With each passing generation, relationship behaviours that people project are changing drastically. In today’s era, social media and dating apps play a very important role in shaping the relationships we choose to be in. It has become so much easier now to meet and greet new people with the availability of platforms that are meant for this very purpose. But despite the relative ease of engagement, the changing times have brought in new dating behaviours, which make it difficult for millennials to maintain relationships.
Under-graduate student Rojan Varghese says, “Having our feelings defined or our decisions being labelled really screws over with our thought process. It’s like if I’m busy and I cannot call my girlfriend for two days, then it is automatically termed as ‘ghosting’. But it’s simply that I was just busy with work and that’s it.” Tagging actions this way adds a lot of pressure on the emotions.
Dating behaviours are getting more and more creatively called out. If you return after ghosting a person for a long time, it’s known as zombie-ing! Another dating behaviour that is similarly documented is ‘bird boxing’. Coined after the famous Netflix movie Bird Box, it defines the behaviour of someone who is so blindly in love that they do not pay attention to their partner’s faults or bad behaviour. Talking about how relationships these days are being affected by such trends and behaviours, Manasi Pawar, a recent graduate says, “The dating scene in India has been Westernised and people now find it easy to just date a person for some days and then move on to another. These trends are just some fancy words. They’re not shaping the dating scenario in India, but destroying it.”
Other dating behaviours like ‘bread crumbing’ and ‘kitten fishing’ are concepts that makes a millennial question his or her relationship. In the dating world, when a person leaves hints that he/ she is interested in someone but doesn’t really feel that way, it is known as bread crumbing. On the other hand, kitten fishing is the millennial’s low-key version of cat-fishing, where someone exaggerates their own qualities, both physical and mental. Abhishek Badigar, engaged in a chartered accountancy article-ship, talks from experience, “I have been subjected to kitten-fishing behaviour, as they so unnecessarily call it. I think everyone has experienced that at least once. But just because a person applies filters to their pictures on an Instagram post, it does not become a behavioural pattern. If that were true, all celebrities would have to be called out for kitten fishing!” He points out, “Everything becomes trendy these days and that’s only because of social media. But with dating trends, your mentality and your behaviour towards your loved one is what is being affected. That’s the worst kind of influence.”
Talking about how labelling these dating behaviours affects the millennial mind, psychologist Tabinda Arif Sdq explains, “First of all, the sanctity of a serious relationship is affected by dating apps as they set unrealistically high standards for dating. I recently had a 22-year-old client, who said he is unable to find a serious relationship because the dating apps gave him so many options that he kept jumping from one relationship to another and is now in need of help. It is the effect of the app that the boy turned out to be this disturbed. So, putting him into a category influenced by urban dictionaries is misleading because the issue is completely misinterpreted. People aren’t able to express their personality because they are being stereotypically tagged by these terms.”