Saturday 25 July 2015

Searching Singles and Instant Message

When I was Single--and I was Single for a good LONG time--I never sent a text message. I cannot remember having a mobile phone in Canada at all. I realize that this must sound impossible, but I really don't remember having a mobile phone until BA gave me his old one in 2009.

Additionally, I was not on Facebook until very soon before I met B.A., who was not on Facebook.

Therefore I have no personal experience with texting and Facebook messaging when it comes to romantic relationships and dating.

Can anyone enlighten me and readers on whether texting and Facebook are a help or hindrance in the gentle cultivation of love? Also, any advice or tips would be welcome.

Sound off in the commbox! I'll be at a swing-dancing workshop until suppertime.


  1. I'd say they're a hindrance, and they're an especially bad hindrance if you're stupid about using them.

    I would totally quit Facebook but it's the only way people invite you to stuff these days -- parties etc.

  2. Yup, Facebook can definitely be a hindrance if you're stupid about using it. :) It makes it much easier to spend too much time daydreaming about someone you've just met (looking at photos, etc.), making it obvious that you like someone by liking and commenting on all of his posts, etc.

    But on the other hand, I would feel more comfortable going out with someone from a dating website if his Facebook page seems reasonably normal, so it could be useful that way, I suppose.

    A friend of mine wrote a blog post yesterday about using social media sites instead of paying for a dating website subscription, but she didn't have many practical ideas on how that could happen. Her main point was that you could do more or less the same things on Facebook as you could on (comment, send message, like their things/poke them), but I'm kind of a little skeptical on how well that would work, since you would have to be friends with the person first?

    However, I did get to know someone (who was interested in me) once over Facebook who had friended me because we both went to the same school, so it isn't impossible.

  3. Some guy asked me out via facebook message once, which I thought was kind of lame since he saw me in person at least once a week. I ended up marrying him anyway, though! When we first started dating his texts threw me off due to the frequency of "lols" and homonym errors they contained -- I'm glad I didn't write him off because of them, and I wonder if one of the disadvantages of social media is that it gives us so many more opportunities to judge things (including, if we're talking facebook, things from years and years and years ago) that we might overlook if we were actually getting to know each other in person first.

    One other complication of being connected on social media is the question of what do you do when you break up? The opportunity to text / facebook message / skype / tweet etc. with impunity has, I think, given opportunity for a lot of bad breakup behaviour. I think the best solution is often to block each other on all platforms -- at least for a time -- and minimize contact, but people can be reluctant to do that as it feels rude.

    1. On the what do you do with social media in case of a breakup, I thought this was interesting:

    2. I liked that article a lot. I've never had a break-up, but if I did, I'd certainly not 'like' any of the guy's FB posts for quite a while. I wouldn't unfriend him, but I'd probably unfollow him.

      I'm uncomfortable with the whole 'in a relationship' thing on FB. I don't think I'd ever put up a relationship status unless I got engaged. I mean, what does 'in a relationship' even mean?

  4. Newlywed housewife25 July 2015 at 16:52

    For me, texting was a good thing; when my husband first asked me out (twice, over the phone) I sputtered and came up with lame excuses because I was so unused to be asked out. However, I took my dear brother's counsel and texted him a few days later to propose coffee, which was much easier for me to handle. Facebook was (and is!) basically useless for us, as neither of us use it often, but for a shy girl, texting made life much easier.

    I will note that I was cautious about it. While I did give him my number the night we first talked at length, it was for a reason (he was writing a Big Important Scientific Paper and, as a recovering academic, I like editing, so we exchanged numbers), and I waited for him to text me before I sent anything to him. And, until it got serious, I was sparing in my texts, figuring Auntie Seraphic wouldn't approve of overly frequent messages

    1. I wouldn't. Excellent woman, for considering my feelings in the matter!

    2. I wouldn't. Excellent woman, for considering my feelings in the matter!

  5. Texting and social media should never be anyone's primary means of communication, but they can be useful in the 'in-between' spaces around conversations and what not. My significant other and I live quite a long distance away (out of necessity, for now), and while we visit each other in person regularly, social media tools like Facebook, Skype, Blogging, etc. have been a godsend for sustaining and growing our relationship. Granted, it is not a stretch when you consider that our relationship started as an exchange of letters, so our temperaments are well-suited for a conversational relationship, in whatever medium. But text messages aren't entirely useless - and can be little ways of sharing affection when we aren't together, e.g. we send sonnets back and forth :)

