“Netflix and Chill” is Keeping us Single

Posted on Posted in Dear Diary

First off I want to say that I am happily in a relationship and the guy I am with is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I wrote this piece last year for a school assignment in my argumentative writing class. I was 20 and single and feeling as if the odds were against me. Even though I’m no longer 20 and single I still believe the ideas in this piece are relevant.

I chose to format my argument as a letter written to my mom. I believe that the topic is very current and a real issue that college aged kids face and I thought that writing a letter to my mom would help connect my argument to my personal experiences with this topic. A letter written to my mom is also a lot more casual than an academic paper which helps people relate to it on a higher level. As I was doing this assignment I tried to incorporate the tone and word choice I would use if I were to actually send this off to my mom. Everyone has been asked about the relationships in their life at least once, in my case the topic comes up every holiday season and so this is a way to explain to them how the dating culture has evolved since their day. More specifically my mom was the best choice of audience for this letter because I am very close with her and actually talk to her about these issues I face. I don’t often talk about the boy troubles in my life to my grandparents, aunts or uncles so even though they ask I wouldn’t want to share the details of the hookup culture with them. My goal of the argument was to combine the thoughts of outside sources with my own beliefs and experiences to get people to begin and think about how technology might be effecting their own lives.


Dear Mom,

I’m dreading this holiday season! Every year when the whole family gathers together, I am bound to be asked about the boys in my life, and then questioned further as to why I’m still single. It’s really uncomfortable. Every year the aunts ask the same questions, thinking or rather hoping my answer changes, but it never does. It’s a valid question. When Grandma was my age she was married. All of your siblings, including yourself, met the one they were going to marry by the time they were twenty-one. That is less than two years away for me!

Mom, to be truthful times have changed and people don’t really date anymore. The traditional dinner and then go to a drive-in movie has turned into “Netflix and chill.”  And no Mom, that is not where you grab the popcorn, watch a movie and just hang out.

When I left home and came to Cal Poly I wasn’t expecting the dating scene to be so dehumanized and engulfed in a culture that has been socially warped by technology. We go to the library, where we are surrounded by books yet work on computers. We walk around campus with our head phones in looking down at our phones, oblivious of the world around us. We pass by people we’ve never talked to but know their life story because we follow them on social media. We text instead of talk. We prioritize the technology in our lives. But most of all, technology has propelled a culture where we keep things casual and don’t commit.

I remember the stories you and Grandma used to tell about picnics in the park and trips to the zoo. How the guy would pick you up at your front door with flowers in his hand. How you would have such a fun day, but had to remember to be home before curfew. That’s what I want, but man is that far from what’s available! First, it’s rare for any form of social interaction to even begin before nine! And with texting being so immediate you don’t have to plan anything.  Asking someone to hang out last minute is common. That’s another thing, the phrase “hanging out” has come to replace the word dating. When we hang out to watch a movie there is no communication, no way to test out their character or personality.

At a party when someone is flirting with me the conversations are all surface level.  It’s generally how good you look, then proceed to ask you back to their place with the expectation that before there is time to talk in the morning you are out the door. It’s frustrating! People don’t ever spend time getting to know the thoughts and beliefs of anyone they’re with. That is the world I am dealing with! How am I supposed to find a lasting relationship or any type of connection for that matter if all our interactions are unplanned and have no intimate meaning?

Since coming to college I haven’t ever gotten ready for a real date, but I’ve spent a good amount of time making sure I looked perfect to just hang out with a guy. This new form of dating is so broad and last minute. From my own experiences and those of my friends, when we do hang out with a guy often times we don’t go to dinner or spend any time talking. More often then not we’ll be invited over to “Netflix and chill”.  You may as well know that’s code for hooking up and can range from just kissing to sex and anything in between. Even the definition of what we are doing with one another is vague!

I’m tired of the craze of everyone judging everything purely based on appearances, the visual. I thought college was supposed to be a time where you find out who you are and what you like and make your best friends that will last a lifetime. But that is not at all what I’ve come to find. I’ve found the most superficial and judgmental environment and it’s all because of everyone’s obsession with social media. In the world of social media everything is critiqued and approval is translated with how many likes you get. I believe that social media has generated an atmosphere where looks are everything, which isn’t a good base because photoshop and filters are everywhere now.  Sure, appearances have always been a factor, but it has escalated greatly since you were figuring out the dating scene.  It shows up especially strong in our current hookup culture, reinforced by meeting apps like Tinder.

