Starting as early as elementary school, I have been a serial monogamist. I rapidly develop those butterflies-in-the-pit-of-your stomach type of crushes for guy, and had them immediately reciprocated. I got what I wanted. Beyond that, I saw the guys I liked or my current boyfriends every day in class. I knew they were into me because I could read their faces. It was effortless and simple…until I reached my freshman year of college.
I began the school year in a long distance relationship, only to have it swiftly come to an end. After the breakup, I resolved to stay single for as long as possible. I wanted to become more independent, and I knew college was the best setting to do just that. But as I began to subconsciously look for my next love interest by talking to people when I went out and “bae watching” in the dining halls (I would literally scope out people), I soon found that being a serial monogamist was more ingrained in me than I knew. My only dilemma? I couldn’t get an accurate read on any guy because technology and social media obscured many of my interactions.
I originally thought one specific guy was uninterested in me. He sent simple texts by replying with a seemingly passive “Ok” to all of my messages. He also maintained an aloof façade, even when we grabbed dinner together. In the end, he actually turned out to be one of the most real and upfront people I had met that year.
In contrast, another guy I met (let’s call him “Snap Boy”) initially seemed sweet. He seriously confused me. Half of the time he seemed excited to talk to me. At other times he simply did not. And it’s all because of Snapchat. In the beginning of the year, I started talking to “Snap Boy,” through, you guessed it, the most popular selfie-sending app: Snapchat. I did not prefer this method of interaction. Instead, I yearned for direct, face-to-face communication, to decipher his feelings through his body language or eyes. But I didn’t always get this because at a school as highly populated as the University of Maryland, you don’t see the same people every day. At one point, we had a fairly solid Snapchat streak. He always responded, so he was into me, right?
Besides Snapchatting, we hung out in person only a few times. But when we did hang out, I could tell he was interested—or so I thought. Over time, however, more of our snaps became wordless, which left me feeling as though there was no point in communicating at all. We merely sent pictures of our faces to one another and tapped through them before they could vanish off of our screens. After I asked him what this all meant, he finally admitted he hadn’t felt interested in me for a while. I then broke our Snapchat streak, that intangible, false illusion of any sort of human interaction. And in that moment, though we never progressed to the “talking” stage, I broke my serial monogamist streak and my inner pursuit to find “the next one,” in addition to a Nicholas Sparks-movie type of romance.
Currently, I’ve been single for the longest time in over four years and I am loving every moment of it. I’m pushing myself to be fearless. I’m also taking chances academically, socially and creatively, such as writing for various publications on campus and joining a sorority. I’ve learned to be stronger in doing and saying what I want, all because of the time I’ve spent working on boosting my self-confidence and learning how to love all of my unique aspects that make me, me. Most importantly, I’ve discovered that since I’m spending the rest of my life with myself, despite who comes and goes, I have to really know who I am before I open myself up to someone else.
“Snap Boy” continued to snapchat me for who knows what reason. I kept Snapchatting him because I was interested. That, I learned, is the biggest flaw of social media: It means different things to different people. As a result of this Snapchat mishap, I now practice proper, AKA real, communication by being upfront about my feelings and cutting down on social media communication with the guys I talk to. I want to be open and straightforward in my relationships because I expect the same in return.
The next time I am in a relationship, it won’t be with someone who I have a 107-day Snapchat streak with. Nor will I pursue anything with someone who likes and comments on all of my Instagram pictures but avoids talking to me in real life. In a world where technology envelopes us, we forget how to interact like humans. We forget the authenticity and warmth that manifests from real, physical connections, with handshakes, hugs and eye contact. What a concept.
So, take my advice: Start a conversation, not a streak.