Is Technology Ruining Traditional Dating?


texting

It is nearly impossible to live in today’s society and not be affected by technology in its various forms. Thanks to my smartphone, my friends and family can reach me by calling, texting, emailing, messaging, or video chatting, whether I’m home, at work, or out food shopping.

I’d like to believe that the purpose of technology is to make our lives a little easier, but more and more it seems like technology is seeping into our lives and changing the way we communicate.

I’m guilty of it too. Rather than call a girlfriend to make plans, I’ll just text her. Does this make planning any easier? No, but it requires less engagement. Even posting on a friend’s Facebook wall requires minimal action. I love the ego boost I get through the “likes” and comments from others, but is this meaningful communication or meaningless chatter?

While I’m at work, I can carry on simultaneous conversations with online friends and with my co-workers. This constant bombardment of access has only led to less formality in our dealings with others, and unfortunately this trickles down into the dating scene.

The New York Times article, The End of Courtship?, claimed that young singles “rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Men no longer have to make a phone call to ask a woman out on a date; plans can be made by text. It has become so easy—and acceptable—to communicate in a casual way, that it’s no wonder people are confused. The idea of putting an effort into a date—even down to how to ask a woman out—has almost vanished in our society. Technology has made it so easy to make contact, that we don’t bother to abide by simple rules of etiquette. It seems like the easier our lives are made, the lazier we become.

The constant access to our phones and computers should be used to help us in our relationships with others, not hinder them. Using an online dating site can be a great tool for singles whose lives are filled with work and family obligations to meet new people. While it’s not completely fair to judge someone based on their Internet presence, it’s nice to know what someone looks like and whether he loves watching 30 Rock. Additionally, participating in the forums found on CatholicMatch can start new friendships with other like-minded singles.

The Internet is a great starting place for Catholics to look for a spouse, but as we learned from Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend, it is just a starting place. Relationships aren’t meant to be carried out online. We are body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God himself. I encourage us to recognize the dignity in every person and let that reflect in how we communicate with them. 






6 Comments

  1. Maria-846262 January 25, 2013 Reply

    I feel very much like technology definitely has changed everything in our life and modern dating certainly seems very different because of technology. Technology does have its advantanges, but at the same token, I feel that technology is not allowing people to communicate as well as, say the lack of technology did years ago. Mind you, I am an “old timer” and dating and precepts about dating have certainly changed since I was doing it many years ago. I do like technology and was one of the first people to embrace it when it started creeping into our lives in the 80’s. I used it at work, so why not use it at home? AS soon as it was possible, I went to buy a home computer – they certainly seemed intimidating them, immediately signed up for AOL and got an email address I could give to people to write. I took a class and learned all the DOS language, just so that I could manipulate the computer and “tell it” to do things. It seemed complicated, but it was a lot of fun – and I am every so grateful to have learned DOS and know how to give my computer a command. I bought many educational software packages and fun games for my kids and as soon as I they were able to sit in front of the computer and hold their attention, they were in front of it, playing games and tapping away at the keyboard. It was fun; it was great.
    Going back to modern times and dating, I immediately latched on the couple of words that the writer wrote at the beginning of this post , which are: “it does not make my planning easier, but it takes less engagement.” And that, right therein lies the problem. The “less engagement” part. It seems to me, that when you like and care about someone, you want to be more, not less engaged with this person. I remember the days when we girls, waited all day and into the evening hours just to get that phone call from that special someone that we knew would call, so that we could have a close and engaged conversation about our lives. And, certainly the telephone was the next best thing to being there, in person, with that person you wanted to be with.
    It certainly is convenient to carry a cellular phone around with you all the time. People can reach you anywhere, at any time; the problem is you may not actually be looking forward to having an outing interrupted, and or talk to the person calling. While it’s convenient, I certainly chose to leave my cell phone at home when I go out sometimes. On purpose. I want to have a time out, a time by myself, away from people and the phone. I hated it when my grown children started texting me. First, I felt intimidated byy the texting language and frankly, the brevity of it all was just not my “cup of tea.” I kept telling them to call me. “just pick up the phone and call me” instead of texting me. I don’t like it.” Their replies were something like “I will, mom, I just don’t have time right now and just want to say “hi”. We’ll talk later.” I appreciated their effort, but texting to me is still a very impersonal and faulty way to communicate with someone.
    Nothing, absolutely nothing replaces a face to face meeting with a friend, a family member, and certainly not someone you really care about and whose eyes, smile and body language you want to see while communicating. If meeting in person are not possible, then I think the next best thing is to talk to someone on the phone. At the very least you can actually hear their voice and its inflection, which tell you a lot about the conversation you are having. “I want to hear that smile in your voice over the phone” an old boss use to tell us.
    I think there is a time and place for all the technology, but I also feel that we are overusing it these days and it will soon lose all its charm, as it becomes more of a hindrance to truly connecting with people. And, don’t get me wrong; I write plenty of emails to my friends and family, I check on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts everyday. I have a Smartphone where you can call me, text me, or email me on any of three accounts that I have. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with my phone, which started a few years ago, in the 90’s, when my boss gave us our first Blackberries, which essentially allowed us to work all the time, 24/7 – and, I did that. I was catching up with emails and responding until way past midnight and “up and at ‘em” again at 6:30 a.m., so that I knew everything about everything that was going on long before I got to work at around 8:30 a.m. And, once people knew you actually read and responded to emails at midnight, they were relentless in their pursuit to get you at all hours and respond to them before the light of the next day.
    There is a place for technology in our everyday modern lives; however, I feel we are getting into a dangerous zone, when we cannot be detached, even for a couple of hours from our cells, computers, pads, to just simply enjoy life, have a quiet walk in the park and or enjoy a lunch with our favorite someone. Overall, I think they are a convenient, but ineffective way to communicate with people in general, but even worse to communicate with someone special. I know the younger generation disagrees with me, as I’ve been told that “it’s boring and a hassle to actually call someone on the phone and people prefer to text somebody to say, “it was nice knowing you, but I think we better call it quits.” rather than tell them in person.

