Since When Does "Whoever Cares Less, Wins"

As someone who has at times been labeled, “the emotional twin,” and believes that we should not be anxious about letting someone know how we feel, I often struggle with this rule that seems to permeate throughout college campuses: Whoever cares less, wins. I want to care; I want to let you know how I feel-whether I am hurt or happy; I want to see how you are feeling…but if I do, I take the risk of scaring you away. This rule of “whoever cares less” has made college life confusing for both men and women. It is no wonder that there are higher rates of depression and anxiety amongst college students than in the past; many of us have our real and authentic emotions bubbling up inside us.

I fully understand that the hook up culture has undeniably become a part of almost all college campuses. Whether we embrace it or not, the effects it has on our classmates and ourselves is well noticed. We can fully expose our bodies to a complete stranger, yet we cannot look them in the eyes and give them a simple “hey” without our cheeks turning a deep rose hue. Within this culture, we must accept that you can express no fears, no doubts, and no vulnerabilities. Does this mean we are willing to lose our authenticity for a one-night stand?

The rule of “whoever cares less, wins” is clearly understood, but the logistics within it are very blurry. We can text each other, but nothing too personal and not too many times. We can say hi to each other, but only after X number of drinks and after a set time at night on the weekends. Imagine this scenario and I am sure you have all experienced it yourself or know a friend who has experienced it: When the person you hooked up with the night before walks towards you in the dining hall, you try not to look excited... and maybe you even look away. And then when it comes to dating (if we ever get there), it always feels like the person who cares less ends up winning.

We take on a casual role with our friends as we talk about our hook ups over brunch. As excited as I know some might be, I see them hold in their true feelings when discussing the cutie they hooked up with because they are scared of what others may think. “Eh, it was ok” is often a response or “Who knows” is our common answer for if we are going to see them again.

What does this competition of "who cares less" create? I think it creates an even greater fear in all of us. We are terrified to get emotionally attached and be totally honest with someone because it goes against the rule and we may only be leading ourselves to pain. The problem is that this is completely ironic because: 1. We DO care. 2. Nobody likes playing this game.

What is going to happen when we get out of college and want to find someone to settle down with? Will we ever know what it truly means to care? Will we ever be able to fully expose our true, emotional self to another being and trust them?  I would like to think yes, but in order to achieve this we need to start caring. I am tired of people calling our generation apathetic when I have met people with so much passion here in college in other aspects of their life.

The hook up culture is going to continue; it happened before we came to college and will continue once we graduate…it is not new news. Casual sex happens, I know this and could even say for some it is liberating, but we have to make sure we are not seeking pleasure at the cost of our emotional authenticity.  It seems that being in a relationship is regressive and we must be independent in all aspects of our life to show we are progressive. Sure women once went to college to find a husband, and I do not agree with that, but then again I do not agree with the polar opposite I think some of us are leaning towards.

I wish I had answers or was empowered enough to tell everyone to start caring, but I know some will brush the message off. What I do want to encourage though is for you to take the first step, which is caring about yourself. When you start to really care about yourself and your emotional health, you will realize you are enough and you are worthy and maybe once you reach this realization, you will not want to compete for caring less anymore.

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