A Tinderella Story: The New Norm of Online Dating

Today, eHarmony (the posh dating website for people actually looking for something) released figures saying that by 2035, more relationships will start online than in person. Isn’t that mad?

And apparently, between 2015 and 2019, nearly a third of relationships started online. Suppose a good lot of them probably went on to break up, but sure they’re not gonna promote that are they? Anyway, it’s pretty clear that online is the new, popular, and probably the most likely way of meeting someone these days.

Maybe it’s just us millennials (before baby boomers start having a go at me), but meeting someone in person is becoming a bit of a novelty. When I hear people talking about how they met their boyfriend or girlfriend and they say “in person”, I’m genuinely surprised, because like, how?? Mutual friends, went to school together, met in Limelight, they’re the standard meet-cutes (learnt that wee term from ‘The Holiday’, hope I used it properly). But people don’t seem to talk to strangers in cafés, on buses or trains, or in department stores when reaching for the same pair of gloves.

I feel like romcoms really gave me a false sense of security. I mean, I’m still waiting to sit beside the love of my life on a plane, or have someone take pity on me and give me an umbrella when it’s absolutely LASHING outside. But no. And this is Ireland, where it always rains. So there have been AMPLE opportunities for people to swoop in there. Raging.

I’ve been waiting YEARS for a re-enactment of this ad.

People are on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and all those other sites like Plenty of Fish etc, because, even though the chances of meeting someone who isn’t a serial killer or bloon are pretty low, they’re still higher than meeting someone in person. It’s like a catch-22 situation: less people talk in person so more people go online, then because everyone’s online then no sees the need to talk in person.

Online dating sites had the reputations of being full of strange people, but now it’s the stranger ones who actually approach you. Let’s be honest here, if someone sat beside you on the bus and started flirting, would you think “ooh dreamy”, or “hmm seems like a weirdo. Could be a distraction so his friend can mug me”? Sad, isn’t it?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s something so much nicer about having actual face-to-face conversations with people. You can tell in like 30 seconds if you’re going to actually get on or not. Whereas, you could spend weeks talking online or texting, then meet up and realise they’re zero craic and don’t laugh at any of your jokes (but at least you find yourself funny). It saves you wasting your time and effort. Not that sending a gif is much effort like, but still.

My main concern is, what’s going to happen to romcoms? “Successful ladies man who has zero emotional capabilities and a hard-to-please da who always taught him to run from commitment, finally opens his heart to love and decides to quit his million-dollar-salary job for a small town girl he accidently superliked”? Doesn’t exactly scream ‘Box Office Record Breaker’ like. You’ve Got Mail is as modern and techy as I’m willing to have in a chick-flick, sorry.

Another thing is that surely it’s making people more superficial? You don’t swipe right on someone because they look like they might have a great personality, do you? We make a judgement on whether someone could or couldn’t be our future partner based off a few photos. I mean, who REALLY swipes past the third like? We judge people off wee trivial things like their hairstyle (even though they might only have worn it like that once), their shoes (they might’ve since binned that pair) and their names (don’t even pretend you don’t do that too). But maybe we’d overlook that if we had met them in person and realised that they’re actually really nice or funny.

There’s a lot out there about how social media is bad for our mental health and self esteem. What about online dating? Why is its popularity so celebrated when it’s making us all pretty shallow?

Thank you reading my rant about why I’m still single. The end.  

Has Social Media Made Us Anti-Social?

We’ve all heard older generations saying that nowadays, young people are anti-social and “nobody talks to each other anymore” or “they’re always on their phones”. True, we do use phones and the internet a lot more; especially for social media. But is social media really, well, ‘social’?

Yes, and no -agreeing to both means I can’t be wrong, right?

phones

People don’t talk to strangers on buses or trains as much as they used to. Yes, there’s the occasional chat about the weather or how bad the transport system is and how pointless the new Gliders are- they don’t even glide? They just roll slowly. Anyway, if I’m using my phone on public transport, I’m normally on social media, talking to people (how popular am I?!). So yes, I may not be speaking, but I’m still talking. If there’s no one I know beside me, then how much would I really be socialising otherwise?

