Dating In The Age of Social Media

I’ve got an idea.

It’s going to be short, quick, and easy.

If we all slowed down a little bit, we’d have a lot more fun.

The next romantic interest you come across, let’s try something new – the friend test.

As I browse all the social networking apps, specifically the ones centered around finding romantic opportunities, I sense a lot of heads hitting brick walls. The instant gratification aspect of dating through apps on your phone has also made everyone get in a hurry to find “the one”. I think we’re doing it wrong. If you truly want a relationship, stop trying so hard. Slow down and see if you can build a friendship first. Here’s why…

Relationships are not all about love, sex, and intimacy. That’s what so many people want because it’s the “feel good” stuff, but the problem is that it’s finite if there’s no foundation to hold you together. If you don’t have a foundation of friendship, whatever drew you together will slowly dissolve. It’s easy to find stuff in common, feel like things are going well, and get high on puppy love. It’s kinda like putting kerosene on the bonfire to get it started; it burns real well for a minute, and then it dies back down. But here’s the truth: you cannot have a romantic relationship without a foundation of platonic friendship. Relationships are really deep friendships with a layer of physical and emotional attraction on top of that.

So what’s my strategy?

  1. Do what you want. Go out, have fun (haha, not that kind, yet anyway…), and get to know people.
  2. Do your best to be interesting by taking tons of interest in the other person; the more questions you ask about them the more they’ll open up and hopefully do the same for you – if they don’t, you might be wasting your time.
  3. Insist that you’re just in search of friends and dates. I always explain that I’m open to it developing into more, but if we get bored of one another after a week or two, then there’s no point in going any further with things.

I find that if you go full into dating, kissing, holding hands, and more, it can take two weeks to a couple months to find out it was never a match from the beginning. If you insist on keeping it cordial and platonic, you can find out a lot quicker and save yourself a lot of heartache if you inevitably get the short end of the stick. The parting of ways from the former can be rather ugly and final, the parting of ways from the latter can be civilized, and at the very least you’re on good terms with each other as acquaintances. The best part? If you end up playing matchmaker in the future!

If we can’t be friends first, we can’t be more later.

That’s my motto. It’s ultimately about respecting yourself, your time, and your feelings. It’ll work 100% of the time. Sometimes it’ll take some convincing if someone truly wants to get to know you and they’re anxious to jump back into something. But it’s the only way to test and see if someone is truly emotionally ready for a relationship. You may feel like you’re cutting off opportunities, but the honest truth is you’re saving yourself a LOT of headaches down the road. The right person will understand this and, if they’re truly ready to begin the process of dating, will appreciate and respect what you’re asking. You’re not saying “we can’t date”, you’re saying “let’s make the best use of your time and mine both”! The best mate is someone who wants one, but doesn’t need one. Dependency is not a trait of a healthy relationship. If you can’t love yourself and enjoy your own company, how can you ever love and appreciate time spent with someone else?

 

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