Wednesday, June 26

The Quad: Put away your phone for something real this Valentine’s Day

(Georgia Perris/Daily Bruin)

(Georgia Perris/Daily Bruin)

I still don’t understand why Valentine’s Day is a thing. Yes, if you have a significant other it’s the one day of the whole year when you can be nauseatingly affectionate in public and get away with it. But for those that don’t have a special someone, it’s one day it’s excusable for you to channel your cold-hearted soul and be the bitter couch potato you really are.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

But in all honesty, what does love even mean in our generation anymore? From beginning to end, it seems as if it almost fully revolves around social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think social media is the devil’s spawn. It’s a convenient way for people to connect with each other and a great way to stay informed on what’s going on in our world. (How else would we find out about Trump’s executive orders?) I do think, however, that it further complicates the already complex relationships in our lives.

You think someone’s cute and add them on Facebook. You shoot them an innocent message, hoping to start a conversation, and one thing leads to another. Before you know it, you’re wallowing in your own well of misery and self-doubt. Did he respond at 11:58? Okay, then that means I have to wait at least until 12:03 to respond. Did he seriously just open my snap and not respond? He probably isn’t interested then. But he just liked my picture on Instagram. Why is he sending me mixed signals?

I’ve asked myself these questions and watched in awe as my friends repeat this process over and over again. Deep inside, I know we’re being dumb. But technology has taken hold of our generation’s lives in such a way that it controls our every thought and emotion. According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 90 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 29) use social media. A study conducted by Baylor University found that women students spend roughly 10 hours a day using their cell phones, while men spend about eight hours.

When we spend so much of our day using our phones, switching between texting and social media apps, you’d think we would be better at communication. But it turns out the very technology meant to connect us to each other is what’s actually breaking relationships.

People don’t know how to have honest conversations with each other in person anymore. Grabbing a cup of coffee with someone is now substituted with shooting each other a few good morning texts. Confronting someone about an issue face to face is now equivalent to a 140 character subtweet.

So if our main form of communicating with each other is through this 5-inch box in our hands, how can we expect to forge and maintain valuable relationships with the people in our lives? If we can’t work up the courage to speak to someone in real life and say “Hey, I like you,” then why are we being allowed to build up relationships on one, two or three weeks of “talking” to someone over text combined with a drunken hookup or two?

It shouldn’t be this way. Contrary to what that little voice in your head may try to tell you, just because he didn’t respond to your text right away, it doesn’t mean he’s not interested. In the same way, just because he liked your picture on Instagram, it doesn’t mean he’s going to ask you out.

Stop obsessing over the fake reality that our generation has created through technology. Instead, build your own version of reality in life. If you’ve been yearning to talk to someone, show it by having a conversation with them in person rather than through a text. We as smart, young adults need to stop ourselves from falling into this black hole of self-torture and remember that no, this Valentine’s Day, your phone and social media are not going to give birth to a relationship.


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