A nice dinner and some boxed chocolates make up the classic Valentine’s Day, but in the busy stage of life that college students have, sometimes a Skype date just has to do.
For Senior Laura Selvey and her boyfriend of more than three years, Peter Self, this is the case. This is the first time in a while that the two have been apart because Self has recently moved to Kansas to pursue his Ph.D.
“For Valentine’s Day, we will probably just Skype each other like we do every other night,” Selvey said.
She doesn’t expect flowers or any grand gesture since they have been together for so long, but Skype has turned into the key to keeping this couple close on celebrations like this, as it has for countless other young couples dealing with distance.
“I’ve tried to do long distance relationships before and they never worked,” Selvey said. “So it definitely helps.”
Young adults, like Selvey, have learned to communicate digitally as well as they have in any other way. For many, the closest to writing a love letter they have ever gotten is one of
those elementary school notes that asked the nerve-racking question; “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”
In a world where Facebook pokes and “sexting” have become the norms of flirting, it would seem that young adults find it suitable to communicate everything digitally. Many students said were against the V-Day proposal via technology because it simply wasn’t romantic or personal enough. Men and women alike said they wanted more words and more thought put into the special day, even if they didn’t know the person that well.
Professor Samantha Phillips teaches an English class at the University of Miami entitled “Relationships in the Digital Age,” that discusses how romantic communication has changed since the mid 90s. Though she praises the opportunities that technology has offered, especially in communication, she sees where students could want more.
“Students aren’t oblivious, they are aware that some of this communication isn’t so great,” Phillips said. “And they see that it can be lonely, impersonal and, sometimes, even sad. People use technology to avoid awkward situations like eye contact or saying hi and the person not responding. It’s a security blanket. They have a reliance on it and that’s easier than facing rejection, which is completely understandable.”
For long-distance relationships, Phillips agrees that they have a better chance at survival with new technologies like Skype available, but as far as Valentine’s Day isconcerned, she says there are better ways to go about asking someone out.
“It better be a really good text at the very least,” Phillips said with a laugh.
Young adults may claim that texting works just fine, Facebook is the ideal way to connect people, and e-mail is just plain convenient, but when it comes to asking someone to be your Valentine channel your inner first-grader and try a box of cut-out cartoon cards instead.
Rebecca Lattanzio may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.