Friendship, Dating and the Impact of Social Media When Newly 21

by Gracie Crowley | March, 03 2016

Friendship, Dating and the Impact of Social Media When Newly 21 With No Idea How and Why Human Beings Do What They Do

I have been racking my brains for most of my adolescent and adult life trying to figure out why people do what they do. Why do girls turn on girls, why are boys are cruel to each other? Why are girls horrible to boys and why boys are horrible to girls? Why do people go around treating people like they are a mere spec of dirt on the bottom of their shoe? More baffling is how everybody thinks that this is okay, or how they can sit there and justify it.

I am newly 21, and by no means do I claim to know anything about life or this world – or even have any answers to most questions regarding anything. However I am puzzled by how effortlessly people throw things away nowadays.

Why do we spend so much time, effort, emotion, money, and thought on people only to toss it away? Or for the simple fact that some people genuinely like drama in their lives. Some people thrive off something to talk about, somebody to hate, and somebody to blame for little things that momentarily distract themselves from the unhappiness that is more than likely deeply rooted within themselves.

I cannot vouch for the male perspective, or even most of the female perspective. I am simply speaking for myself when I say that this generation is becoming lonelier. I’m watching it unfold for myself, for my friends, for the people I used to know and the people I just happen to see or be around each day.

Never before 2015 did I ever feel disposable, like a piece of garbage ready to be thrown to the wayside purely for something to do. It is sad for me to now admit that I know exactly how it feels.

People argue that we are never alone due to huge presence that social media now has in our lives. However I would argue until I could speak no more that it is social media that is making us more lonely and withdrawn. I would go so far as to say it even makes us more able to dispose of people in our lives.

In this age of ease most of us have become complacent about many things, I myself would be the first to raise my hand to admit this.
If you lose a friendship that has taken months to develop, that you’ve gained beautiful memories from, that’s okay – just go grab the next person to walk on by and repeat the process with them. Similarly if you lose a relationship, that’s fine too. Get blind and repetitively hook up with someone and turn that person into the same thing. It’s a different person though, and your friends will surely think you are cool. Or better yet, download Tinder. Because on that you can convince another person that you are genuinely interested in knowing them, even hanging out, getting to know each other, you might even get to sleep with them, but then throw them to the wayside and start it all over again with the simple swipe of your finger upon your smartphone screen.

But this is fine – because it doesn’t hurt you does it? You can go around and treat everybody however you want to, with no logical reasoning behind it. You answer to no one. You are totally in control. This is perfectly acceptable behavior because nobody else is going to tell you it’s wrong. In fact, most people will reward you. They’ll think you’re cool because obviously somebody who is able to treat others however they want, must have some sort of power surely? You’re strong; you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Because you’re not getting hurt, so what’s the harm?

Well, just from my lonely and probably unpopular perspective, this is what’s wrong with it.

I grew up thinking that friendships, like any relationship change. They grow, and people do make other friends. Our friendships go through hardships, and have ups and downs. You honestly can tell when a friendship is genuine, and if it is in fact genuine, then why would you throw that away? Are you insane? Work at it! Rough patches are a fundamental part of life; so naturally, all your relationships have these as well.

Don’t get me wrong I understand that people do change and this can potentially change the way your friendship functions. People can leave, to go traveling or move, wherever life takes them. Yet, what about those friendships we once had? The ones where you can go a couple of weeks, sometimes months without speaking because you have genuinely been busy. But when you do speak again, you understand because that’s simply a part of life but you’ll be there for them when they do come back because that is how a healthy friendship works.

However, if you’re willing to throw a friendship away for the sake of drama, for the sake of having something to talk about and gossip about. Then perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with the person you’ve thrown away and discarded from your life, but perhaps there is something wrong with you for thinking that a living, breathing human being can be objectified enough to be disposed of.

Relationships are something I am no expert on because I either run from them like they are Donald Trump trying to convince me that Iowa did in fact vote for him, or I screw them up so badly with my own insecurities that I end up in a mess that rivals that of Tony Abbott’s time as Prime Minister of Australia. (That isn’t even an exaggeration).

Yet right now and throughout our human history, relationships are something we are encouraged to have. It is commonly frowned upon if at this age we don’t have one. Family and friends constantly ask us, and it comes up as a topic of conversation when we first meet new people as well; it’s in the news, in all the movies, it’s a theme in all our music.
It’s become a fundamental part of humanity. It also happens that we live in an age with apps such as Tinder, where new single people are literally at our fingertips. We have Facebook and Instagram to see photos of past exes, to see photos of our friends relationships unfold, the list goes on and on and on, It eventually gets to a point for most where you simply cannot escape it, thus reaching a point where you start comparing yourself to what you are seeing.

However, dating at this age is something I do not recommend at all. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve given up for now, for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t actually want a relationship right now. But two, I actually fooled myself into believing that I could meet guys I could be friends with. I’m of the belief that, if I cannot first be friends with someone, I am sure as hell not going to think about hooking up with them, let alone date them.

I fooled myself into believing that I could meet a guy who would actually just want to hang out, get to know each other. Sure, sex happens. We’re only human after all and after a couple of red wines we all give in to that urge at one time or another. But by admitting that I do not want a serious relationship, I am fool enough to believe I can still be friends with that person. Still text, hang out, go see a concert, go see a movie, go do things with and enjoy another persons company for who that person is. Not what I can ‘get out’ of them, be that physical or materialistic.

My point, be it rather long winded and somewhat rambled, is that my generation needs to stop viewing each other as disposable. We need to treat each other as we ourselves want to be treated. Yes, that old saying from way back when has really stuck with me for the simple reason that it is very true. Perhaps then some boys won’t go around breaking girls hearts because they’ve had theirs broken. Perhaps they then won’t treat others as disposable because they themselves are so scared of being treated that way. Perhaps girls won’t play games and be manipulative, thus confusing the living daylights out of others. Perhaps it’ll save a boy or a girl, or any human being for that matter, gay, straight, asexual, from unhealthy thoughts that insinuate that there’s something wrong with them. That somebody who took the time to get to know them be that in a friendly or romantic sense simply cast them aside like they were an empty milk carton into the garbage bin. It could save them from the sad concluding moment that convinces them that this just simply is the way the world works, because it is not. This is not the way we as a society should be, and it certainly is not the example we should be setting for future generations.

We should respect each other as human beings enough that we give each other the time and care that we would want somebody to give us. We should respect each other enough as living beings, that we are honest and open with each other. We should see each other as beings that deserve friendship without expectations that we predetermine; we should live without mind games and emotional manipulation.

Yes we all get busy; people fight their own battles on a daily basis. However we all have that moment every couple of weeks where we are laying in bed scrolling Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or something on our phones. That’s the time I urge you to use to text your friend back, or better yet, call them and ask how they are. Just tell them you got busy. It’ll let them know that it is not their fault and they have not been cast aside.
That person you’ve been hanging out with for a while that you might like? Text first and ask how their day was, it doesn’t make you look desperate.
If you simply like that person as a friend, just text, call, whatever and be honest by all means, but simply be friends. Follow that person back on Instagram, go like your friend’s photos so they feel like you care what they’ve been up to, hit like on your old mates Facebook status. Change the power of social media from a game of popularity, immaturity and mind games to that which celebrates each other’s presence in life, online and in your life. After all you you took the time to get to know them, and you can never have enough good friends.

We all need to stop losing people from our lives due to our generation’s rather ridiculous social habits and standards. Wake up people, we deserve to be nice to each other again. Perhaps then we can all remember that we are in fact worth the time of day, and that not any single one of us is disposable.

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