May 21, 2012
We forget sometimes the importance of good, frequent, honest communication. But maybe counter-intuitively it’s the web’s fault…The internet makes it easy to keep in touch superficially. – Derek Flanzraich
If you’ve taken the time to stop by today to read these words, you probably count yourself among the social media savvy masses. I’d also be willing to be that you may just be a fan of high tech gadgets and the many ways they allow you to update your friends (virtual and otherwise) on all the minutiae of your life. These days, due to the wonders of technology – email, text, Voxer, Skype, g chat, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and (as creepy as it may seem to some) even the phone, there’s little to no excuse to not stay connected. But is having the ability to stay in touch around the clock, harming or hindering our ability to form real connections? Particularly romantic ones?
The answer? Well, (at least IMO) in our fast paced, stay in constant contact world, the various platforms we have at our disposal to communicate with make it both easier and harder to establish genuine and lasting ‘love’ connections with others. Subsequently, as we revel in all the good – specifically the unobtrusive, convenient, fast and relatively safe exchange of messages – that having more communication options brings to the dating scene (and life in general), we also need to ask ourselves how we’re all doing at managing the negative stuff too. With that in mind, here’s my short list (believe me I could’ve compile a much longer one) of some of the downsides of high tech communication and dating.
IM is for IMpatience: Now that our communications happen in an instant, most of us are put off when we have to wait anymore than five nanoseconds minutes to get a response to a message we’ve sent. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people, (myself included – FML) lament, often while scanning their phone for a message they may have missed the last 50 times they checked it, that “It only takes two secs to return a message, right?” while waiting for their latest love interest to get back to them. As much as we all want to believe that the object of our desire spends his/her days waiting by the phone for each and every message we send, the truth is that he/she has a life, and hopefully a very full one. So, for the love of God and all things sane, instead of flipping into near panic mode when your last IM/text/email/vmail isn’t returned right away, back away from the comp/phone and practice a little patience.
Hiding behind our tech toys: I’m sure every one of you out there has avoided discussing a tough, emotional and/or touchy topic by choosing to type a message instead of talk. It’s so easy to hide…well, anything, when the person you’re communicating with can’t see you or hear your voice. But let’s face it; avoiding issues doesn’t make them go away. So get out from behind that little or big screen, and face the music – or more correctly the one you claim to like/love so much.
Mindless chatter: The quality of our communication has diminished greatly with the advent of more technology designed to help us communicate better, faster. It seems the ease with which we can “shoot off” a quick little message, makes many of us more thoughtless about what we’re saying to each other: which is a bad look when you’re trying to get to know someone well enough to feel comfortable asking them to get naked with you on a regular basis, no?. The fact is a lot can be lost in translation when you don’t see someone’s facial expression or hear their voice as they communicate with you. Not to mention, the broken telephone type communication that can occur when auto-correct functions on our devices fail us – EPICALLY! People, be mindful when you text, IM and tweet.
Let’s make it impersonal?: I don’t know about all of you, but sitting behind a comp or phone screen and typing all the time feels pretty impersonal to me. And although the more socially inept and cowardly (you know, the folks who say they want connection, love and/or commitment in their lives but secretly fear it) among us probably like it that way, no one can argue that detached nature of much of our communication these days is a problem for anyone truly interested in getting up close and personal with someone. The solution? DON’T have long, serious conversations over email or text. Instead pick up the damn phone, or better yet arrange to meet and have the discussion then (scary, I know).
Just Me, My Phone & I: Do you remember the heady days of yesteryear when no one had a mobile phone, tablet or mp3 player? When it was way easier to approach someone who caught your eye on the street, at your fave lunch spot or at the club, because their eyes weren’t glued to the glowing screen in front of them? Can you imagine how many potential love/lust connections have never come to be because so many of us walk around constantly plugged into an electronic device? Folks, as much as we may love our gadgets, ain’t none of them going to keep us warm in bed at night. So, if you’re a singleton looking to find a brand spanking new bedmate, be sure to unplug sometimes and check out who’s around as you move throughout your day. And if you’re lucky enough to see someone you like smile at them and see what happens. I dare you.