Tons of people say they'd rather have experiences than material things — but how many women actually mean it, when the material thing in question is a dazzling diamond sparkler? About 20 percent, as it turns out.
Yes, a recent study by millennial group travel provider Topdeck Travel found that one in five women would be fine with a smaller engagement ring if it meant they could travel more, and more than one third (36 percent, to be exact) of those surveyed would lower their wedding budget if it meant they could travel around the world. Even more interesting: One in six women would rather take a trip with a group of friends than with their significant other.
Wait, what does all this mean? Are we more interested in traveling and having fun with our friends than getting married?
For many, it simply comes back to that preference for experiences over stuff. “Millennials are more interested in being collectors of experiences, knowledge, and memories than things,” says Laurel House, an author and dating coach, star of E!'s Famously Single.
Yes, millennials also like stuff and gadgets, but that's not really the generation's main focus. “Many millennial clients tell me that they have seen their parents who appeared to be perfectly happy — a big house, nice cars, nice stuff — and [later learned] they are secretly unhappy and end up in divorce,” says House. Maybe millennials are railing against what they perceive as their forebears' attitudes in search of more authentic happiness.
“But it's not just about trying to do things differently in order to find enduring happiness,” says House. There is also a little bit of escapism involved. The desire to go and do and be a human doing as opposed to a human being can be dangerous. “It's like always being high on adrenaline. Many of my millennial clients have a hard time being still, being present in the moment, experiencing, and enjoying the here and now. Instead, they're looking out to the future: What can I do next, where can I go next, what can I do right now? This attitude is reflective of the fast-paced immediate gratification technology world that were in,” says House.
It’s a feeling and a situation we see reflected in online and app dating as well. It's an attitude of "next, next, next" while scrolling through potential suitors. “There's always something else to see and do and everything moves so quickly in front of us that it's hard to just stop and smell the roses. There is a fear that if they are not doing and going and running, that they are not moving forward,” says House.
And — for better or for worse — that could be at the root of why a good chunk of folks now prefer collecting sand on their toes to rocks on their fingers.
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