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Busola Adedire: The Dating Culture of “Generation Y”



Anyone who knows me can attest to my love for Lauryn Hill and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill remains one of my favourite albums till date. In the album, there is a song titled ‘Everything is everything’ I quote some of the lyrics below:

‘Everything is everything, what is meant to be will be’… /I wrote these words/ for everyone who struggles in their youth/Who won’t accept deception, instead of what is truth/It seems we lose the game/ before we even start to play/Who made these rules? / We’re so confused/Easily led astray.

These words struck something inside of me. It reminds me of my generation, the microwave generation which has rewritten the rules of dating and relationship. Dating in this generation is one of the most complicated concepts ever. Just like the John Legend song ‘everybody knows that, nobody really knows how to make it work’. But I also reckon it is complicated because we have made it so.

We have adopted a lot of modern terms such as talking, hooking up, seeing someone, friends with benefits, booty call and baby mama today. Even more recently phrases like ‘in an open relationship’ and ‘it is complicated’ as relationship statuses are emerging. Just to give a bit more insight, I came across an informal online survey conducted on some college students about these modern day terms.

Hooking Up:  The most ambiguous term used by Generation Yers. It means anything from making out to sexual intercourse. Generally agreed: hooking up requires no commitment.

Friends With Benefits: Friends who hook up without emotions attached. “People like friends with benefits because they are sexually frustrated and lonely, and it’s an easy way to satisfy that frustration without having to romantically like the person,” said Emily.

Boyfriend/Girlfriend: Exclusivity with someone sexually and emotionally, putting a title on a relationship and being committed. “Once Nick and I made each other our ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend,’ we were 100 percent exclusive and told other people about each other,” Sara said.

Together with someone: Hooking up exclusively with this person without a title, generally seen as avoiding the final step of commitment. However, some people see it as “hooking up and probably having sex, but not exclusive” or “exclusive, but no love yet.”

Seeing Each Other: Described by the Gen Y as “casual dating,” but can range from just hooking up to “the possibility of a relationship in the future.” In the beginning, Sara would tell people she was “seeing” Nick. “For us, that meant it was more than hooking up. It was dating without being official to the rest of world. There were times when occasionally we would hook up with other people.”

Dating: Ambiguously viewed by different people, it is often seen as the same as having a committed boyfriend or girlfriend. However, others define it as going on dates with multiple people.

Going on a Break:  Breaking up, but for only a short period of time. Allowing your partner to get involved with others varies from couple to couple. But some people find that going on a break is sometimes dangerous. “Don’t kid yourself, just break up already,” said one survey response. Stepp agrees: “Sometimes, a partner may use the phrase as a way to break up without admitting that’s what he/she is doing.“

Open Relationship: Most commonly described as a relationship in which you are allowed to hook up with or date other people. The two people have an “emotional investment” in each other but still can have sexual experiences with others.

Booty Call: What distinguishes a booty call from a hook up is that it is usually sexual intercourse that occurs late at night resulting from a phone call or text, fueled by alcohol or purely sexual desires. It is described by Gen Yers as “no strings attached” or “hit it and quit it.”  Culled from GeNYU.

 These days, people want to get results without work; and technology is not helping us either. Whilst reading some of the comments on the backup plan, I could not help but think ‘what are we doing to one another?’ Then we wonder why people can no longer stay married… it is because the foundation was shaky from the start.

In this frenzy of modern dating, we are all familiar with the talking stage. ‘Talking’ means different things to different people but one thing it has in common is two people who like each other but haven’t committed to one another. There is no harm in taking things slow and wanting to know what you are getting into… but there are people, who use ‘talking’ to pass time until they get a better option. Women are the most vulnerable at this point. I am of the opinion that the moment you are confused about where you stand with a man is the moment you should hit the road.

I think my generation is focusing on the wrong things when it comes to building something real. It is beyond attraction, beyond intimacy. In real life, real people have real issues.  When life happens and it always does, you need something stronger than the physical to scale through.

The foundation of any relationship should be built on God, honesty and respect. Many people do not know how to be alone therefore they would rather settle or gamble the options. Too many things have gone wrong, and change can only begin when we change our mind-set. We owe it to generation Z behind us to right our wrongs because if we don’t, catastrophe doesn’t even define what will follow. It starts with correcting our misconceptions about gender roles. Teaching our sons how to men, and it is not in the size of the wallet but the character (responsibility and accountability). Likewise, our daughters that beauty is skin deep, it cannot keep a man. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to be anything other than yourself to be with someone. If they want you, they will stay.

I look forward to living in a society where people can challenge the conventional mind-set around dating relationships. Honesty is KEY!  Be honest with yourself from the start to know what you want. Just like Lauryn Hill said ‘what is meant to be will be’. Don’t force or sweat it, there is a ‘perfect fit’  for everyone. And the only reason most people don’t get it is because they are too impatient to wait for it.

Photo Credit:

Oluwabusola Adedire is a graduate of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, an enthusiast on social issues, and loves to inspire people about life, God and Love. Find her on Instagram @hrh_oluwabusola and on Twitter @HRH_oluwabussie


  1. Claus Von Stauffenberg

    September 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    While this generatino may have coined these phrases, none of these relationship concepts are recent inventions.

    • glo

      September 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm


    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      I was thinking the exact same thing.

    • Tunmi

      September 14, 2013 at 4:52 am

      Thank you 🙂

  2. good looks

    September 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    A very nice piece to read …. loved it!


