Is Technology Hurting Our Relationships?

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In an age where technology has infiltrated all parts of our lives, including our most basic human areas (intimate relationships), we need to take a step back and ask ourselves: Is this helping us, or hurting us?

Dating apps and websites have made connecting with each other much easier — on a surface level. We can have more conversations more frequently, meet more people, and go on more dates. But why, then, are our younger generations increasingly dissatisfied with their relationships?

I think a big part of this is the fact that people [particularly younger men and women] have completely lost sight of what ‘dating’ actually means. Then again, maybe they didn’t actually lose sight of it because they never knew in the first place. Many members of the more recent generations have grown up just ‘hanging out’ with each other and calling it a relationship.

Actually going to a movie (not that that’s the best date idea…) gave way to coming over to “watch a movie” – which were essentially just code words to make the invitation sound less forward. Calling someone to actually ask her out on a date has become a last minute “Hey, want to hang out?” text that implies no effort or real meaning whatsoever.

A date is not a random, last minute invitation. When you are getting to know someone, a date should be planned. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but it should actually bear some resemblance to a series of events that you put some conscious effort into in order to ensure both parties actually enjoy themselves.

Now, we can ask someone out without even having their phone number at all. We can do it right through our dating app of choice.

Dating apps CAN be bad for dating (not always) because people are utilizing them like they’re ordering something to try off the menu. They are not humanizing the actual real life person who is on the other side of the process. It’s like any piece of technology: It can be used for good or bad, depending on the person who’s at the controls.

Dating apps give us the ability to make a quick decision — but they do not MAKE us like that. Anyone who is 100% honest with themselves will admit that they know very quickly if they’re attracted to someone or not. We gain a first impression about someone (in both business and personal settings) within just a few seconds of meeting them, BUT, typically we continue interacting a bit longer and sometimes our perception changes.

With dating apps, that’s ALL you have to go on. So within two or three seconds you’ve already swiped left or right. Maybe a bit longer if you read the person’s bio (which some people don’t even include! Why?!). After that swipe, the interaction is over and it’s on to the next person.

Without REAL interaction, whether it is a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, that person is only a figment of your imagination. You do not know how they walk, talk, smell, or sound — so you are forced to create a 3-dimensional image of him/her in your mind, and sometimes it’s not accurate.

If used right, online dating can afford us the ability to leverage our time and meet new people while we are living otherwise busy lives. But, it’s important that we use it as a connection tool and not as a relationship-building tool.

Communicating ONLY via text or dating app messaging is not a REAL investment in building a relationship. And that’s what’s missing in dating these days.

While lack of communication is contributing to the decline of dating, I don’t think there is just one thing to blame. I think we are losing social skills despite “social media” that make people more uncomfortable around one another and perhaps contribute to less of a willingness to actually form a real life connection that doesn’t require a friend request.

I think we are losing the value of commitment. We see this in the job market, we see it with technology, and we are seeing it with significant others. Everything just seems to be a placeholder to keep us busy until something better comes along. And — this is happening with ‘relationships’ too. What happened to the honor of keeping your word? The dignity of standing by someone when things get difficult? The integrity of upholding the promises you made long after the mood that you made them in, has past?

It is all declining. And we are wondering why everyone is always complaining about the opposite sex.

Our young men are also getting flooded with mixed messages. Do women want to be equal, or do they want to be courted? Is there even a conflict between the two? Can’t chivalry and equality coexist? Should he still pay for dinner? These questions can be confusing to people who have not yet defined their own answers to believe in.

But…what if you get turned down? What if you get rejected? In a society where trophies are handed out just for participating, we are not learning to lose — therefore we are not learning to identify our weaknesses and improve them.

It is all declining. And it is taking the concept of dating and courtship down with it.

Men find themselves perpetually trapped in what they call the ‘friend zone’ and wonder why. Without asking a woman on a proper date, she has no reason to believe you even want to be anything more than friends. Hanging out or even going out for drinks or spending time in groups does not send her the message that you are serious about her.

If actually conveying to the woman you are interested in that you are interested in her isn’t a good reason to invite her on a real life date, I don’t know what is.

For this reason, think about how rare it is for a woman to be asked on a date. Women get approached constantly. They get complimented constantly. They get invited to clubs and parties and events and whatevers, constantly. But do you know what the difference is? Those men are not you. Those men are not putting in the effort to actually discover who she is. Those men are not taking the time to express interest in her and to do something together that would allow you to actually have a real conversation.

Let’s be honest — a lot of men out there are just looking for short-term satisfaction. But you want more than that. Telling her isn’t enough, you’re going to have to show her.

I’m sure I am not the only one who has heard the low-hanging fruit analogy when it comes to dating. Men, in order to avoid rejection (and possibly effort), will do what is easiest. They will invite women to just hang out. They won’t approach the woman who they really want to get to know because she just might be out of his league. They will grab at the apple on the bottom branch, because hey, it’s easier.

And the whole time this is happening, the freshest fruits are in the top branches staying untouched because every man is thinking the same way. Little do they know, desirable women are probably not being asked on real dates as often as you might think.

Are you going to take the easy road and keep ‘hanging out,’ or are you going to take a chance and climb the tree? You might fall down a few times and get hurt, but you will become better on each climb to a new apple.

There are women out there waiting for someone to prove that all men are not the same. They are waiting for a man to take the initiative and invite them on a real, actual date. They are waiting for a man to climb the tree.

Is it going to be you?

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