Constantly Connected, Yet Further Apart: Relationships in the Digital Age
I recently overheard someone who is in their early 20s exclaim that the guy that they met on Tinder was a “total loser and only looking for a hook-up”. Firstly, I had to google “Tinder” because as a 33-year-old who is happily married, I had no clue what they were talking about, and secondly it made me wonder if dating relationships are in jeopardy because of the use of instant-gratification hook-up apps. Has the dating scene and way of meeting people changed that much within the last few years?
It used to be a common sight to see friends getting dressed up to go on a first date with someone that their friend/mom/aunt/acquaintance said would be “just perfect” for them. Dinner at a nice restaurant, some light conversation, then if everything went well, talk of a second date, then a phone call play-by-play once they arrived home. Nowadays it is more common to see people swiping through photos on hook-up apps, then messaging and making plans to meet up for some “Netflix & Chill” time. It makes me happy to know that I met my spouse long before dating apps were the fastest and easiest way to get a date. How do people get to know one another if they are basing their entire interest solely on looks? The art of conversation seems to be getting more rare and I am not sure how instant-gratification hook-up apps are helping anyone form positive, healthy and happy relationships.
Aside from hook-up apps with fickle plans that are often broken, there are also those who have a Smartphone “Addiction” and that is not helping us to become closer to our loved ones. I spend way more time staring at the screen of my phone in the evenings after work than I do staring into the eyes of my spouse (which is a major problem, but I am working on putting my phone down sometimes). Smartphones and new technology are making us more digitally connected, but are also keeping us further apart in terms of social interactions. Next time I am out at dinner at a restaurant, I am not going to take photos and Instagram my meal, I am going to look into my spouse’s eyes and have a real conversation and remind myself that digital communication can be put on hold (even for only a short while) in order to show our family members that we care an appreciate their presence. Life and relationships happen offline and are based on so much more than just looks. We are constantly connected digitally, but further apart physically and emotionally, which is really sad. Relationships in the digital age appear to be based on more superficial attributes and this is not helping anyone form positive, healthy and happy relationships.