Sunday, November 4, 2012

Has Online Dating Gone Too Far?



Have you noticed how comfortable people are with the online world? Communicating with friends via text and Facebook, and with potential dates via online dating sites (such as Match.com, Cupid.com, eHarmony.com, etc.) now feels completely natural.

But maybe the whole online communication thing has gone too far. A recent study by the Performics marketing firm found that 40% of Americans said they felt more comfortable communicating with people online (or via a device) than in person. Almost half—49%--would rather text than call, and 30% would rather connect with their closest friends by using Facebook and other social media sites than by calling or talking in person.

Online Dating Advice
WTF?—as I might respond in a text. We’ve become a nation of people who are more comfortable gazing at a tiny video screen and punching in a message with our thumbs than engrossed in a friendly, face-to-face conversation.

Another survey by Forrester says that 38% of online adults in the USA can be defined as “always accessible.” You can always reach them online or via their mobile phone! In addition, a large percentage of those who are not always accessible are so connected that they access the internet multiple times per day from multiple locations.

What’s going on here? Have we forgotten how to talk to each other? The short answer is: Yes. So if I were to summarize all of this in a piece of online dating advice, I would say this: give all of those electronic devices a rest.

Be Smarter than Your Phone
Now let me say that I am not anti-technology. I love my smart phone. I’m not sure how I could live without it. I love to use it to check sports scores and emails. And I  love using it as a phone—you know, to actually talk to someone. Sending emails and text messages and Facebook posts is a fine way to send little bits of information and send cute pictures of cats. But when you really want to communicate, you need to talk to the other person.

Am I sounding old-fashioned here? Maybe. Probably. But I’m right about this, dammit. Anyone who has read my book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Babe Magnet, is not going to be surprised to hear me say this. I’ve even got a Babe Magnet Rule about this. (You can look it up.)

Four Things You Should Never Do by Text
I feel strongly about this, so I’ve put together a short list of expert dating advice about using texts, emails and other electronic media. Here are four things you, as a single person in the dating world, should never do via text:

1. Ask someone out on a date. Men, don’t be a weenie. Call the woman up and talk with her and make her feel desirable. She will love you for it.

2. Cancel a date. Any kind of date—one that resulted from an online dating site or one that was the result of meeting someone in person. This is good advice for both men and women. If you need to cancel, make a phone call. Using a text message to cancel is the easy way out. Talking directly with the person shows the strength of your character.

3. Saying anything important. Can you imagine a world in which a man tells a woman “I Love You” for the first time via text? God, I hope not.

4. Breaking up. I have been on the receiving end of breakup emails. I know people who have sent and received breakup text messages. I think this is a chickensh*t thing to do. Sure, it’s easier. But man-up and give the woman a call. Show a little courage and integrity.

I am sure there are hundreds of other instances when talking to someone is better than sending a short, cold, impersonal text message. Please comment on this post with one kind of communication you think should NEVER be done via a text message.

Remember why they call that device in your pocket or purse a cell phone. It was designed to be used for talking to other people. Give the text function a rest and make a phone call. Better still, use the phone call to set up a face-to-face meeting. 

That’s what a date is, people. Face-to-face and in person. That’s when the chemistry happens. Chemistry NEVER EVER happens during a text message. Think about that the next time you’re about to send a text.

1 comment:

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