Minus the City: Being There for Someone

The other night, after an exhausting week, I found myself watching the movie, That Awkward Moment, with a couple of my really good friends. I’m not a huge movie fan, but for some reason, this one really struck a chord within me. The movie follows three men living together in their mid-to-late twenties, and who each experience hardships in his respective romantic relationship. They all encounter “hookup culture” in various aspects, and each has his own unique path to relationship happiness. The character portrayed by Zac Efron meets a charming girl who he falls in love with, but he then completely ditches her out of his own fear of commitment. Later, when he tries to apologize and win her back, she tells him something that I think directly applies to Colgate hookup culture: “Being there for someone when they need you – that’s all relationships are.”

In my own experience, taking part in a casual dating environment is meant to leave you empowered and fulfilled. But what happens when you need someone in your life for support if you face a challenge in life? Can you rely on someone that you are casually hooking up with? 

In the movie, Ellie, (Zac’s love interest), loses her father suddenly. Needing emotional support can come after events like this, or events of less severity. The event can be as trivial as getting a bad grade on your Organic Chemistry exam, or getting into a fight with your roommate. Relationships are strengthened when you rely on someone else to support you when you feel like you’re falling apart. At Colgate, the casual relationships many people experience rarely produce that kind of support. We grow accustomed to limiting our feelings to not avoid attachment to someone we hook up with. We literally remove ourselves from our own emotions so we can avoid that level of commitment. 

So, when something in your life goes wrong, who do you turn to? Can we rely on our hookups for support after the night ends? I think it really all depends on our own vulnerability. Vulnerability requires us to share a side of ourselves with someone who has the complete potential to take our hearts and destroy them. Yet this same sense of vulnerability has the potential to bring two people closer together, and strengthen each of them individually as well. Humans were not made to be solitary creatures. Hiding your emotions from the people who you care about will destroy the little relationship that you have. 

But, what  if they just don’t care? Maybe you tried to open yourself up to your hookup, and you just aren’t a priority for them right now. Depending on what you want from any relationship, what you should do will vary. I know, for myself, if someone can’t handle me at my worst, then they don’t deserve me at my best. Some people here only care about hooking up, and that’s completely fine. But if that is the case, we need to accept the fact that  hookup will not be a source of comfort, understanding or support. Instead, look to the friendships you have made, or even some adult influences in your life. Everyone goes through points of struggle, and it is completely okay not to be okay. However, it’s not okay to feel like your life and your struggles are a burden to someone else – regardless of a hookup culture. 

Whether you’re looking for emotional support from the guy you’ve been casually hooking up with, your best friend, your parents or even your siblings, the point of any relationship is to be there for someone when they need you the most. Colgate has the ability to become very isolating, and it can seem like you shouldn’t talk to anyone about what’s going wrong in your life. Everyone around you looks super happy and content with their casual hookups that occur throughout the week. But, if someone can’t be there for you when you need them the most, then you have no form of a relationship with them. Rather than make excuses for that behavior, focus on the people who are there for you. I’m lucky enough to call some of the greatest people on this campus my closest friends. And I can honestly say, devoting my time and energy into those relationships, over fleeting casual hookups, makes me more satisfied than any one guy ever could. 

Contact Helen Misiewicz at [email protected].