Flirtation 2.0 (#fail)
Technology is making us lazy when it comes to our love lives.
And no, I’m not talking about online dating, where you can say yay or nay to potential mates with only a few clicks. It’s much broader than that. The way we flirt, follow up and even break up has fundamentally changed. Our text messaging addictions and the advent of soundbite-centric social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz have made us less aggressive and more passive. Less direct and more ambiguous. And instead of social media making our dating lives more connected, we are stuck with a serious disconnect between what we want and what we communicate.
Let’s take the super simple example of asking someone out. In the not-so-distant past, this required an invariably awkward phone call, or even (gasp!) an in-person invitation. Nowadays, a single, magical word via SMS will suffice: “drinks?” A colleague/gal pal received a very romantic (sarcasm) text message today requesting her company on a first date. She joked about it…and then she accepted.
I’m not judging. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. Of course, by reciprocating these lazy gestures we’re condoning them, but it’s much easier to shrug it off and say yes than to take a stand. Especially in tech-savvy San Francisco, to refuse digital overtures is to condemn oneself to spinsterhood.
And to be honest, I’ve done far worse than continuing or initiating a conversation with a text or tweet instead of a phone call. I have crafted gchat and Facebook statuses designed to elicit a response from a specific person, but of course shared across my respective networks. For shame. (Disclaimer: while pathetic, this approach has actually worked on several occasions.)
For people like me who seldom know what they want, and don’t want to want it until someone else wants it first (read that slowly), tools like texting, twitter and gchat are an enticing cop-out from legitimate communication. They’re also great for people who don’t really give a damn. The problem is, it’s impossible to tell apart the texts “Dinner tonight?” (because I really really like you but I’m terrified of calling) from “Dinner tonight?” (because I’m bored and don’t want to buy groceries).
I love romantic intrigue as much as the next girl, but sometimes I wish dating were a little more explicit. It would be nice to know when someone is genuinely interested, and frankly, I’d prefer to get my feelings hurt with an “I’m just not that into you” rejection, rather than waste time interpreting ambiguity.
Of course, I should start by practicing what I preach…which isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Especially when I’m seeing such great results with Gchat :P
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