Is technology ruining relationships? – Part III

By kate casler

Next up: Meeting dates through friends.

Now, I had to dip a little further back into my past for this one. Mostly because after the result of this, I now firmly believe you should not set up friends unless you are willing to drop one of them should things go wrong (or be okay with them dropping you). When the break up comes along a world of awkward is left over and someone typically winds up pulling away to avoid it all. In this scenario my best friend and her boyfriend decided to set me up with the boyfriend’s best friend (we’ll call him Watson). With two irreplaceable friends, the break up was a disaster waiting to happen. But let’s back up to the beginning. This relationship taught me two very important things in regards to technology. First, technology can easily create a buffer that causes two entirely different relationships to evolve between one couple. Second, there is absolutely a double standard when it comes to communicating.

I touched on this briefly in the last section of this series, but when texting or talking on the phone with a date it can create a disconnect with the in-person relationship. Technology makes people braver in communicating. Not only is the person not there in front of you to dole out repercussions for the things you say, but it also allows for you to methodically think out what you want to say and sound much more eloquent.  With Watson, anytime we were communicating with a buffer things were great, he was smooth, sweet, and we were constantly joking around. The second we got in person though, he froze up and things were awkward. I had no idea what to do. The Watson that was texting me I really liked and wanted to be with, but the chemistry dissipated once we were together in person. In the end, it created an unfortunate lingering for this relationship. This brings me to my second point: the double standard between men and women for communicating technologically.

So as the relationship lingered, it existed almost entirely technologically. But I quickly saw I had to act differently than he did when talking to one another. For girls, it’s very important for us to play it cool. We have to be calm, collected, and blasé about it all. This typically translates in waiting for the boy to text you and trying to not be the last one to send a message. But sometimes when you really like someone (especially when you’re trying to let go of said person) you are tempted to do more texting. God forbid you ever do anything such as double text him or you’ll come off as clingy. Instead, I found myself doing what many girls do in this situation, texting a friend whenever I felt like texting him. She got bombarded with texts rather than him and kept my mind busy to prevent me from seeming too needy.

Yet, I found he did not run into this problem. If he wanted to text me he could, in fact if he wanted to send me two or three text messages without me responding it was fine. People didn’t think it was clingy or weird, simply because he was a guy. Some girls would even think it’s sweet. I’ve continually found this to be true. Guys will text with no shame for if it’s too much and no one cares, yet women feel obligated to hold back to avoid judgement. This means that guys essentially make the decision of when to talk. Ladies, why are we letting them have control? We need to equalize the conversation power.

So far this research has just yielded support that technology is damaging to relationships. It’s starting to make me wonder why we are even using it. As I move forward to the next method, online dating, it will depend completely on the use of technology. We’ll see if this will be able to change my mind on the matter or only make it worse.

Kate can be reached at [email protected]