Dating in a Digital Age: A Tradeoff Between Likes and Love


Sivaragha Buddana '22

Social media only shows the good side of relationships.

Adorned with candid photographs of picnic dates and candlelight dinners and inspirational quotes about soulmates from hopeful “singles,” social media during the month of February is a breeding ground for disappointment and overcompensation. For most couples, Valentine’s Day is a reminder to appreciate their significant other and to reminisce over the memories they’ve made together. People in relationships often use social media to showcase intimate moments with their partners as well as express their appreciation for them, but this often leaves people on the other side of the screen craving the connections they see online. Teenagers especially reported social media being a substantial pillar of their relationships as they quote Instagram and Snapchat as the birthing place of “meet-cutes” and awkward talking stages. The pressures and unrealistic expectations of social media corrupt blossoming relationships.

Oblivious to the fake personas broadcasted on social media, young users struggle to break out of the mold constructed by influencers and even other students. It proves difficult for students to remember that these platforms are not an accurate representation of social media influencers’ lives. Sanjana Ramesh ‘24, said, “I definitely do compare myself to people on social media constantly and it got progressively worse as the year went on when we were all virtual,” she continues, “not being able to go outside constantly gave me a lot of time to look at social media and compare myself. I had a major case of FOMO.” When people look to social media to compensate for areas in their life, they feel that it often results in an infatuation with this false reality. Essentially, this perpetual fear of falling behind their peers bears a heavy burden on their relationships, forcing exclusivity and intimacy that has not yet been created. 

Ms. Alexandra Van De Wetering, a spirited Spanish teacher here at Edison High School, views high school relationships with fondness and nostalgia, but some students like Sky Byun ‘24 view them with more scorn than desire. Byun voices her complaints: “It’s bad enough they are so obnoxious with the PDA in the hallways, but they feel the need to flood my for you page with couple-selfies on a weekly basis… They are like roadblocks both in real life and online. Obstacles you need to avoid to get on with your day,” she finishes off with a laugh. Accordingly, teenagers feel the need to assert the validity of their relationship through PDA and frequently posting their significant other on social media, for media pushes the narrative that they must date to fit in or fulfill the “proper” high school experience. 

Social media during the month of February is a breeding ground for disappointment and overcompensation

Thus, the struggle to balance an internet presence and a healthy romantic relationship persists for students of EHS as relationships act as a deceivingly easy outlet for students’ stress. Social media acts as a double-edged sword as it is an irreplaceable tool for connection, but is also the source of miscommunication and negative comparison in relationships as students barter moments with their loved ones for peer validation.