Why We Suck at Dating in College

Whether you’re a jaded senior who has seen just about every kind of relationship two people can have, or a newbie freshman who is secretly (or openly) proud of their BC Makeouts debut, there is no doubt many college students have participated in drunken hookups they might even regret. Maybe it was the guy whose name got lost in a mixture of Pink Lemonade Rubinoff and the chorus of "Timber." Perhaps, your initiation into the Boston College hookup culture was the girl you awkwardly see in math class every day or the person who texts you from Thursday through Saturday between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Either way, most of us have been in the gray areas of the uncommitted life before.

We are repeatedly told through the media and society that college is a time of “sexcapades” and drunken nights you don’t remember. With groups like I’m Shmacked and television shows like Blue Mountain State sculpting our expectations, students learn that college is about sex and drinking. On a more immediate level, if BC Makeouts hasn’t made it abundantly clear, students are constantly reminded of the “hookup culture” running rampant in steamy mods and various bars.

It all has the same message: Don’t date.

The hesitance toward college dating does not necessarily lie in the fact that students participate in the undefined, uncommitted hookup culture. Rather, students try desperately to seem like they don’t care and actively flee from emotional contact. The time spent pretending not to seem needy, decoding emojis, and playing the “who cares less” game is preventing college students from forming relationships with people who could potentially teach them more about themselves. Moreover, the hookup culture seems like an easy excuse to be rude and treat people with disregard without having to worry about a follow up. But it only seems to lead to students spending  far too much time micromanaging responses and overanalyzing communications.

“Has he texted you today?”

“No…but he Snapchatted me!”

Megan Flynn / Gavel Media

Megan Flynn / Gavel Media

“She texted me the smirking emoji. She definitely wants to date me.”

“I’m going to wait an hour before I respond so I don’t seem overeager.”

We should not necessarily seek to change BC from a hookup culture to a find-your-soul mate culture. However, we should strive to prevent the hookup culture from defining how we interact with people. Nobody deserves to be treated like the homework assignment you never gave a second thought to.

Participating in the hookup culture is one thing, but how students handle themselves after the fact is entirely another. Don’t assume that people want to date you. Don’t expect everyone you hook up with to turn into a romance that began in a sweaty Mod. It is polite to respond to a text naturally, instead of trying to seem aloof and use as few words as possible. And for the record, nobody wins the “who cares less” game. Nobody. It doesn’t give you power or control; it just fills your inbox with meaningless conversation. Despite the fact that we can now communicate through four different media at once, what we say seems to be increasingly insignificant and more cryptic.

At the end of the day, some people don’t want commitment because they just aren’t into it. Others are perpetually hopeful and looking for someone to love them. Both sides have pros and cons but neither should be only viewed as negative. It’s all part of the experimentation that comes with college life.

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