    September 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I appreciate the reasoning in this article and the point that Busola is trying to drive across. As far as I’m concerned, relationship issues are not as complicated as we make. As long as a relationship is defined and both parties voluntarily agree to partake in such relationship, be it booty call or hooking up, then let them deal with what such relationship brings.
    However, if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do? God, honesty and respect = solid foundation to a successful relationship.

    • Tunmi

      September 14, 2013 at 4:54 am

      I agree with you. As long as both partners agree on the definitions of their relationship—carry go.

  4. dhales

    September 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    This is spot on Busola. You just spoke my mind. Like you rightly said, everything is “micor-waved” nowadays. The part i love the most is “It is beyond attraction, beyond intimacy. In real life, real people have real issues. When life happens and it always does, you need something stronger than the physical to scale through.”…Keep it up!

  5. Wow!!! very nice piece

  6. Passerby

    September 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you for this piece!

  7. olah

    September 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    can i give you a hug?????? Thank you!!

  8. mama diva

    September 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm


  9. Oracle

    September 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Patience is key

  10. nene

    September 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    like my mum always says “this generation has missed out on a lot of good stuff e.g music,love, happiness,etc”, and i agree with her.

  11. Gorgeous

    September 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Seeing each other is preferred. :). Especially for a busy person who is not looking to be tied down. Not everyone is excited about the whole idea of marriage. Plus little or no jealousy. The issue is, guys start to want to force themselves on the lady. For some reason they think she needs protection. LOL.

  12. asgrl

    September 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I’m too old for all of these nonsense mouth bending. You want abi you no want tell me now and don’t wast my time my friend! And I don’t do fine barra! No sharing oh.

    • Idak

      September 10, 2013 at 9:08 am

      your craze na high grade. 🙂

  13. nnn

    September 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm


  14. mercy

    September 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    nice piece.let me add a piece of advice,in any relatnship,eitha long or short term,just be ursef!

    • No competition

      September 10, 2013 at 5:17 am


  15. Molly

    September 10, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Luv it Busola!

  16. eniola

    September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Lovely piece, I love the definitions.

  17. bee

    September 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

    nyc piece.

  18. person pikin

    September 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

    “I am of the opinion that the moment you are confused about where you stand with a man is the moment you should hit the road”
    I think this sums it all up, and has been my mind set towards relationship .Wether na booty call oh, freinds with benefits o, dating o just be straight with your intensions.
    A lot of men (and women too) just keep you guessing and confused, wasting your time. If I ever get to that stage, I just blank out. Infact I go all silent treatment on the person. You cant be messing with my emotions and expect me to be all nice and sweet to you, mba! I’l gladly keep it moving. No time jare.

  19. Fravian

    September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Uhnnnnnnn……oro agba.

  20. puke.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    thank you so much writer. these words are inspiring, trust me a lot of readers will b inspired and go back to the old traditional dating and relationship rules where a man is the man and a woman the woman.

  21. puke.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

    and lemme also add a little, relationship is not a game of power, this especially to the ladies. love and respect your man, he is your man.

  22. Jamce

    September 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Well written Busola. Men and women should focus on real life issues in their relationships and not the “effizzy” of beauty and intimacy which often fade out in the face of realities of life. A foundation built “truly” on God, honesty, transparency and self-discipline cannot be shaken.

  23. david

    September 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Yes real life issues are very important for everyone. All must think about it.

  24. datigbolady

    September 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    nice article…tym to go back to the root.

  25. Ready

    September 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    My personal favorite among the Black college crowd in the US was “kicking it”. “Oh Terrell? Nah…we just kick it”. Meanwhile dude hit 2nd base the other night.
    These things aren’t new to our generation though, we just proclaim it louder and are less ashamed of it. Good or bad? Not my judgment call. Just be straight with me.

  26. shay shay

    September 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  27. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    September 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    There is an interchange of not just body fluids but also a fusing and exchange of spirits when people have sex. The essence of one’s self is often lost as sometimes we take on things from partners that “corrupt” the essence of our self. Don’t forget that when you have sex its not just with the person you are with, but with every person he or she must have previously had intercourse with. We try all sorts of things to get that balance back and sometimes attaching a name/ description to the sort of relationship helps to give one a semblance of identity and a sense of being grounded and solidity that has been hitherto lost or confused.

    • bella dama

      September 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      thanks for this reminder…been a while i heard it!

  28. D. Julius w. Gobie

    September 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

    seeing someone friend with relationship

  29. Patience

    September 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

    This is so true…….i just came out of a relationship that was built on the wrong things but it needed the help of an adult before it finally went apart the good thing is that i know what it means to truly be “in-lust” with someone….Ladies learn how to look beyond your beauty and go skin deep>>>..

  30. aleesha

    September 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Dear writer, thank you for this piece! As we say in Igbo, eziokwu bu ndu!

  31. ItannaOluwa

    September 13, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Nice piece here. This generation probably need to learn priorities….Proud of you Busola

  32. Orifunke

    September 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

    At last, someone has finally spoken up! Thanks for this, Madam Busola. I hope we of this generation would learn this.

  33. Abby

    September 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    @Dhales well said. I think sex is better if you’re emotionally involved with your partner. love this piece

  34. Xt

    March 11, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    Beautiful and I look forward to change. I want to believe we (excluding sociopaths) CAN find the right person for us and leave all the rest of the noise behind.

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