After talking with some friends these past few days I realized something completely obvious: There are too many ways to contact people, and dating is less personal than ever.
Let me walk you through several methods of contact that people are using these days and how they have complicated the dating scene.
In my opinion Facebook has ruined the dating world. I remember the days before Facebook became huge and guys actually asked for your number and called you. (Texting wasn’t that huge yet either.) I also remember the first time I was asked out over Facebook. I responded back with my phone number and told him to call me and try again. Now however, getting asked out on Facebook is completely normal. A friend told me her little brother asked his date to prom during a Facebook chat. I really don’t think I would have accepted an AOL proposal back in my day, but times are a changing I suppose. I don't even want to talk about inferring everything from the type of girl someone is interested in to how long he dated his last girlfriend through Facebook photos. Say it with me: Facebook stalking ruins lives.
I was thinking about Facebook’s affect on relationships due to a discussion I had with a good guy friend of mine last night. Mutual friends set him up on a date with a girl, and they had a great time. He called me and asked when it would be appropriate to Facebook friend her. After an actual in-depth discussion, we decided on the next night or two mornings later. I ran it by another guy friend and he agreed with our plan. Then it hit me: Is when to Facebook the new 3 Days Rule?
If I hear one more story about people flirting over Twitter I may cry. Who does that? Can’t other people read what you are saying? I’m confused. Please stop.
Gmail is the new AOL as far as I’m concerned. Remember the nights when you pretended to be finishing homework, but actually you were talking to a boy and simultaneously all your friends about what you two were saying? We twenty-somethings are doing that on GChat now. The only difference is we don’t print out the conversations and bring them to school. Now we just email them.
I know several people who tend to keep their flirting on GChat instead of texting. I understand that you are not supposed to use your phone during business hours so the computer makes a fantastic cover. However, has anyone noticed that you can become obsessed with a person that you talk to all the time online…but then in person it’s a bit awkward? So then my question is: Is it awkward because you created a deep, yet isolated relationship that flounders in real life situations…or is it awkward because you aren’t used to speaking to each other in person and so it’s like meeting them all over again, even though you know their favorite ice cream flavor and most embarrassing high school moment?
BBM/WhatsApp/Skype - Texting
These are all forms of texting. I will admit it right now; I love to text. I am hooked on texting and prefer it to actual phone calls the majority of the time. Do you know who I do not text? My boyfriend. When I am dating someone I call him most of the time and avoid texting. This is mostly due to the fact that – and this is important – you CANNOT convey tone in a text message. I am at a loss to think of how many arguments my girlfriends and I could have avoided had we actually spoken to our loved ones instead of texting.
Texting makes everything impersonal. It’s like email, but even more instantaneous. You have the ability to tell someone your thoughts right then and there, and I’m going to venture to say that this is usually not the best for relationships. We take out our insecurities and bad moods on loved ones, mostly because they are right there, but also because we know they will forgive us. While I can know that someone is in a bad mood because of something else, reading a message written in the heat of the moment still has an impact. Don’t even get me started on drunk texting. Drunk text fights are probably the leading cause of stress in twenty-something women involved in relationships. I even know people who have broken up though texts.
Why can’t we talk with each other anymore? Where did the romance go?
The generation younger than us faces a strange moment in dating history. They grew up with texting, Facebook and Twitter. They have attention spans of goldfish and think in 130 characters or less. When I coached high school girls their dates asked them to Homecoming via BBM or Facebook Chat. Are they headed for an entire dating career of electronic headaches??? Perhaps the reason myself and my friends have so much trouble is we weren’t born into the technological dating world. Trying to infer tone from text messages, and understanding if he likes you if he Facebooks you after one day or two is just too hard. We remember what it was like to get actual phone calls after the first date, and so we compare new relationships to those from the past. Now if a friend gets a phone call after a date we all shriek and say, “That is SUCH a good sign!” As in, it’s not exciting he called to ask you out again, it means he likes you enough to forgo Facebook, email, and texting bullshit to speak with you. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if you call someone after a date it means you like them A LOT. Not a little, not like you think you may want to run into them next weekend, like you want them in your life and you are going to make that happen!
Do you love dating with technology, or is it frustrating? I personally like how easy it is to contact someone, but I think it’s made us all over think interactions and undervalue personal contact. My guy friends tell me that if a guy wants to get to know you, he will. He will call and he will find a way to see you in person. He will not GChat you all week and disappear on weekends, and he will not confuse you with Facebook photos. As for us girls, I say we take matters back into our own hands and call the boys who leave us message-less after a great date. What do you think?