Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Cost of Having a Social Life

Dating in 2023 ain't cheap!

According to a new article in Business Insider, young people are forgoing dating because of the costs involved.

One New York City teacher told Insider that she spends upwards of $200 a month on dates. This might even seem moderately conservative to some who are particularly determined to find a partner. Dinner and drinks multiple times a month can easily run you hundreds of dollars. Unless your plan is to take your dates out for $1.00 pizza (which is now at least $1.50, thanks to inflation) and perhaps a quick stroll around the park, you ought to be prepared to dish over a pretty penny. 

What's more, some dating apps have begun to dramatically up their rates. Tinder, for instance, has launched a confoundedly expensive $500 a month VIP plan that offers users exclusive features, like the ability to direct message people who you didn't match with. In other words, you now will have the ability to creepily pester someone who most likely swiped left on you. 

Because of the steep price tag of dating in 2023, some are choosing to throw in the towel and focus their efforts elsewhere. Finding platonic friends, for instance, proves far more reliable. Respondents told Insider that they are "putting more effort into friendships and nonromantic social events to combat loneliness." Though, even that has hasn't proven to be a cake-walk for socially timid zoomers. It was comedian Owen Benjamin who very astutely compared Gen-Z to house cats, who are mortified of the outside world and the inevitable social interaction that goes along with it. That is why Bumble launched Bumble BFF, an app for making friends! What kind of world do we live in where phone apps are needed to facilitate platonic friendships? I miss the halcyon days of organic interaction! 

But, no matter the cost, people do in fact need each other. To live alone and friendless is but an early death. Prisoners who commit heinous crimes are subjected to solitary confinement, where they are deprived of all social interaction for 23 hours of the day. These people go mad. The worst thing you could do to someone is to strip them of their innate desire for socialization. 

I'm reminded of this British program I once stumbled upon, In Solitary: The Anti-Social Experiment, where participants are tasked with living in little cell-like cubby-holes for days on end. I bet you can guess what happened: they all went mad. 

Here's a snippet:

The woman in the comically big frames said something that I thought was rather profound. She explained that Lloyd, one of the show's four participants, was "hibernating". Eureka! That's it! We, as a nation, have entered into a state of social hibernation. Brilliant!

But how do we wake up?


  1. Social media in general has destroyed social interactions. Young people do not communicate organically with one another anymore- even in social settings like clubs or otherwise. Just 15-20 years ago, people showed up to local bars or enjoyed live music/museums or festivals or any setting really and it would not have been uncommon for strangers to strike up a conversation. Today, everyone sticks to "who they know". In America, we are polarized and divided politically more so than any other period in the history of the country. They say social media and technology has made the world more "interconnected" and that may very well be true, but the price has been the destruction of local communities and close knit social groups, communication norms, and a degrading of quality socialization at institutions/communal settings of historic interaction.

    Dating costs are just reflective of the harsh reality that America is no longer the land of opportunity and prosperity. Inflation has crushed the already struggling middle class which has been shrinking for years. This is just another symptom of a failing hyper capitalist society based around global economics that only helps the rich and wealthy a at the expense of ordinary workers.

  2. I don't disagree, my friend! Political polarization, in particular, has been problematic. Decades ago, there were plenty of inter-political marriages. People simply didn't care all that much! But now, there is an increasing number of people who wouldn't dare date someone of the opposite political affiliation. Many liberal women, for instance, would never date a Trump supporter. I saw this in a Pew study.

    And technology has certainly played a detrimental role too. On my daily commute to work, I see young and old people alike with their heads buried in their phones, doing God knows what. It's a sad reality...

    But I don't think we are doomed. The fact of the matter is that people still yearn for social connection. That is why they are willing to dish over hundreds of dollars a month! We will come together again. Give it time.

  3. The problems associated with social isolation are well documented. Durkheim discusses "anomie", a separation or lack of cohesion to social institutions, and its dire consequences for the individual. We know the problem (and getting worse with technology). Any conjecture on solutions?