Dating now is a game of selfish convenience.
Meeting potential lovers is now more convenient than ever.
Instead of going out to socialize in person, we can sit in the safety of our bedrooms mindlessly scrolling through an endless sea of dating fishes. We download as many dating apps as we can, beef up our profile with witty remarks or clever emoji chain in hopes that princess flattery or prince charming happens to swipe right as well. It’s created a vicious cycle of judgement making snap decision after snap decision based almost solely on six pictures or less.
This may seem completely harmless, but there’s a much larger issue lying just below the surface that needs to be addressed:
We’re losing the ability to communicate face to face.
One of the largest constraints in the early stages of dating, which can be catastrophic later in the relationship, is the way in which we communicate. With any form of digital communication you have, more or less, an endless amount of time to think and respond. You’re able to carefully craft messages or texts to be suave or sweet or funny or whatever emotion you’re trying to convey. This aspect of conversation is much more difficult to “wing” off the top of your head when the phone screen buffer is removed. Sure, people are shy. Sometimes the nervous tummy butterflies can get the best of you. However, at some point that shyness needs to be eliminated if there’s ever a hope of subsequent dates or sustaining a long term relationship. The only way to do that is talking to your partner’s face, not their Facebook.
If we communicate most of the time digitally, we’ll often share the wide ranges of emotion through digital formats, too. Jokes, sweet chatter, and a funny dog GIF are all enjoyable, but what happens when the other side of the spectrum is reached? What happens when we end up getting in a huge argument and are unable to discuss uncomfortable topics in person? Do you really believe that dealing with your relationship problems over the phone really alleviates the issue and brings you closer? Is that a healthy way of overcoming the inevitable confrontations relationships bring?
To take it a step further into the digital realm, since such a noticeable volume of millennials use dating and social media apps, constantly being on the phone invites your partner to question, pry, and be deeply insecure about how you’re spending your time on your phone both in their presence and not. And when we’re insecure, there’s really no telling what levels we might stoop to to find “truth”. Snooping without asking, causing senseless fights over nothing, and jumping to irrational conclusions can all result from spending too much time talking digitally and not enough literal face to face time.
Technology is not entirely to blame here.
The users of technology are. Technology will continue to evolve despite your relationship or dating successes or downfalls. I think one thing that’s important to know, aside from the dangers in too little face to face discussion, is communicating the importance (or lack thereof) of technology in the relationship. Some people find it extremely sexy not texting all day so they have something to talk about next time they go out on a date or meet for a movie at the other’s house. Independence in this way can be interpreted in two ways, though: ignoring (a.k.a. he or she isn’t really interested) or attractive (a.k.a. they have a life outside of me and I respect that). But in any aspect of the relationship, communication is key. No one can read minds or pick up telekinetic impulses.
For single women and men who currently use dating apps, like me, do you continue to swipe and Bumble after you meet someone really cool off a dating app? Or do you continue to send out horrific pickup lines with the hopes of a laugh and, fingers crossed, a date?
I think it’s not only respectful to the other party (that you’re presumably “into”) to deactivate your accounts on dating sites, but it’s also respectful to yourself. How much of a bummer would it be to be really stoked on time spent with someone only for them to find out that you’re still messaging several men or women on dating sites trying to get more hookups or meet ups? You’d look like a sleeze
No one wants to be a sleaze ball, and we all want sincere connection. Sadly, many of us continue to use these dating apps despite other people feel strongly about in the early stages because we enjoy the attention. When you match with someone attractive, or a cute boy sends you a sappy message, it feels good.
But what feels better is sincere connection with someone else. A connection that can only be established and maintained through consistent “IRL” face time.
The game of dating hasn’t really changed, but it’s a bit more intricate now when technology is mixed in. Let’s not let ourselves, our lovers, and our relationships fall victim to these electronic vices.
Featured photo credit: Let’s Do 52/latteda via albumarium.com