The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot for everyone. As going out on Friday nights has morphed into staying in with Netflix (and no chill), opportunities to socialize in person are slim, if not impossible. Let’s face it: Most of us are so used to staying in at this point, we find socializing and going out to be herculean tasks. This change has caused psychologists to worry that we’re being hit by not just the global pandemic, but a loneliness pandemic as well.

A recent Harvard study suggests that feelings of social isolation are on the rise, with older teens and younger adults hit the hardest. College students are normally at the age that’s supposed to be the “prime of their lives.” They’re biologically programmed to be at their highest social capacity at this age, and when such a group of individuals has no choice but to quarantine for the better part of a year, this takes a toll on their mental health. This is completely normal, even if you identify as an introvert. Feeling lonely is warranted, and a sadly common occurrence in today’s world. 

What’s important to keep in mind though, is that lonely people are easy to prey on. Americans lost $201 million to online romance scams in 2019, according to CNN — an almost 40 percent increase from the year before. Loneliness makes us vulnerable, and we cling to any glimmer of hope that companionship may be possible. 

This is where the Marriage Pact comes in. 

“50 questions. 10 minutes,” and the promise of getting you your best possible match.

It sounds extremely enticing — especially to a college student sitting all alone in their dorm on a Friday night. So what’s the harm? Isn’t it just a simple questionnaire? Isn’t it just a more sophisticated Tinder? 

Well, it probably isn’t all that bad — and I’m sure the Marriage Pact even connected many students with a good match! But what we really need to be asking ourselves is who gets to keep all of this personal information about us? With a questionnaire that goes into excruciating detail about everything from religious beliefs to kinks and fetishes, do we really want an anonymous person at the Marriage Pact to have all of this information? Probably not. 

This survey has made its appearance at numerous other schools, too, including Duke, Yale, Cornell, Tufts, and Columbia.

So, here’s the million dollar question: Do we really have to risk all of our personal data for the promise of a perfect on-campus companion? Definitely not, and there are much better ways to make new friends in these times of social distancing. Join a new club — you may meet someone you like at a GIM! Be more interactive in breakout rooms. They aren’t that bad. And if your most pressing concern is finding a date, I’d suggest that Tinder is a much better option than whatever the Marriage Pact actually is. Just because you’re lonely and single doesn’t mean you deserve to be targeted by the Marriage Pact. You definitely deserve much better!

 

Editor’s Note (3/8/21): At the request of Marriage Pact, a sentence claiming that Marriage Pact has not responded to inquiries about privacy was removed. You can read more about their privacy policy here.



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