The Trouble with GoodCrush

“Finally caught you for a moment’s conversation with the help of a friend. You had just handed in your thesis. Player or not, I’d love to get to know you before you graduate.”

Go to “Princeton GoodCrush”: and you’ll immediately find dozens of entries like this. According to the “about”: section of its website, Princeton GoodCrush “eliminates potential awkwardness and shyness from romantic interactions by offering simple, fun, and exciting ways to turn your crush into a GoodCrush – a match.” Princeton students can post anonymous public entries (like the one above,) or they can “crush” up to 5 people. If any of these people have crushed them back, they both receive a notification indicating that it’s a match.

Although GoodCrush provides a fun way to peer into other people’s lives, the “crushfinder” component of it indicates something deeply depressing about the Princeton social scene – namely, that we don’t want to invest time in hanging out unless we think something will come of it. While asking someone out can be intimidating, it isn’t the only alternative to goodcrush. After all, if you can make time to go out with someone, presumably you can also make time to hang out with them.

Sadly, as GoodCrush demonstrates, many Princetonians don’t consider it worth their time to hang out unless there’s a reasonable chance of relationship success. This attitude is, of course, tragically un-romantic, not to mention completely age inappropriate. These are our college years, and we should be throwing pebbles and going on adventures, not arranging “mature” risk-free relationships over the internet!

At a more pragmatic level, using GoodCrush is a poor strategy if you’re hoping to end up in a happy relationship. Starting a relationship via the crushfinder is a form of settling – after all, neither person is interested enough to pursue a relationship in real life. And by choosing to settle in such a fashion, you not only decrease the chances of having a successful relationship, but by taking yourself off the market, you also decrease the odds that you’ll fall for another person who might suit you better.

In fact, GoodCrush presents many of the same problems as hooking up. Neither requires much courage or commitment, and they are both easy and impersonal ways to drift into a relationship without making much of a conscious choice. So although conventional dating requires you to risk awkwardness and rejection, the decision to take that risk requires deliberation, and thus provides a greater degree of agency and freedom.

Note: At this time, the Anscombe Society does not take an official position on GoodCrush.