The Bare Minimum: Social Media’s Role in Teen Relationships

Most teenagers know how today’s world works. We mostly create our relationships and friendships through social media, liking each others’ posts, commenting “miss you!” on an old friend’s picture we haven’t talked to in a long time, and every once in a while, updating our Facebook pages to share what we’ve been up to for our family members who live out of state.

But what happens when these “social media relationships” take over our lives? Parents know it’s already hard enough for teenagers to disconnect from their devices, and what if creating these relationships over our phones is making room for a deficit of genuine face-to-face conversation and instead, replacing this with “the bare minimum”?

With Tinder becoming the new for teens and Snapchat being utilized as the replacement for texting, I call these things “the bare minimum”, mostly because it takes little to no effort to swipe right on someone or Snapchat someone. It may be an honest effort to try and get to know someone, but truthfully, it doesn’t fully compare to a phone call or an actual date.

I may be old-fashioned, but it’s taken me a while to realize that the most successful and fulfilling relationships are the ones not back and forth through a phone screen.

I believe that’s why girls preach the quote “all talk and no action”, especially when it comes to forming relationships. It’s human nature to promise more than we can deliver, but when you really are interested in someone, it’s challenging not to fall for their words, even if there is no truth in them.

That’s why social media can become toxic because even if someone is interested in you, it takes zero effort to type something or swipe up on a Snapchat story. People view this as SUCH a huge deal, when in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not.

The value of face-to-face connections are still paramount, even though the world is rapidly evolving because of technology.

The workforce still puts high value in showing up to work, making connections, putting your phone down, and ensuring that employees are conversational in real life, not in a virtual reality.

Behind the facade of it all, teenagers (girls in particular) still desire this traditionalistic view of relationships. We want to be able to invest in another person with that time and energy reciprocated.

We don’t want it all to be through Snapchat or social media. Many teenagers can walk away from potential relationships with hurt feelings because of this “bare minimum” mindset in the people they are trying to pursue.

When one person feels as if the other person isn’t giving them any effort or time, it makes sense as to why many ultimately decide to walk away.

It’s a frustrating, endless cycle, and why I believe the majority of students at our high school are not in relationships. Sometimes it’s better not to settle for zero effort just because you are interested in someone.

It almost seems as if the effort to try and build an authentic, lasting relationship with someone who has this bare minimum outlook is harder work than the other person is even willing to put forth. It’s easier to just be your best self, alone, and not tied to any particular person.

Many wait until college to even consider a meaningful relationship with another person, and with good reason. We won’t be around the people we hung out with in high school after we graduate because most of us are finding universities that tailor to our individual needs.

I’ve always considered friendships and studies to be more important than relationships, but as a high school student, I understand the desire to meet new people and bond throughout our four years spent here.

Nowadays, when a friend explains they are having boy troubles, I already know it will be about “all talk and no action”. It’s a common, unfortunate situation that can only be solved by continuing to follow your own path, and not anyone else’s.

And luckily for me, I always have the perfect answer for the friends I hold close.

Written by Grayson Ruiz, Opinion and Lifestyle Editor

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