July 30, 2015

Did Technology Kill Romance?

I remember a time when dating was simple. Ok, maybe simple is the wrong word; it’s never been simple, it was just a little easier. In the days before the Internet became weaved into the fabric of our everyday lives, finding a date was more of a natural process. Whether you were introduced to a potential partner through a friend, you met someone at school or work, or you simply approached someone to show your interest - it happened if it happened. You had one phone that people could either contact you on or not contact you on. Better still, you didn’t even have a phone, you had love letters.
Then the Internet came along and completely revolutionized the way we see the world, creating new possibilities; from ways to interact with our friends and staying in contact with our families,  to meeting new people and forming new relationships. When online dating was introduced as a concept it changed the landscape of the dating scene completely. People were no longer leaving love down to serendipitous encounters, but instead, they were actively going out there looking for it.
Dating in the 21st Century
Whatever your relationship status; whether happily in a relationship, happily dating or happily single, our obsession with technology has inevitably changed the pattern of dating in the 21st century and produced a new format for modern day romance. Nowadays, it is paradoxical to play ‘hard-to-get’ since we’re constantly connected and our entire stream of self-consciousness is displayed for all to see online. For example, you can’t use the excuse ‘I was too busy to call’ or ‘I didn’t get time to reply to your message’ when everyone can see you’ve been actively updating your twitter feed and checking in on Facebook. In fact, communication is so fast and easy now that it’s removed the ‘thrill of the chase’ and killed romance somewhat.
We can tweet, poke or message someone without having ever met them in person. We check out their merits before giving them the time of day; scan their interests before showing our own interest and click through a selection of their favorite ‘tagged’ photos, because you know the ones they don’t want you to see have been carefully censored.
Whether we like it or not, the digital age has written a new guide book for modern romance. Phrases like ‘have you got Facebook?’ and ‘Tweet me’ are not uncommon to hear upon meeting someone new and e-flirting is the new ‘wooing’.

So how do we recoup romance?
To a certain extent technology brings people together. Take online dating as an example; it allows you to cast your net a lot wider and gives you the opportunity to meet people who you otherwise would not have met. However, beyond that, creating and maintaining real relationships takes a lot of work. While online dating facilitates new meetings, it’s important not to forget about romance. After all, that’s what we’re looking for, isn’t it?
Once you’ve found someone online who takes your fancy don’t spend too long playing email tennis and end up feeling as though you’re starring in the 90s blockbuster You’ve Got Mail. It can be all too tempting to continue the conversation online due to first date nerves , not wanting to step out of your comfort zone or convenience, but be careful not to.  Remember, online dating is just the first part. The idea is that you eventually log off and continue your relationship offline – in the real world.

The fact of the matter is, romance isn’t dead we’re just in danger of neglecting it. My advice? Visit your grandma and have her tell you stories of how she was wooed by your grandfather; how they spent evenings dancing on the kitchen tiles and how a love note said it way better than a sweeping 140-character tweet.

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