Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Online dating.
All this online communication is fascinating and even preferred for an introvert such as myself. So many of us prefer communicating behind the walls of our PC or through our phones. But why? I enjoy beginning communication online but I also look forward to moving that communication to face-to-face encounters.
I’m finding more and more, especially over the last 18 months or so, that the communication seems more hostile. Angry. People saying things to each other over the internet that they absolutely would not say to someone’s face. It makes me uncomfortable. I spend a good amount of time hiding posts, unfriending and blocking people. As in real life, my online circle is also very small.
Then there is online dating.
Remember back in high school if a boy liked you he just came up to you and started talking to you? What happened to that? He’d ask your name, tell you that you’re cute, ask if you were going to the game that weekend and maybe ask for your phone number. It was nice.
Why are men so afraid to approach women in the 21st century? I wonder, is it actually fear or is it something else? Is it that online access is so easy that they don’t see the need to work a little harder in person? Is it that you can pretend to be anyone you want online and stall the in-person meeting until the other person is convinced they “know” you? I don’t know the answer but it just seems like all this technology makes cowards out of us.
I met my boyfriend online. I tried the traditional way but since I’m not comfortable being the pursuer I put myself in a position where I had to wait to be pursued. It didn’t happen so I joined the online community. The one thing I did appreciate about the process (this time) was that my boyfriend did not want to spend a lot of time online. We had one phone conversation and met face-to-face the very next day. He felt, and I agreed, that in order for us to pursue a relationship we needed to meet – just like we would have 30 thirty years ago. Again, fascinating because we live in the same neighborhood, go to the same church, go to the same gym and we probably shopped at the same grocery store and never met. We may have passed each other on a regular basis and didn’t meet. But, once we decided to create online profiles on the same dating site – we meet. We could spend time getting all deep and philosophical saying things like, “we had to wait until we were ready for each other” – which may be true – but still …
I would argue that we, and the millions of people who choose online dating, are not cowards but people who are responding to present day circumstances.
I miss the old days. The days when people looked you in the eye and attempted real, meaningful connections with each other. The days when you got together with close friends on the weekends and just sat, talked, laughed and maybe enjoyed an adult beverage or two. These days our interactions are so superficial and on the surface that I would just rather be alone.
All this posting, tweeting, re-tweeting, liking, sharing, commenting and even texting is exhausting. And even though I hate talking on the phone I would rather have a real telephone conversation with a friend than an online exchange with a stranger.
The times have definitely changed and I’m not sure it is for the better.