Hanging Out and Hooking Up – Is It Getting Old?
We live in a hook up culture. Like it or not, we do. You’ve likely read the news stories and blog posts discussing hooking up. Perhaps you’re experiencing it first hand. Dating has changed; some would say it’s gone altogether.
Gone are the days of waiting for someone to ask you out on a “date,” the back and forth, the wondering,
“Will he call?”
“Will she say yes?”
“Where should I take her?”
“What will we talk about?”
Technology and cultural changes have made it possible to bypass almost all the steps and go straight to sex. It’s easy now, maybe a little too easy. Less time involved in the preparation, less commitment, less risk of rejection. We understand that it appears fun and exciting. No fuss on where to go out, no vulnerability, no strings attached. But let’s dig deeper.
We have some questions we’d like to discuss openly and honestly because we care about you and your emotional and physical health.
What’s really going on with hooking up?
We’ve created a new status of “relationship” that aren’t relationships at all. The “un-date” or “non-date,” where he sends a text asking to “hang-out sometime,” is all too common. It’s an easy, low-risk way for a guy (or girl) to find an option for sex. An option, is that all you want to be? By participating, you’ve reinforced the culture and set expectations for yourself and for the guys in your life.
As we talk to women we find they often take part in hooking up because they think it is the only way to meet guys. And though they hook up often, they are hoping that it will lead to a boyfriend and the possibility of a long-term relationship. Can it happen? Sure, anything is possible. But does it? Rarely.
Often hook-ups are described as low-risk. Some think they help avoid the confusion and potential emotional pain that comes with real relationships. But have you considered that they are creating more problems for you?
What’s the downside of hooking up?
For one, you don’t get to experience intimacy. Deep down we all want to know and be known. And you miss out on getting to know someone, their favorite song, band, color, ice cream flavor, their hopes and fears. And you miss out on having someone know you, the real you, and loving you for it. All these things take time and effort and just aren’t possible if all you’re doing is hooking up. Why? Because when everything is physical, the conversations that foster relationships don’t usually happen. Expectations aren’t discussed and thus aren’t met. And the loneliness that often leads to hooking up in the first place grows deeper.
And then there is the health risk. You’ve seen the statistics that show 1-4 college students have a STI. We know you don’t think it can happen to you, but the odds say otherwise. That’s one of the reasons we’re adding STI testing to our services soon.
What’s a girl to do?
First, if you’re involved in hooking up, you need to ask yourself if you are enjoying it? Is this what you really want, or do you want more? We think you deserve more, but it has to be something you decide for yourself.
If you’ve decided you’re done playing the game, then it’s time for some changes and new boundaries. Quit answering texts about “getting together.” If he wants to spend time with you let him know he needs to make you a priority. Make him ask you out on an actual date, in person, with real words and a plan that he has for a fun evening out. No more texts like, “wanna hang out sometime this weekend – winky-face?” You need to be honest, set clear expectations and when you are together have real conversations. Spend some time getting to know him and let him get to know you. Go on an actual date.
Sometimes setting clear expectations lets the guy off the hook. We often hear girls say things like, “Well, he’s a guy, of course he wants this!” But does he? The culture has made it hard for guys to say no. What if he wants something more? He may want a meaningful relationship, but cultural expectations may have convinced him it’s impossible or not worth it. You’ll never know what possibilities are there for a relationship if you continue to play the hook up game.
What about the guys?
A final word to the guys reading this. Where are you in this mix? Sure, the hook up culture makes it easy to find sex. Is that all you want? Doesn’t it seem just a little selfish? Are you even considering her and her feelings? Her future? She’s probably going to be someone else’s wife someday. What if you treated her like you would want some other guy to treat your future wife? Would that change how you view hooking up? Maybe you’re ready for a change too. Here’s what you can do.
Yes, dating is different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from some of the “old ways.” If you’re looking for more from a relationship, show her she’s a priority. When you want to spend some time with her, ask her out. And by ask her out we mean for a specific day, at a specific time, to go to a specific place. Open doors for her. Talk to her. Listen to her. Get to know her. Find out what makes her tick, what makes her happy, and what breaks her heart. And then share those things about you with her. This is how relationships grow.
We said we wanted to discuss this with you and we mean it. We’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you’re single, you deal with the hook up culture daily. Share your thoughts or experiences and lets talk.