DATING UNPLUGGED: WHY TEXTING WHILE DATING ISN’T JUST RUDE, BUT MIGHT BE MESSING UP YOUR CHANCES FOR ROMANCE
Cellphones are without question the greatest invention we never knew we needed. These tiny pocket computers have launched revolutions (looking at you, Arab Spring), replaced everything from maps to calculators to boom boxes, and given us a way to never be alone (stuck in line at Starbucks? Quick, check Facebook! Text your mom! Anything but be alone with your thoughts for more than a few minutes…). And they’ve been changing how our brains work.
So naturally, we have to wonder, how have these smarter-than-ever phones changed the dating landscape? On the one hand, they’ve brought a new platform by which to meet an increasing number of dates—Google searches for “best dating apps 2018” are up by over 2000% recently. On the other hand, they’ve been fundamentally altering (or interfering with) the dating process.
Our very own University of Florida has been studying the addicting nature of cell phones—or more accurately, our newfound addiction to being constantly connected without having any quality connections. The rapid access to social contact and information can magnify existing anxieties we don’t even realize we have. Sensitive to how others perceive you? A lack of timely responses to your texts and voicemails can exacerbate that sensitivity into a bigger stressor. Perfectionist in need of always making the best decisions? Endless Yelp reviews (and dating profiles) can lead to analysis paralysis and decision fatigue. As we’ve already mentioned in our previous article on online dating apps, nearly 31% of users believe dating apps keeps people from settling down, because there’s always another option down the line, according to Pew.
But most importantly for dating, phones without question interfere with our ability to connect in the moment. Despite what we’d all love to believe, multitasking is a myth that our brains can’t really do. At best, we are rapidly shifting our attention between tasks. That’s a great skill to have in a workplace, but terrible for forging a romantic connection. Chemistry is built on trust, respect, bonding, and physical attraction. While attraction can sometimes be instantaneous, the other components take time and attention to develop. Every time your focus switches to your phone, no matter how briefly, it basically starts the bonding clock over again (not to mention reads as dismissive and disinterested to your date). Our matchmakers understand why our busy, professional singles are always trying to maximize their time, but that’s why it’s all the more important to focus completely when you’re on a date to get the most out of the experience you can. Let us save you time by discerning only the best matches for you in advance, so you can take the time you need to see if the chemistry is there.
Meanwhile, if you find yourself on the receiving end of some rude texting behavior, try not to be too offended right away. After all, we’re all figuring out this brave new world of dating in the age of smartphones together!