  2. Patrick-341178 January 25, 2013 Reply

    Excellent post – so true. I had a similar “conversation” on facebook about that very ny times article you mentioned. Many of the women bemoaned that traditional courtship was over. Although I can understand that, is it really that big of deal? I told them that men are now more comfortable than ever asking women out. As long as a guy is sincere in asking a woman out over a text, email, fb messsage, whatever, that is what is most important. Men would have done the same things in the past if this technology existed. Dating has changed for both the better and the worse, but it is what it is, so both men and women should just accept it.

  3. Kathryn-786593 January 26, 2013 Reply

    We each have the power to choose the way we communicate and interact. Just because it is common to use less formal means of communication doesn’t mean that everyone does or that we must give up hope for more intentional and civil relationships. The NYT article is descriptive of certain types of people and dating behavior, but those behaviors are not universal. Many adults still expect the courtesy of thoughtful, face-to-face communication in both personal and professional life.

    When a woman offers a phone number, I think it’s still a good idea to assume she is inviting a phone call. (And that’s a good sign for a first step in getting to know somebody!) She may not mean to be inviting all-hours access by mobile device–yet. (Wait until you know each other slightly better; these things progress naturally!) Many women do appreciate keeping their “technological space” when first getting to know someone.

    As in all relationships, personal and professional, it’s courteous to pay attention to people’s cues and to show courtesy from the very beginning of the first impression you’ll both create.

  4. James-404829 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Dating is not, was not, nor ever will be Traditional.

  5. Joe-966979 May 1, 2013 Reply

    Well said, I agree 100% I’m 39 now and started to notice this problem when I was around 35. Someone recently agreed with me and made the comment ” I’ve been made to feel that I’m weird because I prefer to talk on the phone as oppose to text.” We’ve found a way to be connected to people and still remain at a distance. Connection without commitment so to speak. I’m not anti technology it has it’s benefits, but I’ve noticed people hide behind their messages be it email, text, or a social networking website. it’s easy to lie when you’re not face to face. I think it’s sad and it will never lead to a healthy relationship.

  6. “The Internet is a great starting place for Catholics to look for a spouse, but as we learned from Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend, it is just a starting place. Relationships aren’t meant to be carried out online. We are body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God himself. I encourage us to recognize the dignity in every person and let that reflect in how we communicate with them”

    This last paragraph struck me. Especially that part where the “body and soul” words came out.

    Im guilty about being way too open on my facebook. After all, i TRY not to add people whom i do not know and i do not feel safe. But in this world, when do we say we are safe?
    I have been talking on skype with someone i met online. And we pray together. Something that i have not done with anyone before. And i feel safe with him. Opening my life, my family to him. For me, it is our way of “dating” since we live continents apart. The thing that worries me though is that he does not get “personal” with me which scares me… And which makes me feel i am expecting way too much from us. I can live with a long distance relationship… Or a long distance journey until we go on a real date… But im too confused ow if he really plans on doing so since he makes me feel i am just too convenient for him – my facebook always online, my yahoo messenger too, and even my skype schedules. He does not even email me. Which for me is more personal.
    So yes, these technologies may ruin the real thing. But i guess, it can only ruin it if we, users, allow these to ruin US.

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