No More Mystery: Gen-Y's Over-Availability Is Killing Our Dateability

by Alexia LaFata

I know, I know. We're all tired of those radical generalizations that criticize "this generation" for doing something stupid. The only people who don't hate them are our parents and grandparents who get to use them as ammo to talk about how dumb we are, which just ultimately gives us more reason to hate them.

But there's some truth to the ways people, like me, try to simplify Generation Y into one category of person. It's mainly because we're all lumped together on the Internet, specifically on the same two or three f*cking websites, and we're doing all of the exact same things and then complaining about the exact same things.

Being a member of Generation Y is like being a member of a weird secret club in which all kinds of implicit social rules apply. And no, I'm not even talking about in-person social rules; I'm talking about technological social rules.

We all seem to know you can't post more than one Instagram post in one day (unless you make a point to mention that you're doing it) and that your Snap story better not be too goddamn long. We've all agreed that who we are on social media doesn't reflect who we are in real life but instead reflects a carefully crafted persona of who we want to be in real life.

This is important knowledge to survive in the throes of Gen-Y. But it's absolutely killing our dateability.

I don't need to be a marketing specialist to tell you this generation relies on technology for literally everything. However, we're so blissfully unaware of the problems we're causing with technology that when the problems actually arise, it's too late.

For one, there are way too many ways we can be reached.

What began as having a telephone number to answer phone calls and text messages morphed into having an iPhone with a Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat app to answer wall posts, Facebook messages, Twitter mentions, Instagram replies, snaps and whatever the f*ck else we can be contacted through.

Even when I shut off my push notifications, I feel the impulsive need to check all of my social media accounts the second I wake up in the morning. Despite the fact that I've actively made myself less available, I'm still just as available as I was before.

We have a thousand avenues through which someone can contact us, and if someone doesn't respond to us promptly, we immediately wonder what is going on.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think a healthy amount of chase at the onset of dating someone is necessary. And because there are so many ways someone can contact me -- and even more so, because there are so many ways someone can tell if I'm ignoring his or her message -- it's impossible for me to remain aloof and mysterious.

The fact that Facebook Messenger displays the last time I was active on my account, to the minute, is troublesome. The fact that there's a goddamn read receipt option on my iMessages is troublesome. The fact that someone can see whether or not I've been active on Snapchat by either tracking the status of our best friend-ship (Do we have a yellow heart? Do we have a smiley face? Do we have a who f*cking cares?) or tracking my points to see if they've increased is troublesome.

I, like anyone else, have fallen victim to the plight of the "HE WAS ACTIVE ON FACEBOOK MESSENGER THREE MINUTES AGO BUT IGNORED MY TEXT MESSAGE" panic. I'm sure I've made someone panic like that, too. But the modern-day notion that I should be available for contact at every second of the day is absurd. And because of all the ways people can track my availability, they can see if I'm not answering them and then proceed to interpret that ignore however they want.

If, God forbid, I do want to ignore someone, then that person will know I ignored him or her, and then I am the one at fault. Suddenly, that person starts overanalyzing and making up excuses and thinking I don't like him or her anymore.

And all of this becomes amplified with dating.

But hey, dude-I-have-a-crush-on: I'm not actively ignoring you -- I'm just trying to be mysterious, dammit!

Just because I was active three minutes ago on Facebook and didn't answer your text doesn't mean I don't like you. It means I'm waiting for the appropriate amount of time to respond without coming across as a clingy loser.

It could also mean I'm just posting something to maintain a social media persona that I'd spent so much of my time crafting.

Since we have social media accounts on several social media platforms, all of which don't necessarily reflect exactly who we are in real life, our actual personality isn't fully realized. Who we are gets broken down into our Facebook persona (politically conscious?), our Twitter persona (quippy?), our Instagram persona (artistic?) and our Snapchat persona (funny?).

And this not our fault -- each social media platform is just used differently, and different aspects of our personality just naturally become highlighted on different platforms.

If a potential date reduces my personality to a single platform, he'll be closed-minded about who I am before he ever gets to know me. The overload of information about myself that I provide across several social media platforms simultaneously gives too much away and has the potential to reduce me to something I'm not.

The only way we can really prevent all of this from happening is to start a mass exodus from the Internet.

But since that probably won't ever happen, we'll all just have to accept that we'll be single forever.