The premise of writing and researching this piece began with a simple question: Have we lost the ability to connect with others in a meaningful way?
Since I started The Queen of Dating 7 years ago, dating has evolved and changed dramatically and it has been my job to keep up on dating trends. I recently was interviewed about why Sacramento and Stockton rank as the worst cities to date. As someone who has been single and dated more than the average person, I began to read articles I had written at the beginning of my dating coaching career and then articles from more recent years. The biggest change? Our obsession with our cell phones and social media.
The temptation to use our phone while out in a public venue is overwhelming. I often even catch myself doing it as well, when out and about and in an unfamiliar situation/location. How often do we stare down at our phone and scroll through social media and dating apps, searching for connections? We are looking for connections via our phones, instead of putting the phone down and actually engaging and socializing with all those people who are actually, physically in our presence.
When I posted a question on my Facebook, I quickly got an abundance of replies, from many people I have never actually met or have had any conversation with other than connecting on Facebook because they friend requested me and we had enough mutual friends that I accepted. The question I posed was, “What are your 3 dating/relationship must have’s?”. The answer from an overwhelming amount of people: communication. So it begs the question, have we as a society become so disconnected from humans as a result of our dependency on our cell phones and social media/apps for engagement that we have lost the ability to effectively communicate and socialize while in the presence of others?
Other than communication, the second most common answer to, “What are your dating must have’s?”: honesty. Everyone says they want honesty from a partner, yet everywhere you turn, people are hiding their true selves with the help of social media, filters, apps, etc. How often do you delete a text, Snap, Instagram or Facebook message, “just in case”? We live in a hypocritical society that wants honesty and authenticity, but then shames the bold few who actually share themselves and their vulnerabilities with the world. And then we sit here and complain about how everything has gone wrong with dating and relationships.
Is our outlook on what makes us happy in relationships and dating, a result of chivalry dying or at the very least, on the verge of extinction? Have we have lost the ability to be kind and appreciative to those who show us kindness and affection in person because our emotional intelligence has decreased as a result of always being on our phones?
Dating and relationships end faster and more frequently than ever before in history. Does technology play a part? Absolutely. We live in the land of opportunity, also known as the grass is always greener on the other side. Why commit or actually invest in a person when you can find a replacement with a few clicks? We wonder why we feel so alone and disconnected and that is because we actually are disconnected from others. We are literally starved of in person, meaningful connections. Why do you think the rates of depression and anxiety are skyrocketing? It has been proven that lack of meaningful connections leads to higher rates of suicide, depression, anxiety and other mental health related issues.
Is the answer to all of the above to just get off our phones? YES! We need to make it a trend to NOT BE on our phones and actually take the time to talk and socialize with people in person and establish meaningful connections.
Don’t believe me? Come to an event I am at and see how many connections you can make if you put away your phone and are actually present and engaged with those around you. Will this be uncomfortable? Absolutely, but growth is never achieved by staying put in your comfort zone after all.
Now share this with all your friends on social media and let’s see if there is any truth to my claims!
Happy socializing and getting back to what is important; meaningful connections!