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There’s A Lot To Reflect On The Way We Date Today

There’s A Lot To Reflect On The Way We Date Today

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.

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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.

Why?

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?

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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?

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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