I’m noticing how everything in life can be looked at as a game, where there is generally a winner and a loser. That is hard to grasp at first but hang in there with me. All of my peers and I were the first generation to have access to computers in our homes. It was awesome because I could come home from school and play my favorite computer games like “putt putt saves the zoo” or “backyard baseball”. These were the go to games when I was in elementary school. As we passed through the school system and technology made its advancements video games become very realistic. It started off with “sims” and with the latest X box games we were put in the game right along side other characters. These games have carried over into real life and our interactions with one another.

Texting has become a game where whoever cares less wins. Every text sent is perfectly sculpted where it matters how long it is, how many emojis are used and how long one should wait to reply. A whole bunch of mind games is what it is! Social media is a game of how many likes you get and if a certain somebody liked a certain picture.

Back in your day one would have to pick up the phone to ask their crush out on a date. This takes planning as well as courage. Now all one has to do is send a quick text or Facebook message. Many believe that it takes out the charm and care of dating. Others believe that texting is safer as rejection is less harsh. For me, I think that texting the guy you like takes just as much courage as talking to him because with messaging there is the chance he won’t reply at all.  Face to face conversations at least pushes that you’ll get an answer. Texting doesn’t necessarily take out the charm, but often it leaves you trying to find a deeper meaning to a text. This goes back to the games of it all. For me personally I don’t want to type out how I feel to then get a three word response in return. In that case I would have felt as if I had lost.

While that’s how texting may work with someone I like, it is completely different with someone who is just trying to hook up with me. That is when all the charm is taken away. When I first downloaded the Tinder app I was amused at the array of pickup lines people used.  Some were really creative, but after a while reality kicked in and it became disgusting.  Mom you’d be shocked at what communication and interaction have come to. These apps open up the availability to treat others with less respect and more as an object. I would not like my future spouse talking to me in that way! But others believe that it’s okay on these types of apps because they don’t go there for anything more than to meet people and have care free fun. Which I think is a bummer because when you have the mind set of only having hookups it eliminates the possibility of anything greater coming of the situation.

The idea of hooking up has become just another game too. When you get a match on Tinder it literally pops up asking if you want to message them or to keep playing. Indicating that the more matches you get the better you’re doing. My friends are all over Tinder, comparing who matched with attractive people and who has met up with more. Hooking up makes it so there is not a clear loser. The idea behind it is that you don’t have to show any vulnerabilities or emotions when hooking up because by keeping it casual and less invested you can’t have heartbreak.

I understand that back in your day people hooked up and participated in casual relationships as well.  It probably wasn’t as spoken about, but Tinder and other similar apps have blown up the hook up culture making it more accessible and accepted. People will tell you that they don’t have time for a relationship.That’s just another way of saying that they don’t want to commit but are okay with continuing to hook up casually. They get the sex without the emotions. That is one thing that Tinder is able to supply. Tinder opens you up to thousands of options and there is always another person you can swipe on. This means that you never have to commit to just one because there is always the possibility of a better one coming along. And who wants to miss such an opportunity? When you have all these options, why choose?

Believe me Mom, as much as you want me to have a boyfriend, I want me to have one even more! I was raised watching Disney movies and playing dress up in your wedding dress. I believe in love and want romance. That’s hard to find now a days because of how technology has become so engrained in our brains and reflected in our behaviors. The hookup culture amongst college campuses have been brought forth by the habits we have developed since we were young. Whether that be how we’ve become so appearance set that we forget that personality and values matter, or because there are now endless options that there is no point in choosing just one. Although I still believe in the happily ever after it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now.

Lots of Love,



Work Cited:

Bogle, Kathleen A. Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus. New York: New York University Press, Jan 2008. Web. <http://site.ebrary.com/lib/calpoly/reader.action?docID=10300405>

Campbell, Murray. “Tinder isn’t just for dating – it’s also a game”. The DePaulia. 8 February 2015. Web. 2 December 2015. < http://depauliaonline.com/artslife/2015/02/08/tinder-dating-its-also-a-game/>

Del Salto, Alexandra. “Fishing for Love.” University Wire, 10 Nov. 2014. ProQuest, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. <http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/docview/1622187383?accountid=10362>

Dellner, Tom. “Technology’s Impact on Social Relationships-The Data May Surprise You!.” calsouthern.edu. California Southern University. 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.calsouthern.edu/content/articles/technology-impact-on-social-relationships-surprising-data/>

