What is love? Baby don’t DM me

By Maddie Dickman, Staff Writer

I’m willing to bet most of us have shared the following experience: You see a cute face, you learn their name and the next thing you know, you’ve fallen down a social media rabbit hole and somehow landed on their middle school Instagram page. While this seems to have become the 21st century modern romance trope, I’d like to reflect on the days of uncertain romance in the ‘90s.  

When thinking about dating in today’s tech-driven era, I recently found myself in a deep discussion with friends about the perks of developing a relationship without social media. 

It occurred after a good friend of mine finally worked up the courage to approach a cute guy in the Raising Cane’s parking lot. After contemplating her strategy and receiving a peptalk, she walked over to his car and simply asked for his number the old-fashioned way.  

While we celebrated her courageous accomplishment, she immediately stated how she wished she could do a social media stalk on him but did not know his last name. 

This got me thinking: Why would she want to know everything about him before truly getting to talk to him in a setting more romantic than the Raising Cane’s parking lot?  

Before the time of swiping right and sliding into someone’s direct messages, hopeful romantics had to form long-winded plans of conveniently running into a crush while eating a Cinnabon in the mall food court. Potentially an even worse nightmare for the younger generations is the thought of once having to call someone’s landline, only for your hot crush’s mom to answer the phone.  

While many would argue that romance has come a long way with the development of technology and social media, I long for the mystery and suspense that once accompanied young romance. I would be lying if I said I have never done a deep dive into a crush’s social media, but I often find myself instantly regretting it.  

While social media is meant to show off the “best version” of someone, it also often paints a false reality. More than once, this social media deep dive has let me down in face-to-face conversations, allowing me to see that the person I saw through my iPhone screen is far different in real life. 

Even worse, I have found myself turned off by something somebody has posted or been tagged in, leading me to unconsciously carry bias into our in-person conversations. That poor person never stood a chance at capturing my heart because their number one artist of the year in 2021 was Juice WRLD.   

I know that I am not alone in the hunt to find romance amid a seemingly tech-driven world, but I need to remind myself that working on removing the presence of social media in relationships can be rewarding. 

While I understand the idea of adding someone on Snapchat is much more convenient than walking up to that cutie you’ve been eyeing in your seminar, I think that being open to the idea of love without doing the whole “social media stalk” could be refreshing for almost everyone. I know that I would love to have someone come up to me and ask for my number the old-fashioned way rather than seeing another DM notification pop-up on Instagram.  

Maybe I’m just old-school in my thinking, but I genuinely think that removing the barrier of a social media false reality in getting to know someone would make a world of difference. 

So, the next time that you have a date planned and you walk into the room knowing where this person went to high school, how many siblings they have and the fact that their Snapscore is 156,798, I challenge you to try to forget all of that and focus on building a relationship that is centered around spending physical time together. Even better, go into the date blind! You may just find that this person you have fallen for is completely different on social media. And spoiler alert, that’s OK!