Exeter, Devon UK • Sep 25, 2023 • VOL XII
Exeter, Devon UK • Sep 25, 2023 • VOL XII
Home Lifestyle The trials and tribulations of 21st Century dating

The trials and tribulations of 21st Century dating

5 mins read
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Is there any such thing as an “organic” relationship these days? With seemingly everyone on Tinder (or at least periodically re-downloading and deleting it again in disgust, don’t look at me), at least one friend per week seeking advice about what someone’s cryptic Facebook message means and a weird reticence from all directions to just sit down and talk candidly, how are any of us supposed to get on and develop any kind of meaningful connections? It seems like you can’t get involved with someone without also getting involved with their friends’ opinions, and with social media available to us at every turn, you can’t avoid reading into the tiniest things.

I can’t say I was QUITE as glued to Love Island as some of my friends whilst it was showing, but that may have only been down to not being able to access Channel 4 from Germany where I was studying abroad. I did, however, watch the highlights on Youtube every night and felt I was pretty up to date from those. I wasn’t necessarily invested, but there was something therapeutic about getting my laptop out in the evening for the messy but entertaining updates coming from the Love Island Villa every day.

I wasn’t necessarily invested, but there was something therapeutic about daily Love Island updates

But honestly? I can’t really say I was rooting for any of the entirely too chiselled looking types on the show, largely because the whole thing just seems so constructed. Sure, there are theoretically no influences from the outside world on the Villa’s inhabitants, but it makes for a very odd dynamic. More drama and relationship developments take place in just 24 hours than you would usually find over the space of a month in the average group of friends in the “real world”. And none of them last, do they? So really, how much of the whole “no outside influence” thing is realistic?

We might not like to admit it, but because social media has become such a big part of our lives, we naturally judge people we meet by how they behave through their public profiles and how they interact with others. In terms of the poor sods in the Love Island Villa (well, not so poor after all those Instagram sponsorship deals they get as soon as they leave – not to mention the club appearances. See you in Unit 1, guys!), they don’t get to see this side of their potential partner. Hence the often messy and unpleasant surprises they get when they’re finally released back into the outside world.

Distancing ourselves from other people’s opinions is more difficult than ever

Of course, you usually don’t have a whole nation on tenterhooks to see the result of a couple’s disagreement, even though it might sometimes feel like it. Distancing ourselves from other people’s opinions is more difficult than ever. It can feel like your every word and move is being observed, scrutinised and passed on – you’re no longer able to present yourself exactly the way you want just by how you interact with someone in person. We are, for better or for worse, judged for more than just how we look or behave in person.

There’s something to be said for just meeting someone the old-fashioned way, dating, getting to know someone slowly and developing a relationship. My younger self would extol the virtues of meeting someone “organically”, but I think it’s time we admit that it’s a bit naïve to consider it the only way to build a successful relationship. Quite honestly, we should just embrace what’s offered to us. Life, after all, is short. There’s no way we’re getting rid of social media – but if we’re self-aware about the influence it has on us, I don’t think it matters too much. Your perfect partner could be just the other side of that slightly questionable dating app. Or not?

Still, maybe modern-day fairy-tales can come true. Jack and Dani – we’re still rooting for you.


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