Study Reveals That Millennials Lack Relationship Skills And Confidence

Study Reveals That Millennials Lack Relationship Skills And Confidence

With the takeover of social media, millennials seem to be losing the ability to date as well as hold high self-esteem.
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These days, the word “millennial” has many negative connotations attached to it. This generation of young adults were born into a world of technology, social media, and speedy devices that can satisfy an array of needs in the palm of one’s hand. Many complain that the millennial generation has lost the ability to interact with others around them face to face. With apps like Tinder, Instagram, Facebook, and an array of other outlets, thousands of college students are able to swipe through and accept or deny other singles around them based on their physical appeal.

This information leads many to ask, “are millennials losing the ability to hold steady relationships?” Is our distance between one another, our isolation and lack of real conversation, diminishing dating? The college “hookup culture” is a major factor of social life on most campuses. If a student isn't browsing for a person to “talk to" through apps on their phone, they maybe instead drinking in a party setting to find a new hookup partner.

When many millennials do eventually find a person that might be worth trying a relationship with, many report getting stuck in a limbo often referred to as the “talking phase.” In this phase, one or both of the individuals in the relationship likes the other person but does not want to commit to them completely. In other words, they want to continue an emotional relationship but also have the ability to hookup with others. It seems as though millennials are not just lacking the ability to make real conversation and meet others through pure human interaction, but lack the desire to have a committed relationship. Does this speak for all millennials? Do we all want to run the other way when commitment comes around?

I wanted to learn more about how millennials were really feeling about relationships and dating. I surveyed over 200 college students, both male and female, ages 18 to 22. What I found suggested that millennials are in fact isolating themselves behind phone screens and finding it difficult to establish meaningful connections with others. 95 percent of students I surveyed reported that they find it difficult to find a relationship. When it comes to looking for a partner, the students' two most common methods were through social media apps like Tinder and Snapchat or by social events that involved drinking. 82 percent stated that they were okay with casual hookup partners and 95 percent felt that it was easier to talk to a possible partner when drunk.

What do all of these numbers suggest about millennials? On the surface, it seems as though we are uncommitted, unable to hold real conversations, and too reliant on our digital devices to guide us through life. And there is more...

Millennials may be relying on social media to misrepresent who they are in an effort to find a date. 89 percent of those surveyed said they used social media accounts to make themselves more attractive to possible partners. But how is this making them feel? When I asked how social media impacted these students emotionally, the most common responses were that social media made them feel “insecure,” “pressured to be perfect,” and “anxious.” And while many are casually hooking up, lacking emotional depth or connection, 75 percent of those that were single reported that they wished they could find a real relationship. Out of all surveyed, 95 percent said that their ideal situation in the future was a lifelong, committed relationship.

While these statistics do show that us millennials are not as commitment-phobic as many claim, we have other flaws that need fixing. It seems as though millennials are masking the desire for connection and relationships with quick fixes like drinking, social media interactions, and “no strings attached” relationships. We are filtering out our insecurities, posting for attention, and making thousands of followers think we are not alone. Instead of gathering together the courage to talk to the cute girl in our class, we are “swiping left and right” on Tinder based on a simple picture and short bio.

So how do we fix this? How do we stop making shallow, short judgements on someone that could actually have been “the one?” The answer is not easy but we can look to our older generations for some guidance. The video "Look Up" directed by Gary Turk delves into this problem.

Look at the amazing relationships that have come out of meeting people organically. We need to stop relying on “likes” and “matches” as a fuel for our self-esteem. Find passions that make you feel whole outside of a screen and engage in activities with like-minded groups of people that make you feel great as you are. Start dating (yes, I mean go out on a real date. Maybe to a movie, with just you two) instead of taking shots together in a crowded bar. The best relationships start as friendships, out of respect and trust, not over a Snapchat conversation.

Most importantly, stay true to yourself. If you keep coming up short with the same types of partners, try changing up your environment. If you have a hobby, look for others with that hobby. If you find yourself relying on the number of likes on a recent post for a mood booster, take a break from social media. If you spend too much time with your head down in a screen of apps and thousands of strangers online, try looking up before you miss out on someone great that just passed you by. We as a generation can do better when it comes to love, dating, and our own self happiness.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12190368/No-sex-please-were-teenagers.html

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.

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"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"

"Yep."

"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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After 365 Days Together, I Can Say For Sure: You're My Person

This year has been everything I needed and more. I love you very much.

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About a year ago, we lay in my bed on a rainy Sunday morning and I asked you when you were going to make me yours. We had a conversation about the things we expected out of this proposed relationship and the things we expected of each other. We promised to take our bond seriously and to honor it at all costs. We looked at each other, knowingly, as if we could both tell this was the start of something very special.

Well, babe, we weren't wrong.

This past year has been one for the books, to say the least. We traveled the country and witnessed some insanely beautiful moments together. We endured bad days and came out stronger on the other side. We grew as individuals, and we grew as a couple. Every day is better for me just by you being a part of it.

I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me. It's the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you have someone who will love you unconditionally, no questions asked. You make me feel so secure in myself and our relationship, which is all I've ever really wanted out of sharing my life with someone. Maybe I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure our chemistry is off the charts. I've never seen two people mesh together so well. I feel like we have this connection that's so rare and so precious, I can't believe we were lucky enough to find each other this young.

The future seems scary sometimes, and I'm not sure about a lot of it. I don't know what job I'll have as an adult. I don't know where I want to end up living for the rest of my life. I don't even know my work schedule for next week yet. There's only one thing I know for certain in my bones: no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing, I can't picture myself not being by your side. You make all situations better for me.

You're undoubtedly my person.

My dream for us is to always continue to keep living and loving this way, together. I hope we never lose this undeniable chemistry and our comfortability of just being around one another. I know as we age things may change, and we may not always be as exciting and adventurous as we are at 21, but as long as you're mine, I promise to love you a little bit more every single day. As we grow and learn individually, I hope to also grow and learn as a pair. I know it takes a lot to make a relationship last, but if anyone can do it, it's absolutely going to be us.

Happy one year, my love. This life is crazy and beautiful and I wouldn't want to experience one minute of it without you. Thank you for taking me as I am, and loving me so well. This year has been everything I needed and more. I love you very much.

- Zoë

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