In not-at-all shocking news: dating has changed a lot over the years... even more so in the very recent years. It's hard to even pinpoint how dating has changed or when it changed so dramatically, because it's basically one big blur of left/right swiping, "hanging out", and a lot of "Netflix and chill" that made today's dating world truly possible.
Sometimes you can't help but be nostalgic for those earlier days, or more so earlier eras. Dating in the 90s certainly had its perks, but if you're a Millennial, that also means you were puppy love dating during that time — as in middle school and high school dating. Not that it didn't rock — who could forget the thrill of passing notes to your crush in class — but the era I miss dating in the most is the early 2000s.
Think about it, this was the time when the world was dipping their toes in the massive technology boom, but hadn't dived in head first yet. The time of pre-smartphone, pre-Twitter (and therefore "Twitter wars"), and when Facebook still required a college email address to sign up, and therefore had yet to fully taken over the internet with its staggering 1.5 billion users.
In other words, we still knew how to separate from technology. While in today's dating world, we pretty much rely on it in every way — and that's not always a good thing.
Not to mention, um, this is the time when Brad and Jen were still a happy little golden couple starring in incredible Friends episodes together. Just saying.
So even though they say never look back, I'm still doing it. Here are the early 2000s dating trends we need to bring back immediately.
1. Calling People
True story: When a guy I'm dating calls me, I actually freak out. As in, I think it's weird and something is wrong with him. That has got to be the saddest reality of all time. It's because in this day in age, it's a rarity to actually call someone on the phone to ask them out. But in the early 2000s, texting wasn't the main mode of communication it is today — in fact some phones didn't even do it yet. (Remember when you had to actually go on the internet on some phones to text? I do.) Texting, while it can be great for maintaining a relationship, when you're just starting out, it can add a lot of confusion, awkwardness, and mixed signals.
In the early 2000s, if you wanted to ask someone out, or even just see what they're doing, you had to pick up the phone and make the call. It made everything more personal from the get go.
2. Leaving Messages On Answering Machines
First of all, answering machines — remember those? Wow, they were great. The thrill of coming home to see if the light was blinking because you had a voice message from somebody was a thrill like no other. On the other side of the coin, the guy or girl leaving the message for his/her crush was chock full of fear and anxiety. Talk about true dedication!
People today barely even leave voicemails as it is, but if they do, they can always listen to it, decide they sound like an idiot, and re-record it as many times as they like. Or just delete it. Well, not when it was on one of those landline versions like it was in the early 2000s! The pressure was really on to leave a great message; plus, you could tell a lot about how someone felt about you just by their tone.
3. Burning A CD For Your One And Only
Mixed tapes are still the surest sign of true love there is — because timing that record button between radio commercials is taxing, and means you gives all the damns. But hopping on Limewire — early 2000s shout out! — and burning a CD for a guy or gal you're crushing on is still just plain romantic. Plus, you could totally decorate the outside of it and give it a cool name like "Summer Jamz To Warm Your Heart" (except "Heart" would be an actual hand-drawn heart, duh.)
4. Three-Way Calling Your Crush
The only bad — or, it's probably more of a good thing — about not having Facebook/Instagram in full-form is there was little to no way to online "stalk" your love interest. And even though three-way calling was more of a middle-school tactic, it's still an effective one nonetheless. For those of you who never took this extremely dangerous measure, it went like this: You and a friend call your crush. Crush does not know you're on the line. Friend then subtly asks crush if he/she likes you. You feel like you're going to throw up as you await his/her response.
5. Making Your Intentions Clear (Via MySpace)
MySpace edged out Facebook on its launch date, and even in widespread popularity during the early 2000s. Remember when you got to add a song to your page? Mine was Lupe Fiasco's "Sunshine", if anyone cares. But more pressing was your Top 8 friends (not counting Tom, he had to be there). As far as drama went in the early 2000s, this was the root of most of it. If you bumped a crush or friend out of your Top 8, it got heated. And it was clear where you stood. But if you added your crush to your Top 8, well.... it was so on.
6. Actually Knowing Your Relationship Status
Presenting the best part about dating in the early 2000s: far fewer mixed messages. Again, this roots back to technology. With dating apps and sites galore, it's a lot easier for your relationship to stay in a gray area, never really knowing what the hell you're doing or what you actually are. And in the early 2000s, blurred lines (of the metaphorical and Robin Thicke variety), just didn't exist. Or at least the former didn't exist as much because things like "the talk" just sort of happened naturally; it was far more black and white. Probably because we had just come off those handy "Check Yes / No /Maybe" notes from the 90s.
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