Dockterman, Eliana. “Why the ‘Hookup Generation’ Does Not Need to Learn How to Date”. time.com, 20 May 2014, p71. Time. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Oct 2015. <http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=d1048ccf-b331-4c63-a065-ab61700c30f9%40sessionmgr4003&crlhashurl=login.aspx%253fdirect%253dtrue%2526hid%253d4108%2526AN%253d96136056%2526db%253daph%2526site%253dehost-live&hid=4210&vid=0&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=96136056&db=aph>

Generation Like. Dir. Douglas Rushkoff. Frontline, 2014. Online. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/>

Hare, Breeanna. “How technology has Changed Romance.” CNN. Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. < http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/12/tech/web/tech-romance-evolution/ >

Harris, Sarah. “Facebook and Twitter are creating a vain generation of self-obsessed people with child-like need for feedback, warns top scientist.” Daily Mail. 30 July 2011. Web. 4 December 2015. < http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2020378/Facebook-Twitter-creating-vain-generation-self-obsessed-people.html >

Katz, Jennifer and Schneider. “Casual Hook Up Sex During the First Year of College: Prospective Associations with Attitudes About Sex and Love Relationships.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 Oct. 2013. Vol. 42 Issue 8 p1451-1462. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=6c670c87-71c2-4d82-a737-db3d47df3a02%40sessionmgr4004&hid=4210&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=92593378&db=aph>

Liberman, Charlotte. “Why College Dating Is So Messed Up?” Cosmopolitan. Hearst Corporation. 10 February 2014. Web. 15 October 2015. <http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a5585/college-dating-screwed-up/>.

Ross, Winston. “You’re 100% Wrong About Tinder”. Newsweek Global. 18 September 2015: Vol. 165 Issue 10, p69-69. EBSCO. Web. 17 October 2015. <http://www.newsweek.com/2015/09/18/youre-100-percent-wrong-about-tinder-369058.html>

Stampler, Laura. “The New Dating Game.” time.com, 17 Feb. 2014. p40. Time. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=26b0cb21-72ab-4543-aaa8-dca527994a01%40sessionmgr114&hid=114&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=94317888&db=aph>

Turkle, Sherry. “Connected, but alone?.” Speech. TED Talk. TED Talk, Feb 2012. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together?language=en#t-1169018>

Williams, Alex. “The End of Courtship”. New York Times. 11 January 2013. Web. 15 October 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/fashion/the-end-of-courtship.html?_r=1>

Zimmerman, Jonathan. “Sexual assault on campus and the curse of the hookup culture”. Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. 7 May 2014. Web. 15 October 2015. <http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-adv-zimmerman-sexual-assault-college-hookups-20140508-story.html>.

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46 thoughts on ““Netflix and Chill” is Keeping us Single

  1. I’m part of the single life clan (whaddup!) and yes, I think I do spend too much time on technology. You and your partner look beautiful by the way. Stay happy!

  2. I agree! It has made dating so hard for me because expectations are so unrealistic, after all you can’t expect people to be perfect. I am single and finding dating difficult but nevertheless I wont give up. It is nice that you have found someone now x

  3. Gosh dating is so damn hard these days. I’ve been single for 2 years and am slowly pushing 30 where I’m like damn I should probably meet someone about now haha. However I’m also nomadic and move every 3-6 months which makes dating even harder!

  4. I like how you posted your works cited, I’m an English Writing tutor so that’s what makes me smile haha. What you wrote is totally true though! I am in a relationship but I see my friends constantly struggle in this culture of quick and careless sessions of “hanging out”.

  5. I definitely agree that dating in college has changed! I especially noticed it because I went to a really big school where “Netflix and chill” was definitely the norm and few people really dated, whereas my brother went to a tiny college and he’s always complaining about how nobody is single. I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition. I decided it’s because, at my big school, everybody spreads out after graduation so you don’t want to be in a relationship unless you *really* like that person haha.

  6. I’m single and find dating so hard now a days. The rise of the hook up apps and culture almost makes me want to give up looking.

  7. Gosh dating is so difficult these days! I have been married since the age of 23, twice married, but I wouldn’t know how to date in today’s society!

