I was with this guy for over a year or so. It wasn’t anything serious at first, but when we finally got to that point, I asked him if he wanted to take it to the next level and ‘he had to think about it’ as ‘he didn’t want to ruin our friendship’, much like a recent episode of The Mindy Project when Danny Castellano broke up with Mindy. I was crying in bed screaming “you fucking coward!!” at my laptop until my housemate came in. She came in and snuggled into bed with me and told me how she had been stood up by the guy she’s dating too; he ‘was feeling ill, ‘cause he went out last night’. We sat and drank cheap rose and asked ourselves how come the guys in our lives can’t see how wonderful we are?
Later that night, my housemate came running back into my bedroom, telling me her date had just tweeted about how he was out at a dinner eating some type of fancy looking steak. “But he is meant to be hungover!” she said. And just like that, the house of cards of dating and technology came crumbling down.
One of the things that frustrate me the most about dating is the lack of personal communication. Communication is a key ingredient in any healthy relationship, but are we getting too much of it? Is the information super highway taking the magic out of romance? Between Facebook, Twitter, Watsapp, Instagram, snapchat, Viber and so many more, you’d think we definitely have the capability to communicate — we just don’t seem be using them properly.
If it wasn’t for the fact I live halfway across the world from my family and friends, I don’t think I would be half as addicted to social media and modern technology as much as I am today. And I do admit that when I go a day without my phone, it does feel like I left the house without wearing a bra. (A whole day without comfort and support? I don’t think so.) I even admit I’ve left my house without my iPhone one day, got to the train station, and walked 10 minutes back just to pick it up because I couldn’t bear the thought of catching the train without it. So I’m not in a proper position to judge how you spend your time alone with your smart phones.
The reason for the addiction is basic: Facebook and Twitter and others make us feel like we are our own personal celebrity. We literally have hundreds of followers and friends who see everything we do and everything we have ever done. It is not uncommon to ask someone for their Facebook before you even ask for their number, which is throwing the concept of getting to know someone first straight out the window.
And now with the introduction of Tinder, you don’t even need to pick someone up face to face. All you need to do is swipe right, thus breaking down a fundamental step of getting to know someone. And where do we go from here? You have both swiped right and one of you made the first move to make contact and so far the banter is so good, you have decided to swap numbers and chat. But this is where is gets really complicated… do you text, watsapp, or viber? Texting almost seems kind of old fashion & traditional now, whereas with watsapp and viber, you have the opportunity to see when they are online, read their message and even — if you’re lucky — another photo of them so you can really suss out what they look like.
But at the same time, that is the problem with watsapp and even Facebook chat now, is that you can see when the person has been online. You can see when they have read the message and you sit there and wonder why haven’t they responded yet? Maybe it’s only an hour, or maybe it’s been a day or worse a week? You sit there and check your phone every hour or so, and you’re not allowed to message again because you wrote the last message and now you’re looking too needy…. Right?
So what about a casual snapchat instead? You send a photo of you with a sad face with the caption “bored”. You send it to them… who knows who else you sent it to? You just really want to grab their attention. But really you are actually a little bored right now, and because you’re like them, you need your usual fix. You do what any rational person does and decides to go for an ‘old fashion’ Facebook Stalk.
Alright, now the almighty and ever present conqueror of all social media, Facebook. With great power comes great responsibility. Facebook can literally bring two people together, as well as end a relationship before it even started so fast, it will make your head spin. All it takes is maybe one or too many clicks backwards during your Facebook stalk to find a bad haircut, terrible fancy dress costume, a couple of fun summer photos and there you are on a land mine of the ex. A collection of cute photos of them together dated early 2013. One from the beach, another at a music festival, a super cute one of them at probably their ex’s cousins 6th birthday and then that awkward selfie of them kissing. An irrational jealous pang goes through your chest. It’s like a bad car accident, you can’t look but you can’t look away.
So what are we supposed to do now? We have become so accustom to this way of life. Meeting and greeting, socializing without actually being social. How do we get the mystery back? The addiction is constantly present with us, but somehow feels amplified when we are in those early stages of dating. We do want to know what they are doing and where they are going, and know what they are saying and if they are lying to us. But is it all a little too much? Not even 5 years ago, we didn’t have all of this and we still played by the ‘wait 3 days’ rule after we took someone out for a date. Now if you don’t get a message within 30 minutes of leaving saying how much of a great time they had, we would automatically assume it was terrible. Do we need to make new rules now when it comes to dating in the new age? And who is supposed to make them?