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Does Social Media help or hurt dating relationships?

June 7, 2009

I’ll be the first to admit how much I love social media. It has allowed me to connect with people from all over the world and I’ve met some of my best friends due to the power of social media. However, when it comes to dating relationships, I’m on the fence.

Think about it, there are so many ways for us to connect with each other now, whether it’s from our computers or our phones. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Skype, Seesmic, AIM, email, and the list goes on and on. We are definitely building relationships with each other, and I would even argue that these are authentic relationships, when we want them to be, but how important is it to have the physical intimacy when dating someone. I’m not just talking about sex, so get your mind out of the gutter. What about holding hands, cuddling, kissing, having a hand on the small of your back, or even just having your legs brush when sitting next to each other? No matter how good Social Media gets, it can’t replace any of those things.

Looking back at the attempts at dating relationships I’ve had with the help of social media, I’m coming to find out that the person I’m interacting with online usually is NOT the same person in person. Why? It usually has to do with the person I’m building in my mind with the help of the conversations happening via Social Media that creates someone a little different then who the person is IRL. It’s not their fault, but due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, what else do I have to work with? You can’t interpret tone through text messages, IM, etc. so isn’t it natural to interpret as what you hope for?

I know a few couples who are separated by an ocean who are ‘dating’ with the help of social media. It’s great that those tools are available, but I often wonder if I’d be able to have a real relationship without seeing each other often. Don’t misinterpret this as being needy. The last thing I want is someone needing attention from me all day, every day and I’m definitely not the person to need to know where my S.O. is at every moment. I figure anyone I date will be just as much of a rock star, hard worker, driven person as I am, which means we’ll both be busy with our own things. I believe that means the time together should be that much more important.

For me, I like to usually get to know someone before I’m attracted to them. One of the most attractive qualities I look for in someone of the opposite sex is a sense of humor. Add to the mix someone who can surprise me and keep the conversation going and you’ve got a triple threat. That’s extremely sexy and highly irresistible. And yes, for the most part, these things can be achieved via Social Media, but it doesn’t make it the best way to get to know someone.

The power of Social Media allows us to meet people from all over the world, which is pretty frickin’ amazing when you think about it. But I keep thinking that it can only compliment a relationship, not replace it.

So after all of this, I continue to sit on the fence in trying to decide whether Social Media helps or hurts dating relationships. What do you think?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2009 6:54 pm

    Karen,

    I think social media can increase your exposure, help introduce you to folks, get you to events and places where you might then meet somebody f2f. In themselves I think they’re just tools, hopefully for supplementing the social but not as a substitute.

    I’ve yet to meet somebody I thought had lost conversational skills from tweeting too much. I have sometimes wondered if I had a person’s complete attention — there was that time we were all in Sonoma and folks were tweeting away before dinner came. Everyone looked up at one point coz Jeremiah had tweeted that folks stop tweeting during dinner! But all around I think most of us get a lot of f2f interaction.

    One thing I have noticed — it’s good for character to have a few non technical, non-work related pastimes. We do seem a bit social media obsessed at times, and that’s not good for dating (imho).

    I also know you — and you’re an f2f person — so you should defintely be getting out there! Make yourself available when you do! Cafes with book and no tweeting… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • June 7, 2009 7:04 pm

      Adrian,

      Love your input and it’s much appreciated. Totally agree with increasing exposure. Let’s be honest, isn’t that why so many people use Social Media. It’s just interesting the way relationships, specifically dating/romantic, are developing through the use of Social Media. Not saying it’s good or bad…just saying for me, it’s hard for me to feel I’m getting to know someone as who they really are without that f2f time.

      I’m trying more and more to put the phone away and be offline for a few hours at a time. Get out and enjoy life and people. That’s what it’s all about now. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And you’re right about getting out there…and you’ll be happy to hear I am.

  2. June 7, 2009 7:22 pm

    Hey Karen, I think this is an interesting question from many angles. There’s different issues in each part of the dating process. What are the rules/feelings that should govern how you meet someone, get to know them, or maintain a relationship.

