Dating can be challenging
Thanks to technology, the dating scene has progressed from letters and calls to just swiping right. Our parents relied on phone calls and little love notes to spice up their dating scene, and if their parents were liberal enough, they went out for a coffee or may be lunch. The way singles meet in this age of technology and the internet would leave our grandparents wide-eyed.
In the past, when the pace of life was a tad slower, children spent more time with their parents, even when they reached the age of ‘dating’. Usually, young girls and boys went on dates with those who were known to their families — college mates, parent’s friend’s son or daughter, friend’s cousin, and so on. Things have changed now. Youngsters are in a hurry to leave home and opt for high-flying jobs that take them away from their parents. Their jobs are so demanding that they hardly have time to speak to their own family members, leave alone old friends. The circle of friends is reduced to colleagues, because that is all they have time for. But then, they do try to make the most of weekends. Before loneliness gets a hold of them, they reach out for the dating apps, and there are innumerable sites and apps to choose from.
In fact, apps and the internet are the best way to expand the dating pool. The biggest advantage is that they offer information about the person before a personal or face-to-face interaction can take place. Some even offer a compatibility score. This mode can prove to be a boon for the shy ones out there, who have not been able to muster the courage to go on a date.
Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Aisle, are amongst the popular ones in India. Some of them allow women to initiate the conversation — with men being prevented from making the first move, some of these apps are safe and very popular with single women.
Youngsters today are more careful and cautious than we think. Thanks to social media, they are able to understand a person fairly well, before accepting to go on a date with him or her.
In fact, social media can reveal which way a person leans, and not just politically. By merely glancing through a person’s friends list or photo gallery, it is possible to know the kind of connections she or he has and even the lifestyle they follow.
Social media serves as a private detective for youngsters eager to date.
How much information is enough information?
Excess information can be harmful too. For instance, Tanya was swept off her feet by the holiday pictures that had been posted by Tarun, whom she wanted to date. He seemed to be vacationing a lot. The pics of his foreign holidays made her envious. He wasn’t too bad to look at either. He seemed to have a good looking set of friends too, both men and women. He was definitely straight. There were enough pics of bars and coloured bubblies to indicate that he enjoyed his drink. He seemed to be a person who appreciated the good things of life. Tanya was sure she would get along with him.
However, the first date turned out to be less exciting than she had imagined. They had decided to meet at a popular pub, and just in time for happy hours. To her surprise, Tanya had to keep prodding Tarun and asking him questions to get him to talk. Unlike his holidaying pics, he seemed quite reserved. In fact, she felt his pictures spoke more than he himself did. Much to her horror, the quiet and reserved Tarun was quite a guzzler. Though he managed to behave and appear composed, his speech had started slurring by the time he bid her goodbye and held the door of the cab open for her.
Clearly, dating has its own challenges in this age of social media.
True nature is unknown: What a person appears to be on his/her social-media profile may be different from what he / she actually is. Also, a few posts and images cannot really give the true picture — of a person’s actual age, behaviour, nature and traits. Technology can help morph photographs. Posts do not necessarily have to be original, and there is no way of confirming the source or authenticity of any information that is provided.
Too much familiarity: With everyone owning a smartphone these days, there is too much of ‘staying in touch’. Both the people in a relationship are texting at almost all hours of the day. Excessive exchange of information leads to overfamiliarity. With nothing left to discover or explore, there is hardly anything to look forward to. It is easy to get tired of each other. Once boredom sets in, the slightest of excuses can lead to a breakup.
Commitment phobia: Most girls and boys today wish to settle down only after having achieved certain professional goals that they have set for themselves. Therefore, they are already sure that they do not want to commit. Approaching a date determined to steer clear of a long-term relationship takes away from the very beauty of a first date altogether. It is unfair to the one who is in it for the long haul.
Hooking up is easy and acceptable: Youngsters today are not the kinds to rush into marriage. Most are happy living in with a suitable partner. With paucity of time adding to their urban lifestyle-related woes, it is very easy for both the parties to end up hooking up. With one-night stands being very common and becoming more acceptable these days, more first dates tend to wind up as one-night stands.
Westernisation: Exposure to the West through films and the innumerable shows offered by the many internet entertainment and media services, has shaken the foundations of Indian society and culture. A lot of Western influence is visible in the way urban youngsters dress, behave and carry themselves. For instance, girls and boys are more free with each other than they were a decade ago; consumption of alcohol has increased among youngsters; more young ladies smoke these days than a decade ago. With an increasing number of women becoming part of the workforce, expectations from a man, especially after marriage are rather high, in terms of tolerance and equality.
Virtual dating: The paucity of leisure hours forces some couples to spend more time texting each other than meeting. At times, the virtual connection is so strong that the very need to meet is pushed to the back burner, with professional commitments taking priority. Such dates never fructify and hardly have a future.
Chances of miscommunication: With excessive texting, there is always danger of revealing too much. Also, the use of emojis can be misleading. After all, there is no specific emoji that unequivocally says that ‘I am not serious’.
The truth is, when it comes to relationships, realistic goals have to be set. Timelines have to be practical and such that one does not feel any pressure. Entering into a relationship is not just another task to be ticked off a ‘to do’ list. It is meant to be an enjoyable experience. Those who are finding it tough to take the first step, or have already taken the plunge but are unable to swim, there are professional counsellors to guide them through it all.