Let’s Chat: A Different Kind of Instalove

Guys. You might know by now that I hate Instalove. Like, with a passion. I hate how Girl gazes into Boy’s eyes, which are a lovely hazel, how his hair flutters in the breeze, and how she knows, beyond a shred of doubt, that she is in love, and that just by virtue of looking at him, her soul floats in midair… and so on and so forth. It’s just not realistic, and it’s downright cheesy, and it’s not even fun to read about.

Seriously. Reading such things makes me want to do this:

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Except I don’t. Because I paid money for that book. And even if I didn’t, as a bookworm, it goes against my personal value and belief system to destroy books. So I swallow the urge to shred the pages. And I live with the existence of that book on my bookshelf.

Then I thought, hey, since I bash Instalove in my reviews/thoughts/real life conversations all the time, why don’t I make a blog post about it? GREAT IDEA!!

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Except, A) I would rant forever and go WAY my self-imposed word limit producing something that no one would read to its completion, and B) It will just be… too easy. And I’m that kinda person who wouldn’t feel satisfied unless I do something that is hard. I know, I’m weird.

So, today I will defend Instalove a bit: I want to convince you that there is an ounce of truth in Instalove, but that it needs to be portrayed differently in YA fiction.

By the way, you may have known/guessed that Instalove = Instant Love, where two people fall in love at first sight (think Romeo and Juliet).

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Some food for thought: Why is there so much Instalove in the books that we read? I mean, I’m assuming that authors and publishers who write/publish Instalove are intelligent human beings, and that they write/publish books that they expect to be popular. Therefore, Instalove must exist because it sells.

Why then, does Instalove sell? Instalove is a fantasy. We like to imagine that we fall in love with the beautiful Prince/Princess Charming, and he/she finds us beautiful and falls in love with us as well. Isn’t that so romantic? Isn’t that so much more romantic, than, say, an average-looking person meeting another average-looking person, both people learning to accept each other’s flaws and work through kinks in their relationship, and either become a successful couple or break up? Maybe we like this fantasy of falling in love at first sight, just like how we like the fantasy of happy endings, or the fantasy of a world with dragons and magic powers.

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The more I think about it, the more I wonder: Could it be true? Is it possible to fall in love at first sight?

Yes and no. I don’t believe that we fall in love with a person’s appearance. I also don’t believe that love can be instant. We can be attracted to someone who is beautiful or handsome, and maybe we feel awkward and tongue-twisted in their presence. (Unless you are one of those savvy creatures who are super smooth, in which case I am SO jelly.) But attraction isn’t love.

Love takes time. It means that we know the person’s strengths and their weaknesses, and that we love them for both. It means that we’ve had fights, we know each other’s trigger points, and we know how to deal with future disagreements. How can this be achieved with just one glance? Appearance can attract us to a person, and this may develop into love in the long term, but it can hardly be called love at first sight.

I believe that we don’t fall in love with a person’s appearance, we fall in love with their personality, with how they speak, with how they think.

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However, I do believe that there is such a thing as instant connection. You know when we first talk to a stranger, on the subway, or in the elevator, or a friend of a friend, or a new classmate, and it just clicks? Maybe it’s because we have similar hobbies or ideas, maybe we see the world in a similar way. Or maybe we are both just interested in learning about each others’ worlds. For some reason, it is so easy to talk to them. Often this feeling is platonic, and we make a new friend. Sometimes, it may grow into something more.

And you know what? It has nothing to do with appearance.

So I don’t believe in instant love, but I do believe that we connect with some people better than others.

We need to start thinking differently about Instalove. Young Adult fiction needs to focus less on love at first “sight”, and more on the idea of developing a connection through conversation. Love takes time, and it’s really what is on the inside that counts.

Let’s Chat!

How do you feel about Instalove?

 

21 thoughts on “Let’s Chat: A Different Kind of Instalove

  1. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    I agree… I do believe in insta connection – that you know right away that if that person is interested too that you would devote time to getting to know them better and maybe falling in love… but I don’t believe in insta-love and I agree I’m not a fan of how it is portrayed. I do think there is A LOT of different motivations for why a character / person may BELIEVE they have fallen in love at first meeting. These could be explored better with different situations where an unexpected person in their life usurps those ideas.

