Spray paint on a wall in Trastevere, Italy. Tinder has an estimated 50 million users every month with an average of 12 million matches per day. DENIS BOCQUET/FLICKR VIA CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s unfortunate that most of our communication is through electronic devices. We use chats and posts on Facebook and Twitter. We share pictures and videos through Snapchat and Instagram. I can admit I am a victim of this, but luckily I was raised to learn how to approach someone in person as well. This has become a common trend that I feel causes my generation (the Z generation)  to forget or lack in-person communication skills. This lack of communication skills also impacts the dating world.

Humans are not objects. We have feelings and emotions. Whether male or female, we deserve to be approached in a proper and respectful manner if someone is romantically interested in us. I would rather be asked out on a date or for my number in person than online. We deserve more than a swipe right with a pick-up line about having sex or someone pretending to be interested in us when their account is to spam people.

Apps such as Match, eHarmony and Plenty of Fish allow people to meet online to see if they can find their true match. eHarmony states on its website, “eHarmony is committed to helping singles find love every day.” These apps, however, sometimes don’t match their intended purposes. I have seen cases where users create fake accounts to try and scam people for money. Also, everyone on these apps is looking for different types of relationships, whether it be casual or serious. The definition of these relationships should be the same for a couple, but people define relationships subjectively, which is why many can’t fully depend on these sites.

While the dating site Match.com caters more toward people ages 30 and over, my generation leans toward using the apps Tinder and Grindr, which have the same general purpose as the other apps. I have friends who have Tinder to either see who thinks they’re attractive or just to meet new friends. From my friends’ experiences, it is apparently rare to see someone in my generation on Tinder looking for a real relationship. Tinder states on its website, “Meet new and interesting people nearby.” Yes, the eHarmony statement mentions more about dating. But Tinder doesn’t advertise that it is a hookup-only site.  

I understand people want different things in romantic relationships. Plenty of Fish and other sites allow you to specify what you are looking for whether it is casual, open, serious or marriage. Some people might interpret open as friends with benefits while some might consider it as being committed to each other but sometimes seeing other people. Casual could mean a one-night stand or just looking for a friend. Serious and marriage generally have one definition and are the most sincere types of relationships. If they’re so serious, then why are people using websites instead of in-person conversations to look for these types of relationships? Many will have the excuse of “not having any luck,” but hiding behind a computer screen instead of going out to meet people lessens your chances. What if you’re not finding any people that appeal to you online but there are five people that appeal to you all at the same coffee shop or club?

Personally, I can’t stand when a guy tries sliding in my DMs saying hey or putting an emoji to start a conversation. If someone does message me, I do answer to not be rude. But if I see an ounce of disrespect, I immediately stop answering. Online messages can be pre-planned, while in person conversations are mostly on the spot unless rehearsed a number of times. This is why in-person conversation, and flirtation, is more meaningful than online.

Besides online dating sites, the Z generation has also been using social media to flirt. If someone doesn’t send a DM, they can comment on a photo saying cute or hot or a heart eye emoji showing interest. I may be overreacting, but if a guy uses emojis to show interest in me, it’s a little pathetic. It takes a few seconds to type a message. That shows you’re lazy or you don’t care enough. 

As much as I despise online dating, I have gone on a date before with someone who messaged me on Instagram. He wasn’t a psychopath or anything unusual, but that’s because I took the time to get to know him before I met him in person. People have the tendency to use these sites to catfish people, as all of the new technology to edit and enhance features on photos is increasing the number of catfish situations.

Dating in person over online is the bluntest way to date. When you meet someone in person, you see what they look like and get a good impression of their personality. From here, you can get their number and go on a date whether it be dinner and a movie or Netflix and chill. The Z generation specifically should practice this more, because we lack the communication skills that other generations have.

Because of online dating, I’ve noticed that boys look at me more as an object rather than as a human being. I am not worth an emoji or a corny message about my Hispanic background or photos on Instagram or Snapchat. I am worth an in-person conversation and possibly asked on a dinner date. If I eventually have to be forced to online date, at least have a conversation with me like I am a human being. Or, better yet, come start a relaxed conversation with me at Starbucks and see where it goes.

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