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Technology and Dating: The Broader, Faster, & Better Way to Find your Soulmate

Technology and Dating: The Broader, Faster, & Better Way to Find your Soulmate

Throughout history, every culture has seen changes in their dating (mating) rituals. From matchmaking and arranged marriages to high school dances and drunken nights in Las Vegas, technology has been found to be a catalyst in one way or another to these dating changes.

Advances in communications and transportation mean that people could interact with and travel to visit potential partners outside their neighbourhood, workplace, or circle of friends and family. Industrial advances lead to a shift away from farming to manufacturing and then to services. Mass production of print materials saw an increase in literacy and skills.

    The choices for careers, lifestyles, and residences then increased exponentially for many.[1] Even those who found themselves limited by long-standing cultural traditions could still find ways to leverage technology in their love lives.

    And now, in the 21st century, the era of smart mobile devices and broadband communication – even sometimes in the most remote of regions – technology has taken meeting, getting to know, then dating with the hopes of a long-term relationship simpler and more complex at the same time. This situation may seem like a contradiction, but it can be the beginning of something enduring and beautiful.

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    Expanding choices

    In some cultures, it used to be (and in some cultures, it still is) that marriage had less to do with love than it did with politics and economics. Amongst royalty and the elites, marriages were arranged to jockey for power by creating alliances that one or both families could leverage. For the rest, it was a matter of finding financial stability.[2] As time progressed and technology levelled the playing field, creating a larger middle class with a greater sense of independence, this became less and less relevant.

    No longer held back by political or economic machinations, men and women found themselves looking for more personal connections with potential partners. And with this change in criteria, the idea of true love opened up to so many.

    Men and women began interacting in more and more places. Beyond local neighbourhood and community events, men and women were meeting at university, at work, in different cities. Behind all that, technology was at work, freeing up time, creating more opportunities to meet like-minded people that also sparked attraction, and then hopefully dating and becoming more.[3] Planes, trains, phones, microwaves, computers – these and so much more modern technological advances made it easier to interact with so many more people. The chances for a perfect love connection increased exponentially.

    And then there was online dating. Even before online dating, people were looking for their soulmates in all sorts of places. Classified ads, mail order brides, bars, and dance clubs – they were all platforms for meeting and making dates for ages. But with the introduction of the internet and the creation of sites like Match.com, the channels for people to find compatible mates exploded.

    With a few clicks and some simple descriptions, men and women could explore and discover potential mates near and far. And Match.com was only just the beginning. Technology developed, and other services appeared with more sophisticated algorithms that attempted to make accurate matches for a better chance at successful, lasting romantic relationships.[4]

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    Now, instead of hoping to meet someone in a bar, at the local community barbecue, or through friends and family, there are now computer programmes that would work to find everyone who signed up their perfect partner.

    Then social media happened. Dating apps would put people in instant touch with potential dates, either for a casual meeting or for something more serious. Following interests on Facebook or Twitter would connect people with others that had a common mindset and could be developed into a storybook romance.

    Instant communications

    Telegraphs, faxes, snail mail, and even landline phone calls with no voicemail seem like they were so long ago. Today, messaging, emails, video calls, and social media posts across a myriad of service providers offer so many different channels of nearly instant communications.

    Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Viber are just a few of the apps and services that, with a data plan or a WiFi connection, you can communicate with almost any one across the globe.

    This more efficient communication not only allows people to connect for romance, but it also is one of many productivity tools that are almost instantly available. So, people can also free up time by completing work projects and domestic tasks quickly, leaving more time for romance.

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    There are pitfalls to be avoided, as with any tool, regardless if it is a hammer or a dating app.[5] Just like face-to-face communication, being too aggressive by sending too many messages or sharing too much too soon may scare off potential dates (and even friends). And being uncommunicative or reluctant to share may seem too standoffish and interest may be lost, and then connections may be lost. But as long as both parties don’t overthink or try to play hard to get too much, a romance could flourish.

    Creating strong bonds

    With all these opportunities to seek, find, and share with possible partners, the chance of a deeply meaningful romantic relationship that will last is increased. You could connect with someone online over a love of your pet beagles and then eventually discover a common interest in gardening.

    Then, after communicating virtually for a time, you finally plan to meet in person for things to hopefully move on to the step.[6] If you live in driving distance, this meeting could be easy, but with this expanded selection, the chances your true love (or long-term relationship) lives in a distant city, or even country, is not beyond belief.

    Here technology comes to the rescue again. Flights are easy to search for and book, often at an incredible discount. And the choices for accommodations run the range to fit any budget. Review sites will help you find the perfect meeting spot. Map apps will make sure you get there on time. Then it is all up to you.

    Think positively

    In the end, dating and romance is all about people. Yes, there are some people out there that are using this incredible technology to deceive and cheat others for their own benefit, but that could happen in a bar or at a party.[7] Besides, there are steps you can take to make sure that the person you are sharing intimate details with is who they say they are.

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    And the stigma that some people feel about online dating has been dissipating, and it has become more socially acceptable. Many people will know at least one friend who will readily admit that they met their partner online.

    Technology has helped men and women look beyond their neighbourhoods or family and friends for introductions to romance. Accepting and understanding what lies ahead may help make perfect matches that otherwise may have been impossible. Technology can help lead you to your happily ever after.

    Featured photo credit: Getty Images via cdn.skim.gs

    Reference

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    Kyra Taylor

    Writer and Lawyer

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

    You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

    This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

    Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

    There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

    How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

    When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

    Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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    1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

    One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

    The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

    Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

    2. Be Honest

    A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

    If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

    On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

    Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

    3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

    Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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    If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

    4. Succeed at Something

    When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

    Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

    5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

    Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

    Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

    If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

    If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

    Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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    6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

    Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

    You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

    On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

    You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

    7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

    Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

    Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

    Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

    When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

    Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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    In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

    Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

    It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

    Final Thoughts

    When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

    The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

    Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

    Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

    Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

    More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
    [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
    [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
    [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
    [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
    [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
    [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
    [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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