So, I just witnessed firsthand a (pseudo) relationship that was driven primarily by technology. We met on an online dating site and exchanged a few rapid and flirty emails back and forth (through the security of the online site, of course). By the next day we agreed to meet. It went well, and saw each other a few more times over the next three weeks. Mostly, we communicated by text and this annoyed me somewhat, but I was willing to let it slide, especially in the beginning. Additionally, his “text speak” was grating on my nerves. But since I am not really looking for something too serious, I didn’t really put much stock into that either and ignored that as well.
Then, the texting thing got taken to a whole new level. I got a text that we needed to have a “serious conversation” and essentially in that same text was dumped due to lack of chemistry. I had to smile when I read this because it was pretty accurate, and it also confirmed my initial feelings about us. We weren’t connecting on any real level. And the fact that he had to text me the news further demonstrated the lack of connection. Here was a grown man that had begun to rely on technology too much as a communication device. He couldn’t call to tell me how he felt? Really? At least that particular message didn’t contain the text speak…
He said he wanted to stay friends, but I didn’t believe it. Yet the next day he texted a hello and wanted to know how I was doing. I bit, texted back (hm, could I be just as much of the problem here?), and let him know that I thought it was disrespectful of him to do what he did without the dignity of calling. Within minutes, my phone rang. Two hours later, he asked for a reset. I am not sure how I feel about it, but the conversation we had was telling. We actually connected. Talked about real things. Were able to explain and describe in ways that simply can’t be done in 160 words or less at a time.
I wonder how many young people rely on technology to build their relationships — or maintain them. Maybe I am old-fashioned here (and I am not a digital native), but while I do believe that technology can help with the little parts of a relationship, it can take away from real connection. At least that has been my experience so far.