According to many Gen X and baby boomer journalists and media personalities, the only thing millennials are good at is ruining stuff.
We’ve ruined the napkin industry, the bar soap industry and dozens of others. It has made me wonder: have millennials ruined dating as well? One of our authors has already talked about how millennials have revamped dating, but let’s explore this a bit further.
The Death of Random Conversation
You know those rom coms we grew up on? It fascinates me how, in virtually every movie, the protagonist and his or her love interest’s relationship is sparked by a random interaction. So many Hollywood story lines have been built on the passion that ignites when these two characters notice each other for the first time.
It fascinates me because I feel like those moments are becoming missed connections for our generation. We thrive when having random conversations with strangers on dating apps, but we are having less of these conversations with strangers IRL.
Does this mean that millennials have ruined dating?
I think “ruin” is a strong word – and that what happened with us is that society changed exponentially during our upbringing. This environment has made us different than our predecessors in some ways, and I think the normalization of online dating is a perfect example.
The majority of Gen X and baby boomers were initially phobic towards online dating. Millennials, on the other hand, didn’t have the same aversion. We grew up on the internet, so we are more willing to give online dating apps a try.
I would argue that our willingness to participate in online dating stemmed from a need we forgot how to meet: striking up a conversation with a stranger who is a member of the opposite sex. Since boomers and Gen Xers had to navigate their early dating years by actually having in-person conversations, they never forgot how to meet this need.
Instead of saying millennials ruined dating, I like to think that millennials have created a new version of dating: Dating 2.0.
Just like any update, it contains some bugs. Dating 2.0 has created the concept of catfishing, but it has also become the spark for countless relationships.
While I have used online dating to spark relationships, I don’t necessarily think it is better or worse than “traditional” dating. I think that it has shown its positive value, but it comes with an unwritten warning label: an app is not the only place to make a connection.
How did you first meet the person with whom you shared your last relationship? Let us know in the comment box below!