Wednesday, August 31, 2011

are social networks taking all of the fun out of dating?

Hey all, sorry about the lack of commenting lately, it has been a busy week! But I have alllll of tomorrow of so I am definitely going to be doing some serious catch-ups on your blogs :)

Are social networks taking all of the fun out of dating?

The short answer is yes, I believe that they do. I am not saying that social networks are bad; often they allow us to keep in touch with people we wouldn't be able to otherwise. But it terms of relationships, I have found it really beneficial to keep them out of the public sphere. Otherwise things may just get a bit boring and/or messy, as you will see in my reasons outlined below.

The Awkward, Scary ‘Asking Out’ Stage:
Gone are the days when a boy or girl would shyly come up to you and ask for your number.
 Now the new question is “can I add you on facebook?” (i.e. can I stalk your profile), or the even more subtle “what is your first and last name” (i.e. can I stalk your profile). It has taken all of the courage away from dating. A big part of growing up for me was the moment when I finally worked up the courage to approach the boy I liked and ask him out. An even bigger part of growing up for me was having to deal with the subsequent rejection. Now facebook and similar sites have made taking that first plunge much too easy. They should have to suffer like I did. It builds character.

As well as this, I know many people who have become interested in someone, only to change their minds when they look at their facebook profile. For example, the person in question might ‘like’ groups such as ‘getting maggoted’ or ‘being a jerk’; or even worse: the person  might be a horrific speller. But we are judging someone based on these very shallow public profiles, and could be missing out on someone really special if only we were to give them a go. Granted, our first facebook impressions could be right and they could like ‘being a jerk’, but the funny anecdotes after a bad date were always half the fun of dating anyway. What with the invention of social networks, people seem to be only dating others with the same interests and beliefs as themselves. Bo-ring.

The ‘Getting to Know You’ Stage:
First dates used to be the time in which you got to know the other person; their interests, hobbies and beliefs. If the date went well and you decided to see each other again, you’d continue along in this getting to know you phase. Now however, all you need to do is type in the person’s name and you can see everything about them, up to the hospital that they were born in, their hopes and dreams, and what they had for breakfast.  Not only does this completely eliminate the beginning stages of dating, but it also leads to awkward first date conversation where you both try pretend that you don’t already know every single thing about the other person.

The Ex Factor:
Your new partner’s ex used to be almost a mythical creature, much like a unicorn or a Liberal Party leader with a conscience. One that may be briefly and uncomfortably mentioned by your partner when talking about the past, or someone you might accidently stumble across in their old photo albums; but not someone that you really know all that much about. However, the problem now is that while women tend to need to get rid of old photos/burn old letters/throw bricks throw car windows to feel closure; men tend to see the break up itself as the end of it all, and forget about all of the physical relationship memorabilia that is left behind. Which is fine and all, but the issue is that photos and love letters from old flames used to be something kept sentimentally in a shoebox, or in a little folder on your computer. Now however it is all over the public sphere. If you meet your partner recently after they have a break up, there will most likely still be mushy messages from that person spread all over the front page of their profile. In my case (back in the good ol’ myspace days) there were ‘I love you’s from both myself and the ex on the same page. Which I will admit, did weird me out a little. We looked like some kind of weird polygamist group. On top of that, your new love will most likely have still up, including old photo albums for public viewing online such as ‘Me and mah gorgeous babai grl, luv you hunni, 3 months!! :D :D :D’. No new partner wants to see that pop up every time they go into their loves photo section to stare dreamily at their new catch. It’s just not pleasant.

The Break-Up:
Social networking sites mean that most breakups become public knowledge. No longer do you only call your best friends, then subtly tell other people you know in whatever time-frame you feel comfortable with; now the whole world knows when your relationship is over almost the moment that it happens (a friend recently had his girlfriend break up with him over the phone, then say “so..we should put this on facebook now, yeah?”). The only good thing about it is when people ‘like’ the breakup; only because it tells you that their either a) really into you and happy that you’re single once more, b) they are into your ex-significant other, c) they are a concerned friend and hated the person you were seeing or d) they loathe your very existence and you being miserable makes them happy. So if you are looking for a rebound, just go for whoever liked your breakup, because there’s a 25% chance that they’ll say yes.

