By Guest Blogger Leila Glen
Don’t get me wrong, our internet driven society and age of social media mania definitely has its perks; people can work remotely, re-connect with old friends and stay in touch with family all over the world – not to mention the ego-boost you get from a well-liked Instagram selfie…
However, one thing that has most certainly taken a web 2.0 shaped blow is modern dating culture. Gone are the days of handwritten love letters and desires for a long-term partner – millennial daters favour a flirty wink emoji and yet another Saturday night hook up. Let’s all breathe a communal sigh of exasperation at how social media has ruined love and romance as we know it.
You See Your Ex Every Single Day (Even If You Don’t Want To)
Facebook used to be exclusively for college students, nowadays it’s for everyone and their mother – hell, even your grandmother has a profile. You’re probably friends with most of your pals’ pets, too.
Here’s the issue. Sometimes to get over someone and move on, you need a little time and space. In the days before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, this would have been easily achievable by both parties agreeing not to speak to each other and subsequently pretend they no longer existed/had become an astronaut and gone to the moon.
Nowadays – you can forget it. Logging on will no doubt bring up a plethora of images of your ex on a series of wild nights out, seemingly having much more fun without you. Not to mention that wedding album starring your ex ambiguously hanging out with another girl/boy who they may or may not be romantically entwined with.
You could always unfollow, but that would involve loosing face in the ongoing ‘who’s more over who’ dispute. Ugh.
Why Didn’t He Like My Pic?
Ah courting. In the old days, when someone liked you, they’d generally have to make the effort to actually come up and talk to you. Nowadays, why bother? Following someone on Instagram, liking their profile picture or whatsap-ing a wink or worse (we’re talking that aubergine emoji) all constitute making the first move.
Courage, chivalry, a significantly raised heart rate and sweaty palms have been replaced with dropping one of above aforementioned dating signals (to several potential hook-ups may we add) and hoping for the best.
Social Media Expert Ben Richardson says ‘Picking up the phone to ask someone out used to require strategic planning and substantial courage, with the risk of stinging (not to mention mortifying) rejection – which meant you’d only do it if you really liked someone. Online dating means you can throw as many feelers out there as you fancy, and because there are so many dating platforms available, rejection isn’t an issue.’
After all, the next tinder match is a mere right swipe away.
We like choice as much as the next person, but as our mums always told us, too much of anything is bad for you…
Where Did the Mystery Go?
First dates used to be all about ‘accidental’ hand touches, playing footsie and flirty small talk. Nowadays we can find out our potential suiter’s job, dating history and shoe size faster than you can say ‘Google’.
Remember, if it’s online, it’s public – which means that drunk tweet or video of you acting out a scene from the full Monty has probably been viewed by the nice guy you’re hoping to bring home to your mom eventually for Sunday dinner. Cringe.
According to Elite Daily, “You are literally stripping the discovery process out of dating. One of the best parts of a relationship is getting to know the other person. These different social media platforms take all of that novelty away.”
WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Chat are Primary Methods of Communication
Conversation, remember that? Now our idea of flirting is a funny meme or sexy iMessage picture (which women don’t generally enjoy). Chatting away to strangers on Tinder for some has become the standard way to spend a Sunday afternoon – only to then swiftly ‘unmatch’ on Monday morning and forget the conversation every happened. If a first date actually gets arranged, and no-one pulls out last minute, it’s kind of a miracle…
Monogomy is a Dirty Word
The lines between ‘dating’ ‘hanging out’ and ‘exclusivity’ are so blurred they’re more of a scribble. Often 21st century men will prefer to hang out with a different girl every week, than make an effort courting one. Male friends of mine have confirmed this sentiment by telling me that they’d rather have a girl join in with what they’re doing, like going to an event, or music festival, than actually take her out. The relaxed, laid back nature of online dating and pre-date chatting means it’s more difficult to tell if you like someone romantically, and if a date is in fact a date, or just something/someone to pass the time on a lonely Thursday evening.
Whereas in the past marriage was actively sought after, the tables have turned so much so that the amount of choice in the online dating pool is acting as a barrier to us finding someone to share our lives with. Chemistry is only really felt in someone’s presence – The fact is, it’s pretty damn hard to fall in love with a profile picture, no matter how many ‘likes’ it’s got.
The dangerous Weapon That is the ‘Like’
Congratulations, you’ve overcome all aforementioned hurdles and you’re actually in a long term, exclusive relationship – hurrah! But before you celebrate too much, know this: with being in a relationship comes a whole host of different social media related issues.
All I’m saying is, God help you if you like another girls’ profile picture – even if that girl is your cousin.
Leila Glen is head of content writing for The Knowledge Academy.
For my single WomenOnTheFence readers, can you relate? Truth is, you don’t even have to be single to identify with some of the issues above – relationships in general have changed due to the nature of social media and our world today. The way we communicate with our loved ones has completely changed too. Would love your thoughts…
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