Today, I want you to take a little trip back in time to when I was in college…way back in the ‘90s. At the beginning of my sophomore year, a guy walked into Dante’s (my cool campus job) and after a malt, cheesy popcorn and lots of witty banter, I was crushin’ pretty hard. The problem was that I only knew his name and a little about him. So, I did what every other lady did back then: used Nancy Drew-like sleuthing skills (that would have impressed the CIA) and got to work. It took about two weeks, but I discovered which dorm he lived in, his major, that he was on swim team and a few other small details. I also found out, with a little help from Lady Luck, that he had a long-time girlfriend at another school. Although I was slightly bummed, it was fun to have a little crush, talk about it with my friends and keep my skills sharp in case the CIA ever did come a knockin’.
Fast forward to now and think about the exact same situation. If I would have met him today, within 10 minutes I would know all the info above, including details like The Hangover is his favorite movie, he is into indie rock and has a love for old school rap, that he no interest in politics and seems to love roller coasters, taco bell and Megan Fox. I would have also seen pics of his friends (kinda dorky), his family dog (cute) as well as what could be his current or ex-girlfriend (boo). If I dig a little deeper, I can find out that he is a regular on gaming sites and loves to debate the evil of mainstream music and the record companies. Plus, it’s easy to find nearly seven different ways to contact him. Without even talking to him, I can follow his daily life and let the crush bloom into full blown smitten.
This is where we buy the ticket for the crazy train.
I’m the first to admit that I’m little addicted to “the Facebook” – and I’ve also joked that I’m dating my Mac, judging by the amount of time I spend with it – but I wonder if this constant availability is really helping us when it comes to dating. Knowing everything about a person – without having more than a 20-minute conversation with him or her – allows our minds to judge (I don’t want to date a gamer) or create unrealistic expectations and hopes for someone we barely know (he loves dogs … I love dogs!). Then, when we don’t get that text, call, e-mail, or instant message, we’re devastated and it does a number on our self-esteem.
It’s not your fault.
Technology has completely changed the way we communicate – and not necessarily for the better. The bigger downside is that your generation has been left to figure it all out. Yay for you!
But technology doesn’t have to ruin your love life. Here are three ways to keep it under control.
1. If you can’t say it face-to-face, don’t text, e-mail, IM or Facebook it. Many times we choose technology as a way to express our deepest feelings because it creates a wall of safety. Not having to see the other persons reactions allow us to feel that rejection won’t hurt as much. However, we’re losing out on the 60% of our communication that happens tough body language. leaving us to take away only our perspective of the “conversation,” which leads to a lot of miscommunication and hurt feelings.
Just remember, before you send anything to your crush, make sure that it is something that you could look him or her in the eye and say. Otherwise, save it until you can.
2. Wait to become a “friend.” I was super offended when a guy that I had went on a few dates with didn’t accept my friend request. Hello! We were making out, the least he could do is pretend to like me on Facebook. (Sound familiar?) Once the kissing stopped and we became real friends, I asked him about it and he said that it is too easy to judge and jump to conclusions from someone’s profile and photos. He wanted the people he dated to get to know him – not just what he seemed like on his profile. Smart words.
Extra bonus – it keeps cyber stalking to a minimum and you, off the crazy train.
3. Find time to put away the technology. Seriously. Texting is a severely flawed method of communication – and you end up spending 80% of your time asking your friends, “what do you think that means?” Over-analzying a text message will only drive you crazy. Besides, when you’re constantly talking, texting, listening to your iPod, and working on your laptop, you are missing the real life connections that start great relationships. How can you notice that smile or give someone the “OK” for an approach if you are too busy playing Angry Birds?
In short, it is OK to love your technology….just don’t use your technology for love.
Want to hear more about the complicated world of dating with technology? Help bring Kira to speak at your school and get your own “Dating Coach for a Day! Coolest accessory you can have:)