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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

When you first step onto Notre Dame’s campus, it feels large and overwhelming, but as you begin to meet new people it becomes small very quickly. Most Notre Dame students who are involved in the prominent hookup culture have experienced the dreaded and very awkward post hookup run-in on campus. They realize that the guy or girl they hooked up with at Feve last weekend is suddenly in three of their classes and is actually from the same Chicago suburb as their best friend and now hangs out around them all the time. The two will continue to exchange quiet awkward glances in class, and will speak to everyone in the group but each other when they go out. Why can’t these two simply talk and be friends?

Another common Notre Dame scenario is when that guy or girl who is in all of your classes, who you’ve studied with, given relationship advice to, and considered one of your best friends, suddenly tries to hook up with you while you two are working on your calculus homework together. What happened to the casual friendships with the opposite sex from high school?

The issue at Notre Dame is that poor gender relations don’t allow for friendships between members of the opposite sex and the hookup culture does not allow students to form real and healthy relationships with one another. Casual hook ups with little to no real interaction or conversation creates relationships that are devoid of meaning or respect. The next time these two people see each other they only view the other as an object of sexual desire instead of a real human being. When they forget to see this person as just like any of the other people they know, they become incapable of talking to them in the same manner and the hope for friendship dies. The only time it seems it is actually acceptable to talk to them is on the weekend, when it comes to seeing what party, bar, or event they are going to. This has to stop if there is any hope for us to have meaningful interactions across genders on campus.

Also at Notre Dame, it is somewhat uncommon to have casual non-intimate interactions across gender lines. In the dining halls you see large groups of guys eating together and large groups of girls eating together, but the two rarely mix unless on a DHD (dining hall date). Gender specific dorms further separate the two sexes and prevent much out of class interaction. In the personal experience of both my friends and I, even the guys who you meet in class and think are your friends are expecting something more. This is unfortunate because it is extremely valuable to develop a diverse group of friends who can provide you with different perspectives and opinions from your own and this lack of interaction prevents that.

As students we should want to fix this, not simply for our own sake and future relationships, but to help Notre Dame become a place where friendship and respect is thriving. As young adults we should be capable of having mature and casual interactions with a person of any gender, because once we leave we will be expected to do so regularly. So next time you see that guy or girl you hooked up with during sylly week, don’t be afraid to say hi. They are just like any other person on this campus.


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