July 20, 2012 at 11:34 am EDT | by Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg
Text and subtext

We were interviewed last week on a popular radio show in Los Angeles and one of the topics discussed was how technology has changed dating in the modern world.

This is an issue we see often with our clients in that some singles hide behind their computer screens or smartphones when unsure of how to pursue a new relationship effectively. Navigating the dating rules in this day and age can be confusing, so we hope to shed light on the topic and help others understand when and how technology can ruin the dating game.

Clients and other singles misuse texting as a way of effective communication. Texting is easy and can be done on the go, between meetings or while ordering a coffee. It seems this would be a great way to reply to someone you are dating because of how efficient it is, but it’s actually a terrible way to communicate, for a number of reasons.

Text messages can so easily be misunderstood and daters could potentially spend hours analyzing one text that could have multiple meanings. Tone is so important when communicating and this simply cannot be expressed over text message. As we all know, great communication is the key to a successful relationship, so why rely on your message getting misunderstood by texting? This, unfortunately, is the way many singles tell their mates they’re not interested, by being passive aggressive and saying they “didn’t get your text”  and letting the new relationship slip off to the side.

Breaking up over text message makes one look as if (s)he didn’t care enough about the other person to even give the courtesy of picking up the phone to say that the relationship isn’t working. It’s immature. Texting can be used in dating when confirming a place/time to meet or to confirm a time to speak on the phone and that’s pretty much it. Don’t forget the old fashioned way of dating — pick up the phone and ask someone out, see how their day is, plan a date together. Engaging in conversation builds a bond, so don’t cop out and text your way through your new relationship.

The success of online dating sites has had a huge influence on how singles navigate new relationships.  Dating online can be great for many — anyone can set up a profile, peruse the site for matches and have a date within days (or hours, with some websites or smartphone applications). This is an efficient way for someone to get out there who hasn’t dated in a long time — going on a lot of online dates can be great practice and help those new to dating get their feet wet. But a huge problem exists, besides of the lack of second dates many people experience when dating online.

People often hide behind their profiles, literally and figuratively. Some profiles online are just that — online only to engage others over email or just so they can view other singles on the site. Others set up profiles that aren’t fully true, whether they upload a 10-year-old photo or unfortunately brag about what they have to offer a partner (which could also be totally false). Some set up profiles that describe how they perceive themselves and it’s not who they really are at their core.

It’s easy to hide behind your computer, however those truly interested in dating and finding a long-term relationship suffer from the lack of accountability of many online daters. Another issue with dating online is that “the grass is always greener” syndrome is extremely prevalent in the minds of online daters and it’s hard to tell who is really relationship ready. How to avoid this? Consider getting yourself out there in the community to date, join new groups or work with a dating coach. Dating online can be successful for many, but be weary of who is actually lurking behind the screen.

Remember, get back to basics. Dating is much easier when there is more face-to-face interaction. Call, don’t text. Engage your date, don’t Google her/him. Don’t let technology block you from establishing a lasting connection.

Novinskie and Rosenberg can be reached at info@mixologydc.com or at Facebook at facebook.com/mixology.


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