As I work with my clients building successful relationships in today’s world of smart phones, social media and instant access, I am struck by the changes they are encountering in a dating world where no one even makes eye contact anymore much less strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger. Is it fear? Is it just being too self absorbed?
Some of those changes offer a funny, if sometimes sad, commentary on the relationship and dating world we live in today.
- First dates are boring now because you already know everything about them from their Facebook profile or the Google search you did on them before you went out. No surprises, no mystery. That can take the magic out of your first date faster than Houdini escaping from a pair of cheap handcuffs.
2. People think you’re weird if you call now, since everyone else emails, texts or tweets. It’s like “only call if it’s some kind of emergency.” And, deciphering some people’s abbreviated emails and texts is worse than trying to understand why the world is flat and not round.
3. Despite the fact that text messaging doesn’t require both parties to be connected at the same time like a phone call does, there is a sense that you should constantly monitor your phone in case someone sends you a text. When you don’t get a text returned right away, you might as well be at the dentist getting a root canal, it’s that painful.
4. Online dating is like an MLS for people’s romantic lives, and there are a lot of similarities to the one for houses. They never look as good as they do in the picture for a start and everyone is looking for the same thing: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 car garage on a cul-de-sac translates to: attractive, funny, successful, loves good wine and food, active, fit, generous and kind. And now you can even hire people to write your profile for you. It was only a matter of time before this MLS attracted realtors.
5. Dating is the only time where you are both the buyer and the seller. Therefore you think you are perfect and want to get the most bang for your buck.
6. Making your relationship official by changing your status on Facebook is the kiss of death. If you have any sort of jealous streak, count on it rearing its ugly head as soon as you see a photo of him at happy hour with those co-workers he’s just “friends” with.
7.When you are not interested in someone you can just block their call, or send the short “nice knowing you” text or email. No need for that awkward breakup conversation, where you might have to answer those hard questions like “why?” or “what happened?”. After all, you have to stay on top of your Facebook messages and friend requests, answer LinkedIn invitations from people who most likely will never help you in business, or send out meaningless tweets to your 10 followers. Oh yeah, don’t forget about Instagram and Pinterest. People are counting on you for your recommendations and favorite recipes.
8. In the old days when you wanted to break up with someone you would let them down gently by saying “it’s not you, it’s me”. The new way to end things is to make it easy for them to break up with you instead, alleviating any guilt on your part for leading them on, using them for free sex or food and other reasons to stay in a relationship longer than you should. All you have to do is leave your browsing history up or let him/her go through your phone, or post a too-cozy picture on your Facebook page. They are sure to find something suspicious that makes them mad enough to send you that break up text.
9. Last but not least, all this technology leaves us feeling like the dating world is something like a massive eBay auction. While the person we are with is pretty good, certainly we can do better because we have so many options. Why settle for attractive, funny, successful, loves good wine and food, active, fit, generous and kind when there could be someone who attractive, funny, successful, loves good wine and food, active, fit, generous and kind and looks like Giselle Bunchen, loves to go shopping, hates football, doesn’t care if you gain weight, loves to watch reality shows with you and can’t wait to go shoot a buck with you at 5:30am on a Saturday? I bet, if we dig through enough profiles, we can find the bigger, better thing.
Well, the reality of all of this technological innovation is that, while communication styles may have changed, dating and relationships are still built and nurtured the same old-fashioned way. Love is about face to face interaction. After all, that is the only way to determine chemistry. Frankly, while my client’s weddings are getting more and more connected to social media, nobody texts “I do.” Some things only work when you actually talk to one another. Human beings are at our core extremely social animals, and we crave the physical and emotional interaction that we can only get while in the presence of other humans.
We need more than just their electronic words, and need to engage all of our senses from reading their facial expressions, bathing in their eye contact, hearing the sound of their voice, feeling their touch and breathing in the smell of their closeness. Spending time liking friending, linking, tweeting, pinning, and tapping may feel like you are connecting to others, but it may actually make your life even more isolated. Reading even a very heartfelt “LYL” text just can’t compare to someone who looks in your eyes, touches your hand and says, “I love you”.
So get off the computer and get out there in the real world where you could actually find the person of your dreams in the flesh, not a virtual persona that will surely disappoint you. Trust me. There is a huge universe of people just like you who are looking for the same thing. #offlineworks.
Want more dating advice? Read On to find out top dating mistakes that may be holding you back…