Nothing says romance like a Facebook notification from that special someone.
Half of all American teens have expressed romantic interest through Facebook or another social media site, according to the Pew Research Center. But beyond prodding the friendly, and possibly meaningless, blue buttons on Facebook, students also swipe right, send effortless posed selfies and text for hours.
“Texting and being able to talk to each other over the phone is a luxury,” senior Talia Salazar said, speaking of her relationship with senior Ryan Solnordal.
The two use technology often, texting throughout the day, using FaceTime and Snapchat and talking on the phone every evening, besides seeing each other nearly every day in person. In fact, the two first began to know each other through a group text message created by a mutual friend.
“Since it is my first year at MHS, I didn’t know his name or what he looked like, I thought he was this other guy, so I was friendzoning him really hard for a couple weeks,” Salazar said.
Eventually, Salazar clarified her misconception after asking Solnordal for the homework for a class that he was not in. When she figured out who Solnordal actually was, the two started talking, texting and later dating.
Freshman Kevin Judd texts his girlfriend sophomore Kate Gross-Whitaker a couple times a day, but few of these texts actually constitute conversation. Usually, the texts are quick, asking where a person is or planning where they will meet.
“[Without technology] I don’t think our relationship would be that much different,” Judd said. “But I think our relationship is fairly weird in terms that we don’t use technology to communicate that often, but I think it would affect most relationships.”
A relationship that a lack of technology would have certainly affected is one that senior Sydney Boxer used to have with an ex-boyfriend who lives in New Jersey. During the time they were together, he visited around once a month, and when he was not in California, the two Skyped or FaceTimed nearly every day in the beginning of the relationship.
“Skyping did not approach what is was like in person, it worked, but a lot of being with someone is a physical aspect, I don’t literally mean physically, but just like being around someone and their vibe and their kind of charisma they kind of have or whatever,” Boxer said. “We can have humor through a screen and jokes, but it is not the same thing.”
After meeting on a month-long service trip, the two decided to date over text, although Boxer would have preferred to have him ask her out in person, she said. But despite technology allowing their relationship to exist, the added existence of social media is part of what Boxer disliked about the relationship.
“When you are with each other everyday, you have to be straight with each other. On media, you can stalk someone on like Instagram and you can find out stuff that you don’t know, that you didn’t want to know but found out anyways,” Boxer said.
Technology wasn’t the only cause of Boxer and her boyfriend’s break-up, although it is the vehicle in which conflict sometimes appeared.
Both Boxer and her boyfriend had mixed-gender friend groups and would make posts on Instagram with their friends of opposite genders.
While Boxer’s intentions were platonic, there was conflict between the two over pictures she had posted with her male friends.
“But he would do the same thing and he knew that hurt me because it made me feel uncomfortable because I didn’t know his intentions, so it was that kind of stuff,” Boxer said.
Besides social media, Boxer cited cultural differences which informed both on how to act towards each other and in the world thinks that it would have been easier if they both lived in California because they would have been more similar. Boxer warns against a long distance relationship.