first date
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Currently, you may be emotionally unavailable for a relationship, not ready for anything serious or focusing on bettering yourself. However, if any of those reasons apply to you and you’re participating in hookup culture, it’s more likely you’re debilitated by your own self-criticism and fear of being rejected.

People with high self-esteem have self-worth that is superficially anchored and highly vulnerable to challenge, which makes them quick to engage in self-protective and self-enhancing strategies, according to a study published in An International Journal for the Advancement of Psychological Theory. The study concluded that mindfulness is associated with self-esteem that is higher, more stable and less contingent.

Everyone has an ego, some more fragile than others; common symptoms of a fragile ego are destructive, debilitating and rude behavior in an effort to preserve superficially anchored self-worth.

Though self-criticism is necessary for growth, it becomes a slippery slope of self loathing when it’s not done constructively or forms an obsession. When you don’t love yourself, you are incapable of loving anyone else.

Tinder and other forms of social media aid in hookup culture, especially on college campuses. Yet, the frailty of our egos and need for instant gratification is why it flourishes. The best way to protect a precious ego is to avoid rejection completely. If you’re confident in yourself and can pick yourself up by the bootstraps when life doesn’t go your way, rejection is just another bump in the road. Nonetheless, if your ego and self-confidence depend on acceptance, rejection must be avoided. Rejection will almost always form a bruise, but bruises heal quickly if you’re otherwise healthy.

The thought of approaching a girl at the coffee shop and asking her to lunch is comically nerve racking to many young people. Meanwhile, walking up to a girl in a dimly lit bar and grinding genitals on her while using slurred speech is an acceptable form of courtship — this is odd.

The hookup culture cycle continues as a merry-go-round of disappointment to protect egos and feed the need for instant gratification. The insistence of quick reward doesn’t stop at our Amazon Prime membership, it leaks into our relationships and how we form them.

Hookup culture seems like the perfect fix for avoiding monogamy and rejection, but it quickly sends mental health and sexual satisfaction to the back burner. Donna Freitas interviewed several college students about hookup culture in her book “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.” She found many students, as a consequence of hookup culture, are unable to create real and valuable connections.

To buy into hook up culture, you have to opt out of monogamy. So, not only are you buying into a culture that’ll lead to unhappiness, you’re spending time forming relationships that don’t matter, inhibiting your ability to form significant relationships. Freitas’ students said they wanted sex that was healthier on an emotional, physical and spiritual level and that was meaningful, special and sacred.

The easiest route to getting what you want is usually the least constructive, and a one-night stand is no exception. There shouldn’t be pride in how easy we can replace others and how uninvolved we are emotionally. We shouldn't be proud of emotionally traumatizing people who genuinely care and want to be involved in your life.

Every human being is deserving of more than the typical three day a week, 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. sexual partner. Nothing about these relationships are romantic, fulfilling or constructive.

You’re never too cool to like someone. This “too cool” attitude is a symptom of a frail ego, too fearful of rejection to engage and a thirst for instant gratification so great it has destroyed patience and self-control.

Hookup culture is childish, sadistic and downright scary. The ability to view another human being as nothing more than a resource for temporary satisfaction and happiness is sociopathic. Yet this behavior is accepted, then fueled by cultural norms such as bar hopping, binge drinking and swiping right.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony,” Mahatma Gandhi said. As long as you say you want to meet someone the old fashioned way but continue to be emotionally unavailable, happiness will be but a fleeting notion.

Breanna Smith is a 21-year-old Mass Communication senior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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