Friends-on-Phones.png

Here’s where I draw the line. There’s few things I hate more than when you’re out with someone and they just sit on their phone instead of talking to you. I personally think choosing virtual social interaction over personal social interaction is rude and antisocial, like am I not enough craic for you? Who could POSSIBLY be more entertaining and funny than me? Give me attention, damn. Unless you’re about to show me your new boo or a funny meme, put the phone away with you’re with me, cheers.

giphy

Some people may choose to be ‘antisocial’ because they aren’t comfortable in social situations, or don’t have the confidence to speak to others, and so dodge social interaction instead. Sort of like the way you do everything you can to avoid phone calls, but with actual talking. Others may find themselves being accidentally ‘antisocial’ because although they’d like to make friends and socialise, they don’t really have the social skills or know how to or. Social media has enabled these people to talk and socialise without having to experience the personal interaction. It’s also meant that they don’t have to reply instantly, they can sit and think about what to say next if they find themselves unsure. They’re able to practise having conversations, so that they’re more comfortable when they do have face-to-face interactions. So I think social media is really good at helping improve some people’s social skills and enabling them to build relationships that they may never have had in the ‘real world’.

Although, this is only well and good if people take these skills and put them to use in the ‘real world’ to build personal relationships. But some people become reliant on online relationships and choose these over personal ones can then isolate themselves further, because they think “I have friends online, so I don’t need friends in person”. This leads to people becoming recluses, and so they don’t experience many human or social interactions. Which means that they’re more uncomfortable and awkward when they do have these interactions. So they avoid them. And this goes on and on and on.

Do you see why I said “Yes, and no” at the start now?

index
What a lucky gal

Social media gives us access to people we’d otherwise never meet- admittedly, some we’d rather we didn’t (@ 90% of people on Tinder), but that’s not the point. People are less restricted to who or how many people they can talk to. I mean why would you want to deprive anyone of having the chance to talk to me? It just doesn’t seem fair that people should have to miss out on this.

A lot of relationships now start online. Be it reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, sliding in someone’s DMs on Instagram, or the gift that just keeps on giving that is online dating apps like Tinder. Brilliant. People are meeting and falling in love with people they wouldn’t have met in a bar, or sat beside on a plane (one day this will happen me, just wait and see) or in a department store when reaching for the exact same pair of gloves. So I watch a lot of romcoms? Sue me. Dare you.

So yeah, social media is actually pretty damn good in my opinion at meeting new people and potential baes, if of course you ignore all the weirdos and catfish and bad experiences. But sure, they just make for great stories, eh? Eh?

I couldn’t choose which photo was funnier so I had to include all 3. Stock photos are so tragic sometimes.

We can keep in touch with family and friends abroad or on holidays. My sister lived in Korea for a year (I will never forgive you, Aoife) and if it wasn’t for social media, my parents wouldn’t be able to make sure she didn’t end up like Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken, and I’d have no way of telling her what face masks to post me over. So many of my friends also ditched me to go to England for university (I’ll never forgive youse either), but that doesn’t mean that I’m not able to talk to them everyday and make them feel guilty for leaving me behind. You think moving countries is gonna get rid of me? Nice try. Buzz, buzz girl. Me again.

phone-check-1.gif

So yes, people do seem to use phones more and speak less; but a lot of the time we’re on our phones talking to people, it’d be physically impossible (or unhandy) to be with them in person. I’m not exactly going to dander over to my friend’s house at 9am on a Sunday or at 11pm at night – that’d be a wee bit weird don’t you think?

Yes, there are phone calls, but once that call’s over, so is the interaction. I’d personally rather be able to talk to people throughout the day, than be limited to one certain time (I’m so clingy, damn). Not to mention trying to find a time when you and someone else are actually free at the same time; you can just quickly reply when you’ve a few minutes to spare. Basically, you’re able to fit your socialising into your schedule.

And yes, there are carrier pigeons, but I mean come on guys, animal rights? And they fly into a lot of windows. R.I.P Gary.

gh

I know not everyone’s the same, people use social media for different things. Some use it more than others. I use social media to talk to people when I’m not able to talk to them any other way, but I meet them in person whenever I can because I’m a social butterfly who needs constant attention and interaction. 🙂

So I think social media is social, and antisocial at the same time; depending on how, how much and when it’s used. I do think that society as a whole is becoming scarily dependent on technology (@ creepy Alexa), but sadly, I doubt this will change. So I’m using social media in a way that suits me and that I’m comfortable with. That’s the beauty of it. It’s so diverse that it can be used in so many different ways, so everyone can find what works for them. Yeah it’s changed how much we interact with each other, how and when. But is it necessarily a bad thing?