21st century love. Tinder. Apps. Texting. Sexting. Hookup culture. ‘Chivalry is dead.’ Online dating. Internet communication. Instant messaging. Instant gratification.
There’s the list. All the ways contemporary dating has changed from what it used to be. How our relationships have become quicker, more selfish, more connected yet emotionally disconnected. It’s awful, right? That’s what we all complain about. That’s what we all worry about.
We get so caught up in the stupid, self-imposed rules.
We make things more complicated.
We give confusing signals instead of being honest with our feelings.
We mix up ‘dating’ with ‘talking’ and ‘talking’ with ‘being official’ and spin ourselves around until we have no idea what to label our relationships anymore.
And we’re afraid to feel.
But I’m tired of being told how much our world sucks. I’m sick of reading how the way we date is f*cked and we’re never going to find real love. I don’t buy it.
Sure, we have things to figure out. And sure, we need to start really opening up to each other instead of hiding behind phone screens and online profiles. But the way we date, the way we love isn’t completely screwed.
I refuse to believe that there’s no hope for our world.
I refuse to believe that no one knows how to really care about people.
I refuse to believe that I’ll never find love.
And I refuse to believe that the every single person I encounter is only looking for something surface-level, for a hookup, for a meaningless connection driven by ‘Netflix and chill’ or casual ‘hanging out.’
No. I don’t buy it.
Call me crazy, but I truly believe there are people that want the same things as me—relationships that matter, intellectual conversations, dates and laughter, nights spent doing things together rather than just doing it.
There has to be people that want more than one-night stands. There has to be people who find their significant others by having face-to-face conversations at the coffee shop, at the beach, at the gas station, at the grocery store.
There has to be people that still believe in love because I know I do.
And I know I’m not alone.
So yes, we can all sit and complain that the hookup culture sucks, that online dating sucks, that apps and social media profiles and texting sucks. But that’s not all there is.
There are conversations over coffee, laughter shared on a walk, stories and thoughts to pick from a person’s brain—if they let you, and if you let them discover you in return.
There are people to fall for and fall into.
There are thousands of memories and moments to share…IF we trust in people, IF we give into love, IF we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and forget the stupid rules and boxes we’ve built around our hearts.
Here’s the thing about the world we live in: We don’t have to buy into what we don’t want to.
We don’t have to be shallow and surfacey, don’t have to hide behind an online persona or a 140 character dating profile description. We’re more than that.
We don’t have to settle for ‘hanging out’ instead of dating, for ‘talking’ instead of something meaningful.
We don’t have to buy into a culture that says we’re all f*cked because we’re not.
We just have to navigate. We just have to hold onto our faith. We just have to keep moving forward, keep believing in love, keep giving people credit. Because there are good people out there, there are men and women who want the same things, who are fumbling and stumbling around, trying to figure themselves out, hoping they’re not alone.
The dating world might be a little messed up at times, might look a lot different than the generations before us, might not shine and sparkle like the love of our grandparents—but we’re still beautiful people.
And love is still a complicated, wonderful thing.
So promise me one thing—that you won’t give up on it.
Because I won’t either.