Technology and Dating Part 1: To Text or Not to Text
I highly doubt that anyone under the age of 25 has ever received a love letter unless it was one of those cheesy grade school love notes that said something to the effect of, “Will you go out with me? Check Yes or No”. And even these are becoming obsolete as children are getting their first cell phones at a younger age. Technology has completely destroyed the delicate tradition of pen and paper romance. Yet there are still many advantages to using technology in the “wooing” process. In this three-part article, we’ll discus the pros and cons of texting, instant messaging, emailing, video chatting and social networking when it comes to modern dating techniques.
Like most other things in our world today, the pace of dating and relationships has picked up. Gone are the days of “courting” for two years before proposing and then waiting yet another year to get married. Either people are too busy to even consider marriage, or they jump in too quickly so that dating and marriage matches the pace of the rest of their super-speed lives. Technology is to blame for both of these conditions. So how can you properly use technology, without letting it control you, when it comes to dating?
First, let’s attempt to conquer the texting monster. Regular phone calls are nearly obsolete. In the olden days, the guy would call up the girl, ask her how she was, and see if she would be available to go out to a show the next weekend. He would give her at least a few days notice and anxiously await his date all week long. Nowadays, there is no courtesy call, just a few lines of a text message saying, “going to the movies, want to come?” Not very romantic, is it? For an already-established dating relationship, this wouldn’t as heinous of a crime, but for first dates and new relationships, texts should be handled with care. And once in a while, they should be foregone completely in lieu of making a formal invitation by means of an actual phone call. Taking time out of your busy schedule to make the call will be more demonstrative of your interest than sending a text between stopping at red lights on your way to work.
There are two main benefits to texting, however. First, texting allows you to quickly and concisely confirm plans. Phone calls can be awkward when you have to go through all of the formalities, just to confirm a date. Second, texting allows the guy to send the follow-up text. It has quickly become the standard practice for guys to send a “Thanks for the date tonight” text once he’s dropped the girl off. The follow-up text can mean the difference between never seeing someone again and a second date. It has become so common nowadays, that if a girl doesn’t receive the text, she can safely assume that the guy didn’t have much interest.
Stay tuned for the next part of this article when we’ll discuss instant messaging, email and video chatting, all of which play integral roles in the modern-age of dating!
Technology and Dating Part 2: Instant Messaging, Email, and Video Chats
Last article we talked about text messaging and dating. In this second part, we will address the implications of instant messaging, emailing, and video chatting in your love life. For the most part, they can help the dating process progress, so long as they aren’t used in lieu of actual face-to-face time.
I think I would have to offer my biased opinion that instant messaging and emailing are definitely a step up from text messaging. I would much rather be asked out on a date through a messaging service then a 160-character or less text message. On the other hand, instant messaging and video chatting are great ways to communicate with someone you have interest in. And they are especially handy if you don’t live close to your significant other.
Emails can be an excellent source of communication in dating. If you are away on vacation and don’t have time to call, you may at least be abel to send a quick email. Or perhaps you don’t want to disturb someone during their work or school day by sending a text message, but you just have the urge to communicate with them—send an email instead. And honestly, with Smartphones and iPhones being used by pretty much everyone now, emails appear just as quickly as a text message, just without causing your butt to vibrate.
There is a second benefit to sending an email that I want to address. If you have a particularly sensitive issue to discuss with your love interest/significant other, send it through an email. Often these sensitive items are hard to discuss in person if you don’t know someone very well yet. They are usually too important for a text or instant message conversation because you want to really think about your wording and its possible effect on the other person. By sending an email, you will have all the time you need to compose your message, as well as giving the other person time to think about their response and respond in like manner.
Video chatting is probably the most invasive form of technological communication because it allows the other person to see your face, and even surroundings, while you talk. Basically, video chatting is like a high-class phone call. The only thing it lacks is physical proximity, a very important factor in most relationships. However, it can serve many useful purposes as you work to connect with your significant other while one or the other of you is at a distance greater than is possible to be travelled in the moment.
Instant messaging, email and video chat can be great for more formal and serious conversations. Asking someone out through one of these mediums would be very acceptable in today’s highly-technological world. In Part 3 of this article we’ll discuss the influence of Facebook and other social media on the dating scene. What’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to sharing your relationship to all your friends and family?
Technology and Dating Part 3: Facebook—Stalking, Flirting and Becoming Facebook Official
We know from the previous two parts of this article that texting, instant messaging, emailing and video chatting, as concerns dating, are becoming nearly inseparable. But there is one other factor of dating and relationships that is becoming an issue among daters: Facebook. More than one relationship has been started, or even ended, because of Facebook.
Let’s first address the issue of the Facebook stalker. I think we can all safely admit that we are Facebook stalkers. And while it’s fun to use the word “stalker” it’s really not stalking if people, of their own free will and choice, decide to post public pictures of themselves doing something embarrassing or cuddling with an ex-partner. If they don’t want people to know, then they shouldn’t post it. Thus, feel free to Facebook stalk as much as you want.
Facebook stalking can help in many ways with dating. First, it can tell you if someone you’re interested in is single or not. This can be tricky sometimes since many people choose not to post an official relationship status, which we will discuss further below. However, if you take a quick browse through their picture collection you maybe be able to discern if there is a “special someone” in their life. You will also be able to learn about their hobbies, interests, favorite movies, and how they interact with their friends and family. Some of these things can be important to know before starting a relationship, and especially as you continue to develop one. Facebook can be a powerful tool in progressing a relationship.
Facebook flirting is also immensely useful if you are too shy to talk to someone in person. Just as we discussed with instant messaging and texting, it can allow the shy person to finally ask you out, or to at least make an attempt at flirting. While flirting face-to-face is clearly the best option, for some people it may take a little warming up through technological mediums before they can advance to the major league of real-life flirting. I think it’s safe to say that Facebook is an important dating tool for the current generation. And I suppose that Twitter can also be considered right up there with Facebook when it comes to dating, even though I’m not much of a subscriber to the constant flow of useless tweets.
Now let’s address the issue of the Facebook relationship status. The significance of the modern-day adage, “Facebook official” is understood by even older generations. When a couple is Facebook official it means they are willing to let the world know of their “love”. Many concerns arise as to when to make a relationship Facebook official. People who wear their heart on their sleeve and tend to be more romantic want to shout it from the rooftops that they are now in a relationship. Depending on their partner, this may be successful or not. Some people want to make sure a relationship is firmly in place before they publish it on the world-wide web. Others don’t want it published until they are engaged or married. Before making anything “Facebook official”, you would be wise to consult with the other party involved.
All in all, technology has streamlined the dating process by allowing you to get to know another person on “paper” before you know them in reality. However, technology can never replace spending quality time with the object of your affection. Don’t let Facebook, or any technology for that matter, keep you from going out and doing real activities with a person. That is by far the best way to truly get to know someone. And you know what? There’s also nothing wrong with going a bit old-fashioned and writing a hand-written note or letter to someone. They will find it all the more valuable because of its rarity.
About the Author
Tiffani Azani is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps prospective students find online degree programs that will prepare them to work in some of the top jobs available right now.