In my 40 years of existence, I think I am entitled to the right of comparing life with and without technology. I’ve gone through years without cell phones and only managed to call my parents through the telephone when I finished school, and they had to pick me up. I have tried using a Pocket Bell to send a few sweet lines to my friends and childhood crushes. My family and I didn’t have much to communicate with two decades back, and we thrived – without cell phones, IPads, and social media. But that is to say that technology then was NOT the technology we have now – or it didn’t exist!
“The rise and growing significance of social media has caused an influx of mental health concerns, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Now is the time to start paying attention to how social media is influencing your life choices and mental health.” That is according to Brie Shelly, MS, LMHC, RYT. Now, social media has undeniably played a vital role in the beginning, keeping, and ending different relationships. I’m not into the dating phase at my age now, but I know from the younger generation that Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp are some of the common ways to meet, get acquainted, and perhaps start what may be the best love story ever.
If not through these messaging applications, there’s the booming business of online dating websites. You start connecting with someone that matched your list of ‘requirements’ in a guy or girl, and then you start by exchanging messages and getting to know each other on the surface. Finally, when you’re comfortable enough, you set a date to meet. The anxiety of having to date someone that you supposedly don’t know much about is inevitable. However, for guys, this is way much easier than saying ‘can I ask you on a date’ face to face.
Effects Of Online Dating
It varies because luckily, not all online relationships end up a disaster. I have a close friend who was crazy over a guy from Canada, whom he knew from a site called Webdate.com. She was telling me how she felt that they were destined to find each other because they were both victims of unhealthy relationships. I told her she couldn’t be sure of that until they’d really meet and spend more time together. And so they did. The guy decided to live in our state for a year, just to see if they were a match – and they were. They’re living happily now – in Canada. All because of an online dating site.
However, not all social media love stories end up happily. Some don’t even progress to video calling, while others end up becoming seriously violent and disastrous. Also, Sam Louie MA, LMHC said, “While someone may not have crossed any physical boundaries with social media flirting, “liking”, and texting with emojis, experts believe it can turn into an emotional affair (i.e. an affair of the heart).”
Whether online relationships succeed or not, the fact is that technology through social media and other digital applications have become part of the new era’s norms. It has affected how relationships are built, improved, and maintained. For men, it might have been their easy way out from the risk of getting rejected to their faces when they attempt to ask a woman out.
Social Media And Self-View
For the insecure and hesitant, it diminishes some social difficulties, like not thinking about how others would think about you when they see you. They get the opportunity to be free from prejudice and judgment. It can help them ‘sell’ themselves and look into their pros. For them, the effect of social media is empowering.
The downside, though, would be that people might be building a false profile of themselves, a somewhat manufactured list from someone who so wants others to like him. Consequently, this doesn’t end well especially if one is misled and has fallen into the trap – and is unable to get out of it easily. She may have fallen for the ‘Internet self’ rather than the ‘real self.’
Overall, most people who deal with social media for establishing romantic, business, family, other significant relationships claim that there is a great deal of anxiety related to getting to know someone electronically. But they are also hopeful about the setup as well. According to them, what’s important is how you will progress to the next step in the real world – when you are face to face.
Technology And Using It To Your Advantage
“Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.” Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology explains. Before the age of the Internet, when we break up with someone, and we wanted to forget about them as soon as we possibly can, it was easy. We could tear the love letters, burn the photographs, and eat at a different restaurant. Now, no matter how much we do our own thing, we see our exes and their lives with their families for free on social media.
Currently, developers are trying to improve on their products by attempting to increase privacy and limit opportunities of seeing everyone and anyone. Eternal Sunshine is one of these companies, a program that attempts to delete all memories of an ex digitally. Hopefully, this will be the start of better means to prioritize one’s privacy and freedom of choice.
In the end, if you’re trying to know someone through the social media, remember that real connections are determined when you find the effort to bring it to the next level – off of social media and into the real world, where one can build memories through shared experiences.