What Has Digital Dating Done To Us?

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I’m an avid reader of The Man Repeller – in fact, I’d go as far to say that I might actually be a little obsessed. Recently, I came across an article titled ‘Ask a French Girl About Digital World Dating’ and it really stopped me in my tracks – why have the French got it so ‘together’ and why can’t the English seem to act with a little more outward dignity?

phone textingLaura, said French girl, hit the nail on the head when she said that ‘no matter how much the apps on our smart phones may allegedly simplify our lives, they tend to find a way to complicate things, too.’ Ring any bells? I thought so. The Man Repeller got it right in their description of the French as having a no nonsense approach to dating, which isn’t so much about having ‘rules’ per se, but more so being true to your own intentions. Why do we so often forget ourselves, and what we want, in favour of pleasing the other party? What happened to a little grace and self-worth?

Tinder is a paradox of the very world we live in – it’s a complete contradiction of real life, and yet people do meet and forge successful relationships from having simply swiped left and decided that this person’s face might be one they’d like to wake up next to one day. It sums up our generation, doesn’t it? Alone and on-line, but still so much more ‘connected’ than ever before. Ironic.

It’s funny, isn’t it – you carefully chose your best photos, and present yourself in a way which you hope appeals to the opposite sex. You graft at an online relationship which makes you feel connected, yet at the same time it’s almost as if this online connection only serves to widen the void.

It’s not just Tinder though – we communicate via social media which both makes life easier yet at the same time all the more complicated. It’s become so incredibly difficult to understand another person’s intentions or feelings with constant communication being both a norm and something that we demand. Why hasn’t he replied? He’s been online on WhatsApp 4 minutes ago but he hasn’t opened my message. I’m guilty of this mentality – we’ve all been there. So why can’t we just switch off and revert to traditional means of communication?

Having a phone is like having a fifth limb. Screenshots, the ability to tell someone you like their photo at the click of a ‘heart’, texting, WhatsApp – it’s just too much. Even if an action has no purposeful intention, we can form a backstory as to why so-and-so did this and what he was thinking within seconds. Psychotic? Crazy? No, just a victim of the negative effects of technology on human communication. ‘Why don’t you just call him and ask what he’s up to?’ – ‘Are you kidding?! He was on WhatsApp 5 minutes ago and I messaged him 15 minutes before that – he isn’t interested. He doesn’t want to talk to me.’ Think about it – this obsession with constant contact and communication is both detrimental to our sanity, and equally detrimental to the longevity and happiness of our relationships. When you become so obsessed with imagining the rationale behind every. last. word you lose sense of what is actually around you. Picking up the phone and calling someone to ask how their day has been has become quite the travesty – and isn’t that sad? Instead, we obsess over what time someone was last online and fabricate for ourselves a story of why they haven’t bothered to send a message. Maybe they’re just busy, or caught up at work? Or, god forbid, hanging out with friends.

Why drive yourself wild with all of these possibilities, when you could just do it the old-fashioned way and simply ask for yourself?

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I spend too much time reading The Man Repeller.

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