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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Technology or Face to Face

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Technology Doesn't Replace Face to Face

It’s 10:00.  Do you know where your cell is?  Probably clipped to your belt, or at least within arm’s reach.  Am I right?    

Isn’t technology great?  It’s so easy to stay in touch and stay on top of every little development.  Laptop, cell phone (with the Bluetooth, of course), pager, Blackberry, iPhone—you name it, we’re connected to it!  Of course, this is a double-edged sword.  For all of the technology that’s out there and for all of the gadgets that we own, it’s that much easier to not stay in touch, too.   For how connected we all claim to be, I think that all of the technology has helped us to get a bit more disconnected. 


Don’t get me wrong.  I’m just as guilty of this as the next person.   I’ve been on several online dating sites off and on for years.   I subscribe to a number of social networking sites, and I’ve been delighted to locate high school classmates that I haven’t seen in over 10 years.  Many of the folks I’ve wondered about have been found, their daily status reports have been noted, and I’ve been sleeping much better at night now that I know what these people are up to.  (Haven’t you?)  Though email is still my preferred means of communication, I’ve come around to texting.   (Because sometimes hearing a song on the radio that reminds you of your college days can’t wait and you have to tell your best friend right this second!)   Though I still consider myself to be a low-tech kind of girl, it’s hard not to be pushed into the big bad world of technology whether I like it or not.   I’m actually afraid to get a new cell phone, because I’ve finally figured out most of the features on the one I have now, and I’ve had it for 2 years!

I have to draw the line, though, when it comes to substituting technology for real, face-to-face dating.  Now, obviously there are exceptions.  I know people who have picked up and moved across the country to be with someone they met online.  I also know people who have picked up and moved to a different country to be with someone they met online.  I’m not necessarily talking about that (because, at some point, I’m hoping these folks have met—otherwise, why uproot your whole life?)   I’m talking about those who meet someone online or through a friend or whatever, and live within a reasonable distance from each other, yet try to establish a relationship through means like text messages.

In another column I talked about Drew Barrymore’s character, Mary, in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You.  Mary is the textbook cyber-dater—communicating with guys through social networking sites, texts, voice mails, etc.  She meets some of these guys in person, but not all of them.  I couldn’t help but sympathize—that’s been me for most of my recent dating life!    Anyone who’s tried online dating for any length of time has run into situations where you read someone’s profile, they sound great, so you get in touch.   You hit it off over email, chat fine on the phone, but when you finally meet face-to-face....nothing.   Either you have nothing to talk about, or there’s no physical attraction and you find yourself looking for the nearest exit.  What happened between your last phone call or text and your first real date?  They’re the times when I wonder why I even wasted the makeup.  I’ve been trying a new tactic and asking to meet the guy in person much earlier.  It’s more fun and rewarding to get to know the person once I find out if there’s a mutual attraction.  Then it’s nice to get a random text from them during the day, “just ‘cause I was thinking of you.”

I have a friend who means well and has set me up a few times, with mixed results.  Last time it started with a text from her, asking if I’d be willing to “meet” this friend of hers.  Being a sport, I said “Sure.”  Well, this friend of hers lives three hours away from me.  Strike One.   I never got an accurate description of what this person looks like.  Strike Two.   And, my only contact with him was through text messages. Strike Three!  How am I supposed to type out my life story in a text?  Would this relationship have any real potential?  How hard would it have been to actually call the number?  It would’ve taken less time than typing out a text, I’m pretty sure of that.  

Another problem I have with relying mainly on technology is that it’s so hard to emote properly.  Emoticons can only take you so far—it’s very difficult to convey sarcasm or anger in an email or a text.  I really discourage having arguments electronically.  My advice?  At least pick up the phone and give them a piece of your mind!  Technology can be great to initially meet someone, and very convenient when you’re further along in your relationship, but don’t use it as a replacement for the real thing.  For all of its usefulness, it’s very hard to cuddle with a cell phone.


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon.

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