Is “Netflix And Chill” Ruining Modern Dating? The Hook-Up Trend Isn’t All Bad

Is “Netflix And Chill” Ruining Modern Dating? The Hook-Up Trend Isn’t All Bad ©iStock/PeopleImages

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, isolated from all forms of communication, you’re probably aware that “Netflix and chill” is a real thing — and a popular one, at that. The new term for hooking up has inspired everything from priceless memes and hilarious tweets to serious discussions about the future of dating and modern romance.

For the hopeless romantics among us, “Netflix and chill” is just another sign that real dating (like, actually asking someone out and going somewhere that doesn’t include a steady stream of Nashville has gone the way of the dinosaurs. However, the casual dating trend that the term embodies isn’t bad.

Here are a few reasons why “Netflix and chill” is actually kind of awesome:

  1. More comfortable clothing options. One of my favourite moments in the movie Clueless is when Cher finally admits that sometimes she has way more fun hanging out on the sofa with Josh than going out because “all [her] party clothes are really binding.” Like Cher, I’m super busy, and when it’s time to relax, I’d much rather do it next to a mid-’90s era Paul Rudd-type while wearing my favorite pair of leggings. Just saying. “Netflix and chill” also means never having to wear Spanx and a bandage dress, only to arrive and realize that your date is wearing shredded jorts and a pair of ratty flip flops (true story).
  2. It’s easier to fit into your lifestyle.  Let’s face it — maintaining a healthy, satisfying relationship takes time and energy. Although many of us see finding a long-term relationship as our end goal, immediate hardcore commitment isn’t always realistic. When you’re young and starting out, work schedules can be ridiculously hectic, totally erratic, or a combination of both. When you’re really busy pursuing your dreams, sometimes keeping things casual is just easier. I discovered this last year when I got involved in my own “Netflix and chill” type situation and found the arrangement strangely satisfying. There’s something incredibly honest and efficient about being able to text someone and say, “Hey, do you want to watch True Detective and bone later? I’ll bring wine.” Which, brings me to my last point…
  3. It’s the best of both worlds. Back-to-back episodes of Narcos and sex? Yes, please. In its most literal meaning, “Netflix and chill” really is the best of both worlds. Last year, while having drinks with a friend, I actually told her, “I just want to find someone that I can have great sex with and then watch TV.” Enter: “Netflix and chill.” Pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of HBO? I’ll take both, please.

Although the perks of “Netflix and chill”” are many, it’s not all sunshine, roses, and reruns of Louie. For the commitment-phobes out there, the trend is like your dating holy grail. However, if you’re actually looking to date and find a serious relationship, today’s overly casual approach to dating can be utterly soul crushing.

I think the biggest downfall of “Netflix and chill” is that it’s resulted in people thinking it’s OK to not put in any effort — that it’s OK to just expect other people to want to hook up and nothing more. They think it’s OK to forgo romance and making the other person feel special, and that it’s OK to not expect more from the people you date. And you know what? That kind of sucks.

While wearing those comfy leggings is nice, “Netflix and chill” also means that you might end up “dating” a guy who prefers Aziz Ansari stand up specials and sex than ever leaving the house and calling you his girlfriend (also a true story). While both of those things are awesome on their own (Aziz and regular boning), this kind of scenario is not satisfying long-term.

The casual hook-up trend is definitely a means to an end, but I don’t think we should see it as the end. Real dating is only dead if we let it be. If you want more than TV, takeout, and sex, you have the power to press pause, so to speak, and go explore romantic options that actually make your heart feel good. That episode of Louie will be waiting for you when you get back. Promise.

Simone is a freelance writer and author of the sexy and irreverent blog Skinny Dip. When she's not writing her heart out, she loves wandering her city with a large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.