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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

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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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