  6. Michelle_Marie25 July 2015 at 20:57

    I think they're a hindrance, since if they're your primary means of communication, what you're bonding to and judging compatibility with is an electronic cipher. Plus, so many misunderstandings can occur; "he liked her photo, he must like her instead of me! It's true, maybe they would be a better match for each other... [doubt sown]" "Oh, so he's going to this event? I thought he was busy. He must've been lying to me." These are thoughts that may or may not have went through my head. Meanwhile, I like guy friends' photos with impunity, not giving it a second thought, or sometimes don't attend the events that I'm apparently attending on Facebook. The key thing is that it's not real, but when emotions are involved, sometimes it can seem very real. That being said, a guy's behaviour on Facebook can be VERY telling as well... like if he likes a lot of bikini pics of random girls, or is obnoxious, or posts sexist stuff.... yeah, it can help you filter out creeps, I suppose.

    That being said, I don't add people to Facebook that I'm interested in, and through past experience, may also start to not accept their friend requests (though I don't know... I don't want to seem like I'm rejecting them either). I also remove any guy that I've only know in a dating capacity once the dating interest seems to have run its course. It makes me feel 100% better to do that, and I believe that it prevents weird misunderstandings and what seems to be hurtful, passive aggressive behavior, when it's really nothing of the sort.

    All in all, I think it's harmed and harming relationships more than helping them. We engage with fantasies more than real people. However, like with everything, you have to take the bad with the good and try to make the best of it while setting firm boundaries. The most important thing is to always treat Facebook and texting as a means to an end, a means to know the reality of the person (which is better accomplished face to face or by phone if necessary) rather than an end in itself. You start to recognize after a while the signs that a man is using you simply as his electronic entertainment that he can project his fantasies onto, rather than someone he actually wants to get to know :)

  7. Okay, Facebook and love. I once deleted my account because of my exes. They started hating my stuff / posting silly jokes on my wall once they lost interest in me. AND my friends saw it all. Awkward!

    I now have a new account and I am very cautious. Since I have privacy settings for different groups of friends and learned to manage them well, I have no more trouble. People who write weird stuff on my profile are blocked / removed immediately.

    However, Facebook once prevented me from having an affair with a guy I had a huge crush on because of what I saw on his profile. He was aggressive and liked a lot of soft p*rn stuff.

    Though my experiences with social media and dating are generally bad, I wouldn't say that technology is only a hindrance in relationships, as long as it serves keeping in touch with an intention to meet in person.

    * alias Pearlmusic

  8. Texting is pretty much unavoidable but is fine if its communicating about meeting up in real life. Really bad for any longer conversations! Really email, gchat, phone are all better if you are apart. Obviously actual dates are ideal/necessary.
    Facebook is not so good unless its just a way to get in touch with someone you only met once. I friended my husband on Facebook after we met (probably not recommended), and then he asked for my number through Facebook. But I managed to avoid analyzing what he was like based on his profile and things he posted in the past (by not looking at them!).

  9. Extraordinary discipline there, Anamaria!

  10. Long time reader, highly infrequent commenter chiming in:

    Being on the south side of 30 and out of the dating pool for some time, I have been surprised to find texting helpful, within appropriate limits, in the early stages of dating. It's the wrong vehicle for conversations of any substance, but it allowed the (nice, Catholic) fellow I am seeing to display some attractive qualities early on - namely dependability and interest.

    At the time we lived a couple hours apart, I had no car and was teaching in an inner city school, which depleted almost all my time and energy. I didn't text him, he texted me. He didn't try to have "deep meaningfuls." He avoided (asinine) contemporary abbreviations and used punctuation.

    For a month or two he would text to say 'hello,' and then - absolutely every Wednesday night between 8:30 and 8:45 - he would text to ask if he could call me. This may not sound attractive to the 20-something crowd, but it kept him on my radar, in between dates, in a way that was endearing and not burdensome to me.

    I came to find out later that he sent these messages painstakingly using a terrible flip phone; I cannot compose on it without saying very bad words and starting over three times. So, the texting really was an indicator of interest in his case!

    Facebook, eh, not helpful. It is mostly a medium for pictures of family and far distant friends.

    I'm late in saying so and have enjoyed reading you on many topics for a few years now, but am so glad that you have decided to continue to write on the single life!


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