    As you know, I’ve got a long distance love and it’s been helped by Social Media in the knowing what else is going on his life (FourSquare checkins let me know where he is and who is out with, for example). However, as we were getting to know each other last year and still both dating other people, some of his Twitters were downright cryptic, leading me to wonder what his true intentions were.

    However, like any online dating – people create a persona often times online, and that f2f space is incredibly needed to see if there’s any actual chemistry. I find that sometimes you can spend a lot of time talking to someone online, and you can be incredibly wrong about how you think they will be in person.

    This would be a great dinner conversation topic. Maybe next CFC ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 7, 2009 7:44 pm

      You’re right about finding out about chemistry when f2f. It’s such an important piece of a relationship. Another piece I didn’t even touch on is how they act around their friends. I think people can be one way in a one-on-one situation and totally different when in a group.

      And definitely think SM can help in keeping up with each other while long distance without feeling too needy.

      Ultimately, I think it comes down to how the two in the relationship best interact considering the situation. Just interesting to think about and would love some CFC discussion on it. Miss you!

  3. July 8, 2009 8:04 am

    I love the fact that social media can help the first get together be better and less uncomfortable than your normal first date!

    Think about it…

    Instead of having to ask “so, what’s your favorite movies?” you already know thanks to them being listed in facebook. You can just jump right into a good question to have good conversation, such as “I saw one of your favorite movies is Office Space. I love that movie, too! Have you ever had one of your own Bill Lumburg bosses at a job before?”

    Brings in deeper, better, substantial conversation.

    Do your homework before going out and you have a better chance of creating a really good first date!

    mjh

  4. February 3, 2010 11:15 am

    I think Social Media at minimum gives people perspective on social norms (at least we hope so) but at the end of the day, they are just tools and used the wrong way they can have diverse results.

    And I agree with some of the comments above the chemistry and commonalities really come through face to face. Matchmakers and personalized dating services help that effort. Moreover, if it doesn’t work with one person. Ask your matchmaker to set up a date with another person.

  5. March 22, 2010 6:55 am

    Check out this cartoon to see how social media is important for dating: http://www.sociallycharged.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cartoon7.jpg

    • June 4, 2010 6:23 am

      Should I be embarrassed that I relate to the woman in the cartoon? :-/ Very funny!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. May 25, 2010 12:43 am

    Good post and good thoughts on the subject.

    I believe that dating sites as we know them are stuggling because of social media sites. Social media sites gives you a better impression of a person than a regular dating website – regular dating sites are like marketing ads whereas a facebook profile tells you way more about the person as they are in real life.

    • June 4, 2010 6:29 am

      I have to disagree a little with your statement. I think any form of profile, whether it’s a dating site or social media site, allows people to ‘sell’ themselves. When I friend someone on Facebook, I want my profile to be interesting in hopes that they’ll accept my friend request. I totally sell myself there. Granted, I may think that way because I work in Social Media so every profile is like a mini-resume for me.
      However, I’ve seen a few dating sites (yes…I’m on a few!) that allow you to import from your Facebook profile. A little cross over which may make the dating pool a little more ‘real’, thanks to Facebook.

      Thanks for the comment!

  7. September 15, 2011 1:51 am

    I definitely agree with your blog. I feel social media has changed what our relationships are today by so much. I feel because of social media all romance has been lost in a relationship and people forget how to normally act and carry on a real conversation with one another. Like texting for example, it’s not a romantic as a note left on your door and meaning is all lost when you talk over facebook or texts. All sentimental value is lost.
    I think social media is great for a lot of aspects in our lives but dating is not one of them.

    • September 22, 2011 12:04 pm

      Thanks Caroline. I can remember back to the less stressful, aka less ‘stalkful’ days before social media came into play. Funny enough, I wrote that post just as I was starting to date someone in another city. It seemed that social media could have helped us stay ‘connected’ throughout the day. But, why share things publicly that you hope your someone special would see? Just text, IM or for heaven’s sake CALL them! It can definitely help, but can also be a huge ‘hurt’ if regular communication isn’t a priority.

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