So the next time your potential love interest or new partner sends you a friend request, deny it*. It’ll be better for the both of you. Trust me.

*and maybe have a giggle at the tantrum they throw because of this.


Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

i agree that these sites do take the fun out of dating and its horrible putting a relationship on there when it ends, especially ive had friends who put engagements on there and then their relationships break down and the whole world knows about it. not great.
i also find that guys dont approach you so much in public anymore! xx

The Book Florist said...

Those are some extremely good points, and you wit was very funny. Liberal party member with a conscience indeed.

I am in a stage of my life where I know absolutely nothing about dating, but even yet, I completely see how true the whole social network thing it. It's much less personal. And what is dating if it isn't personal?

Toni said...

LOVE this!! Especially the part about awkwardly trying to pretend you don't already know everything about each other. It's so true.

Hazel said...

I never thought of this before! I have to agree though, everything is so publicised that it ruins the intimacy :(

ellie said...

Things have really changed. I stay away from most of these places.

lucy and sarah said...

Facebook definitely takes the romance out of..well..romance.

Meher said...

haha, true. I especially like the part where you say if you're on a rebound, then there is 25% chance that one of them who liked your post, might say yes.
But then social networking sites, if used less blatantly when it comes to relationships, can be cute.

Krystal said...

i think it def accelerates a relationship a litttttle too fast! you can learn what you need to know at a glance of their pics, you know?

Carrie Rosalind said...

Hahaha, oh my gosh...cracking up over here! This is SO true - every bit of it! Thanks for the great post - I loved every word of it.

iris said...

Yeah, I agree with some of these points, but you still have control over most of your social networks (and yourself).

If you don't want to see photos of exes...don't go looking for them! Just like you wouldn't go digging through the closet to find ex's love letters.

If you don't want him to be able to cyber stalk your facebook account, put him in a restricted access group until he belongs in an inner circle (Google Plus is especially good about this).

I don't necessarily think these cultural shifts are all bad. Maybe having to ask someone out built character, or maybe it just prevented the shyest people from some important life experiences?

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

@iris. Mmm I sort of agree with you. I am facebook friends with my husband and it has never been a problem. Now that privacy settings have improved a lot, most of what I wrote (a lot of it was tongue in cheek!) is null and void now anyway. In terms of ex thing, I was actually thinking of something that happened to a friend a few weeks ago. I asked to see a pic of her new guy, she went into profile pictures, and the second one was him kissing another girl. It was okay and all, just a bit awkward. So it often happens on public sites when people are't digging at all...but I guess that's what all the new privacy settings are for!

Ashley said...

hahahaha! Love this post :)

"It has taken all of the courage away from dating. "


And I have definitely thought about how the 'getting to know you stage' is completely messed up! It's creepy really.

aki! said...

I dunno. I think nowadays, it's weird not to have a facebook or some kind of social media. There used to be the time when everyone had facebook. I think that time has passed but it's certainly changed the dynamic of certain things.

For example, if someone didn't want to be facebook friends with me, even after asking me out, I'd wonder what he has to hide.

Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

i have given you a blog award- see my page!! xx

Poppies and Sunshine said...

I agree with everything you have said! I don't think social networking is beneficial to dating. It has taken a lot of the old rules out of dating. I don't like how everything is so public. I don't think the rest of us have any business seeing when people break up then get back together. It makes it easy for others to judge other people's relationships. I guess this is why I stay away from some of these sites, except twitter.

Bonnie said...

The quick answer -- Yes.
Before Mr. A and I went on a date, I had Facebook creeped him and Googled him. I also found an old MySpace of his.
So ... Awkward. There is no mystery anymore, but you also know what you are getting into before you actually get into it, which is good. So it's kind of a double-edged sword.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

keishua said...

Social networking and dating have never worked for me.The combination is Really not my cup of tea.

Missy said...

Brilliant! This is so funny! You've nailed it.

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