  8. I’ve been there too, and can so relate to your post. In my late 30s I found myself single. Putting a toe into the world of dating was such a bummer for so many of the reasons you described. So I simply stopped. A couple of months later I met my now-husband at our downtown soup kitchen and we’ve been together ever since. The reality is .. there are good men out there. Men who don’t play games, and are kind. Stay true to who you are and I promise you .. Mr Right will come along. x

  9. I do think social media can be both a great thing for dating, widening your net and connecting you to people you’d never have spoken to but it can also be bad as people always think there’s so many more people out there so don’t want to commit x

  10. I’m a singleton just about to hit her 30s, and really despise dating these days. When I was 18-19, it was so different, Facebook wasn’t a thing and you couldn’t stalk or Google a potential partner. Social Media and technology has taken all the mystery out of dating (and meeting people) 🙁 x

  11. Hm. Well, I see your point. Although it’s ironic I’m reading this on a computer. I’ve been married for years. There are people out there who are real and worth your time, and I’m glad you found someone.

  12. I didn’t know that technology really change the mindset of people about dating until I read this post. This is a voice that reminds us how important it is to value someone from what lies inside rather than the appearance alone.

  13. I am getting to 20, still single, never dated don’t know why I don’t feel the odds are against me maybe because I’m still busy with school work, technology and the rest of it all… what matters is being with someone you find love and happiness in.
    Stay happy

  14. I am not single but from friends who are, they say nowadays it is so hard to date and one now has to be lucky to find a great partner. Love your pic.

  15. Very honest post, lol, I never went on a date 🙂 I just got married, Times have changed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  16. I’ve noticed such a shift in people over the years I’ve been out traveling the world. Yes, even as a backpacker i can walk into a hostel and see people not talking to each other but with their heads down in their phones. I’m guilty of this too but even meeting people, instead of approaching somebody, people would rather swipe left or right on Tinder first.

  17. Hi! this is exactly how I feel. every holiday when the family meet up I get asked the same question ‘do you have a boyfriend yet?’. it’s exhausting, especially when all my relatives were either married or had long term relationships by my age – so it feels like i’m letting them down! you’re right about technology changing the dynamics of dating and finding a boyfriend – I think it has rather ruined it! I believe in the old fashioned kind of dating – getting to know each other face to face, finding out each others likes and dislikes, spending days together and not just over the phone! I too grew up with Disney princess but also with literature – my fave book being Pride and Prejudice. So I’m looking for that charming Mr Darcy figure who would love me for me and not how many likes I have, or how popular I am or even about my looks! This is a really insightful post. thanks for sharing!

  18. Great post! I love how you explained it how you wrote it. I couldn’t agree more about dating – it seems to be a whirlwind of Netflix and chill which I just don’t like! My partner and I make a conscious effort to avoid that and to plan actual dates but it’s not always easy.

  19. Dating really is so hard nowadays, I’m not even interested in looking for someone right now! As unrealistic as it is, I’m still a believer that love happens under mysterious circumstances and when I won’t be hoping/looking out for it. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  20. I understand how you feel. Nowadays, relationships are so shallow. It seems like everyone is walking around with a different persona everyday. I have talked with my children about this, about getting into relationships. I told them that they should be just who they are and not pretend to be someone else just to impress. If the other party likes them, then good! If not, that’s fine.

  21. My friends and I often have conversations about this topic. Nowadays it almost seems impossible to meet someone who has the same outlook on relationships and life in general. Just two days ago my cousin actually got asked if she wanted to “Netflix & Chill” with a guy she JUST met. I dont know but these things make me sad and f*@&ing livid all at once. Why does it have to be so hard?!

  22. I love how this article has a references page. Well written post. It’s really difficult to find someone these days who is serious about relationships as there are too much fake relationships. But I’m glad I have a supportive boyfriend and glad you have one too!

  23. This is a very true post, Sierra. Texting has made life very impersonal, but I think it is social media in a whole that has disconnected us with the illusion of a connection. I would be on FB the same way you looked at the Tinder site and first thought the interactions were cool, then I realized that there is no sincerity in much online. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. I remember when we had to pick up the phone too. Now, many homes don’t even have phones and some people use Facebook as their main line of communication. Life is a process and at times can also be a game. Thanks for sharing

  24. You covered a lot of issues that hinder developing meaningful, engaged and real relationships in our world today. It affects people of all ages and we just have to find other ways to connect…. patience is key.

  25. First of, you guys look very cute together! I think technology can be a good thing when it is use the right way, as resource to helps us find new ways to do things. However, it has definitely taken some of the humanity away from a lot of people. Everyone it’s so concern about pics and sharing things online just to look cool or to get attention. Sometimes people forget that having a connection or spending time with our loved ones in the moment is better than spending time online sharing a pic.

  26. Nice writeup with showing how technology has deeply impacted our life. Some people are doing engagements and other ceremonies on net which shows how busy we are.

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