The way we live today does not allow serendipity to work as well as it used to. People are always on the move, hopping from country to country and farther away from a centralized social life. When you’re living in a city of +100,000 the likelihood that you’re going to bump into your soul mate is very low. To solve this problem we have created online dating.
With online dating, from the comfort of your home, you can find the people who are out there looking for someone like you. It is the most convenient way to satisfy one of life’s most basic drives. Unfortunately, it is also happens to be the most convenient way to ensure you never get a date with anyone except Madame Palm and her 5 daughters.
Because online dating is online, you lose most of the subtle attraction cues that you get when meeting people face to face. If you’re a trickster you can hide your devious side with a witty blurb and an unassuming profile picture. If you’re a sweet and honest person, you could obscure that with an awkward about me or an off putting profile picture. The online vetting process happens so quickly that you must put your best foot forward at all times or you risk getting the dreaded “next!”
If you can successfully navigate the world and find yourself a mate, technology can help you keep in touch with your partner in ways you never could before. If you’re feeling lonely simply fire up your webcam and say hi to your loved one over Skype. You can chat with them on AIM, poke each other on Facebook, play pool on Yahoo!, watch movies on Netflix, and whoop his or her monkey ass in some street hoops via the PS3 or XBOX360.
With so many awesome ways to keep in touch, what happens when you are alone with your partner and others want to keep in touch? Too often, we put our partners on the back burner. This is a problem easily solved, but rarely recognized. Even though I sleep with my cell phone face up on the nightstand and my laptop on my bed, I do suggest that couples, and groups, need time together where they are free from fear of digital disruption. Technology does keep you touch, but it is that real face to face time that helps you build intimacy, which helps to solidify relationships.
Digital communication is the major culprit in many modern romantic maladies because it has yet to replicate the human experience. When we speak to one another in person, there is a flurry of inputs happening at once. Sights, smells, sounds, tastes, & touches, all of our senses firing at once connected to another person.
When it comes to digital communication, all your senses are still firing. However, they are connected to the sight of finger prints on your touch screen, sound of the loud fan on your desktop pc, the smell of the skunk outside your window, the taste of the food you wish had more salt, & the touch of your rough bed sheets. All of that negative input becomes a part of your memory as it corresponds to your partner. While it will not turn you sour by itself, small things add up.
Small things like a miscommunication via text message. For the building and advancement of long-term relationships, text messaging is the worst tool you can possibly use. I write for a living, which means that I have a pretty good grasp on how to turn a phrase, flip it up and rub it down. However, even I find it difficult to read or write anything of substance in 160 characters on a 3” screen. “lol omg gtfo lqtm <3 l8r” just does not have the same effect of “Wow, really!? That’s crazy. Well I have to be off, I love you. I will talk to you tonight, when I get home.”
Text messaging is a convenient, simple, and quick way to keep in touch. However, it should not be a primary or secondary form of communication, if you want your relationship to last. Then again, if it’s all you have, it’s better than nothing. Having no communication is much worse.
The whole of the human emotion and expression cannot be truncated into a few bits. When we try to force it, we leave out those intangible bits that make a world of difference. When it comes to improving your relationship with technology, you must have a balance. No technology can ever fully replace the face to face time that is so important.
I’ve long been a technophile and I really do believe that technology will be the greatest contribution that man will make to the planet earth. Just to think of how amazing technology is makes me as giddy as a 6-year-old version of me in a library. Even with all of technology’s silicone awesomeness, it does come with many drawbacks as well. If your relationships are to survive in the 21st century, you must take heed.
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