My friend Suz and I have been having a very amusing exchange this past fortnight – but today it turned a bit sinister.
You see, she’s made a new friend. She met him through work, so at first had a totally legit reason to text him. Then she had to send him a big file, so used WhatsApp. She started following his Instagram account and he sent her a Facebook friend request.
Now she has to see him at a work event and she’s nervous. He hasn’t replied to her last WhatsApp message even though she can see when he was last active and actually he viewed her Instagram story and tagged her in a Facebook post so she isn’t being a keen bean but then she has instigated the last two conversations and OH MY GOD why is she even questioning it?!
Considering we’re both in our 30s and happily married with kids, we are clearly on this battlefield unarmed.
I ran this past a much younger, single friend and she guffawed.
“Yeah and wait til you add in snapchat!” she groaned.
She met her last boyfriend on Tinder, swapped actual mobile numbers, chatted on Whatsapp became Facebook friends and then, when they finally met for a drink, knew absolutely everything about each other.
“I knew what his last girlfriend looked like, when they’d split up, who’d helped him through it and who they were dating,” she said.
“I was so tempted to ask whether Gary was still with Lucy cos they’d been so nice to him last September – it was crazy having that much background.”
She was very dismissive of her best friend’s ex who frequently liked her Instagram stories but didn’t actually follow her.
“I mean the guy is looking her up manually to check her stories – what a weirdo,” she said witheringly.
Apparently she and her friends have standard messages they’ve created to send out a) if a date is going badly so they can be rescued or b) if the guy needs to be let down gently. Two of the girls have similar tastes so their rule is if they progress from Tinder to Whatsapp they send each other his profile pic to check the other isn’t messaging him too.
Yep. My brain just exploded.
I worry for the future of the human race if this is how we’re mating.
“Oh god no, it’s so much fun!” this young friend corrected me.
“I’m meeting people way outside my circle and a lot of them end up friends. You can feel very powerful while you’re playing the game and you’re always out. Plus, you know, I get bored easily,” she said.
And there’s the nub of the matter.
These millennials are crippled by choice and distracted like children. As painful as it is to be ghosted (that chat that abruptly ends, usually before a date or after a shag) there are plenty more people to swipe left on. Or is it right?
I’m too scared to find out.