Love in the Age of Social Media — How Being Connected is Changing the Game
We live in very interesting and unique times for love. Never before have we had such overwhelming access to other humans from all across the world. Before the connection revolution with the internet, smart phones, and social media — relationships started from real life interactions with people that were within your immediate community which gave you a handful of potential mates that you could focus on. Anyone and everyone who lived beyond a few blocks of you might as well have been on a different planet—you never crossed paths. Now, the number of potential mates that we have access to has jumped exponentially from a handful to (quite literally) millions.
And because so many of the people we have access to today are via social media sites and the internet, the dynamic of how we get into relationships is changing dramatically. Today, instead of working up the confidence to ask another person out face-to-face, now there’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tinder, etc., and you can DM, Snap, Swipe, and get an almost complete background about a person before you ever even have to ask them a single question.
The challenge of course, is that with these social media sites, every user is in charge of their public profile. Which means people post and share whatever it is they want other people to see—not necessarily who it is they really are. Before social media, when we had those awkward real life interactions, you got to see a person for who they really were—not who they were through pictures that had perfect lighting, optimal angles, and filtered thoughts.
Andy Warhol once said, “People should fall in love with their eyes shut.” In today’s world, people’s eyes are more open to the superficial than they have ever been before. We see people living seemingly perfect lives where they share only their best successes, biggest accomplishments, and most refined thoughts — each, of course, being coupled with their, “best-side,” edited, filtered pictures of themselves. With public images like that surrounding us on an everyday basis, it makes it hard not to judge everybody in our direct community who we meet face-to-face.
Bridging the gap from FaceTime to face time.
We have more options for partners than any person ever has in the history of the world and I think most of us simply don’t know how to choose. What if they don’t like me for who I really am? What if I make the wrong decision? What if there’s someone out there that’s better for me?
So many of us are paralyzed by fear. And letting fear dictate how we spend our lives is not going to lead to fulfillment. Here’s the trick: Either practice the art of, “Going beyond good” in conversation and have more of them in reality; or embrace technology and find a service that feels right to you for meeting other people and set the face-to-face meeting up quicker. Don’t get caught up within the walls of your comfort zone where you’re constantly communicating with the person you’re interested in behind screens and refined text messages. Set up that meeting already!
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who advises Match.com, says the answer is to avoid reading too much into any given profile and to resist the temptation to start long online exchanges before a first date. As Fisher sees it, there’s only one way to determine whether you have a future with a person: meeting them face-to-face. Nothing else can give you a sense of what a person is actually like, nor whether you two will spark. “The brain is the best algorithm,” Fisher argues. “There’s not a dating service on this planet that can do what the human brain can do in terms of finding the right person.”
Jonathan Fields, author of How To Live a Good Life agrees that face-to-face time simply can’t be replaced by technology. He states in his book, “So many people are turning to digital to have potentially messy and emotional conversations in a less messy and emotional way. It may bring more calm to a relationship, sure, but it also strips the vulnerability and revelation that come from looking someone in the eye, seeing how your words land, seeing how their body responds, hearing the catch in their breath, understanding what is truly going on between you in a way no emoji chain or composed text could ever express. That emotional, messy, hard, exhilarating, don’t-know-what’s-coming-next space is where the moments that make life most worth living lie. Kill the space, kill the moment. Hello, tidy matrix and numbed-out life.”
In conclusion, if you want to move forward in relationships in today’s connected world, you need to show yourself from behind your screens—So much happens when you’re face-to-face that simply can’t be replicated through social media and texts. You see beyond a person’s, “best side” and see their, “real side.” You get to know their quirks and see how they handle nerves. Let it be a little awkward. Let people see who you are without the perfect lighting and angles. Let your imperfections shine through! Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is who you really are and any potential mate will see the beauty in all that you have to offer.
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“No matter how many options we seem to have on our screens, we should be careful not to lose track of the human beings behind them. We’re better off spending quality time getting to know actual people than spending hours with our devises, seeing who else is out there.” ~ Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance
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If you enjoyed this article on love in the age of social media, then you should definitely check out Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari below:
Book Overview: At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
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