    Lovely idea to take the opposite POV and defend insta-love! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Dani!! I absolutely agree that there are many reasons for people to feel that they are in love. Feelings are difficult to predict, and there is definitely a chemical component to it. Maybe love happens when connection collides with chemistry? Maybe instalove does exist then 🙂 (Though it would be hard for me to testify since I’ve never personally experienced instalove, it’s always been a slow burn for me haha…) Chemistry is one thing that I didn’t touch on in this post but I do believe that it exists and that it can bring two people together! That is a good point!

      Like

  2. Shanah - Bionic Book Worm says:

    I agree and disagree. The moment I saw my husband, I was in grade 8. He stepped up on a stage with his band and the moment I saw him I said to my friend that I was going to marry him. I didn’t see him again for a year but never forgot his face. When I saw him again in high school I immediately remembered his face and found out everything I could about him. We just had our 19 year dating anniversary last week! Did I love him immediately? No. But I knew that I could and I would. It sounds strange and there’s no way to explain it. I think that if it’s done in a way that explains an instant connection then yes. That’s absolutely possible. But instant love? No. That takes time of learning about a person and learning how you work with that person. But in all honestly it took me less than two weeks to fall in love with him and I haven’t looked back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Shanah!! I am so glad to from you! That is the sweetest story about how you and your husband met. And congrats on your 19 year dating anniversary! I do agree with your point that there can be a spark that brings two people together. I feel a similar way about my fiancé (our 6 year dating anniversary is coming up!) We met in university and he grabbed my attention right away. It took years for us to get to know each other and for my heart to trust him. I definitely do agree that it takes time for two people to understand each other, and I also do think that there is that initial chemistry that bring people together 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MichaelK says:

    I am not a great YA reader so I don’t get a big dose of instalove but it regularly crops up in adult literature as well. And it greatly bothers me. Especially when it’s written the way that makes us, the normal average persons, feel totally inadequate. Insta-attraction yes, it happens and it can lead to love but instalove is just a lazy shortcut for writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      I agree that instalove is more of a thing in YA books (that’s part of the reason why I’ve been gravitating away from YA and towards adult fiction these days…) I like how you say that instalove is a shortcut – it does feel that way, although it is more satisfying when characters and relationships are given room to develop.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TheReadersBay says:

    Although I find insta-love cheesy and cute to read about, it’s something I dont like because I know it never happens. I get what it means to be falling in love with how someone looks, (Been there, done that. Still going strong lol) but that doesn’t mean the person entirely becomes a God to you! And somehow the cute guys likes you baaacck! On top of it, he is also a kind and an amazing person!!! Jeez, I’ve never come across someone like that IN MY LIFE! So yeah, it just is very unrealistic. (Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon-major uggh feels)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Haha yes! I totally know what you mean! I am not a fan of love interests who are too perfect (cute and kind AND amazing). It is more relatable and definitely more interesting when characters have flaws 🙂 And I also agree that it is one thing to be attracted to someone’s appearance and another thing altogether to let that person become important to you.

      I actually liked Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon when I first read it, but after reading the reviews and discussing it with other bloggers, I totally know what you mean that it is cheesy and unrealistic. And that ending…. still I am like O_O

      Liked by 1 person

      • TheReadersBay says:

        Don’t even talk about the ending. Just don’t. I was upset and furious at myself for even picking up the book. Because honestly it IS unrealistic! I definitely did NOT like the characters at all, they seemed very story-like.
        I’m glad to read your opinion 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Oh the ending 🙂 I am somewhat conflicted about that: The thing is that I work in a hospital and I’ve never seen a case of SCID (it’s very very rare), so it’s actually more common for the alternative to happen (like in Everything Everything- this I see a few times a year). Because of that I was on the verge of accepting that ending. HOWEVER… the plot twist kind of defeats the purpose of the entire premise. And it’s kind of a cop-out… Yes the characters are generic…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    What a wonderful post!! I love how you took something you don’t like and then defended it. I’m the same as you- I really really don’t like Instalove- but I do think that people can be attracted at first sight. That’s why I try to give leeway when characters get attracted to each other at first sight- like you said there can be an instant attraction or connection- so I do try to only whinge about “instalove” when they call their attraction love. It’s just really hard cos most of the time instalust turns into instalove!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi! Glad that you can relate 🙂 I think my favourite books aren’t strictly romance, but they may have some romantic components. If you are looking for recommendations: I love My Heart and Other Black Holes (a YA novel that talks about depression and suicide, trigger warning there…) which has a cute pairing. Hope you will find a good romance novel to delve into 🙂

      Like

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