number. Then if he wanted to get to know her more, he would call her, and they went on a date. If the date went well, they would go on another one. If not, they went their separate ways.

Today there are so many more steps involved. After a couple meets, they become Facebook friends, and then some how get each other’s number to start texting, hanging out in a group of friends or in a casual setting. Following those monotonous motions, they have “the talk.”

But not the “are we going to be boyfriend/girlfriend?” talk, but the “do we actually like each other?” talk. Once that is figured out, a couple goes on the first official date and then several after. Lastly, a couple has the talk of “are we official?” Assuming all goes well, someone puts it on Facebook, and the relationship is born.

So many steps and time pass that often a deep bond is created, for better or worse.

This is good because the couple has normally formed a friendship before the relationship starts. This could be really helpful when it comes to communication.

It’s also bad because the relationship might not be destined for that kind of relationship. Now that romantic feelings are involved, it’s hard to get them out of the mind. The couple could feel like they have already invested so much time and effort into the dating process, they have to be in a relationship with the other person.

In previous generations, it was socially acceptable to date more than one person at a time. Now if someone is talking to another person, many people deem it inappropriate to be talking to another.

It is important to date different people. It helps a person figure out what they really want or don’t want in a relationship.

Why has the culture of dating changed so much? One major influence in this change is social media.

So many college students and young adults turn to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get to know other people. To meet someone cute, the first thing someone probably does is “Facebook creep” them. People are not as comfortable going up to a person and talking to them to see if there is chemistry. They want to learn everything about the person first, then test the waters.

People are scared of rejection. They are scared that if they go up to someone and start a conversation, they will be judged and rejected.

News flash: Girls like it when a boy comes up to talk to them. We respect the effort and the guts. Also, girls appreciate it when a boy calls them, not just asks something over text.

So many times, especially in the South, college students believe they must meet their spouse at age 18 ,then date for several years and be married by age 22 or 23.

This is not always the case. If someone is lucky enough to find their spouse now, great for them. But if someone is 22 and still single, it is OK. College is not the only time to meet people.

My parents met several years after college on a blind date. After a less-than-perfect date, they tried a second to see if there was chemistry. They were engaged three months later have been happily married for almost 28 years.

It is OK to date around and get to know other people and yourself. It’s OK to be single.

Because let’s face it: Most girls aren’t a fan and neither are most boys. So be brave, go talk to someone, get to know them in person, and if they reject you or within the first couple dates is there is no chemistry, shake it off. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Haley Davis is a senior film and digital media major from Woodstock, Ga. She is a reporter for The Lariat.