Vixen’s Guide to Dating in the Digital Age
It seems like dating is the topic du jour lately. From mainstream media outlets like “Nightline” and the Wall Street Journal continuously pondering the lives of single sisters, to films that constantly depict successful, lonely women looking for love, hooking up and finding “the one” seems like it’s on everyone’s mind these days.
But despite our infatuation with finding Mr. Right (or Mr. Right Now), many of us are fumbling our way through the dating game. Increasingly, we are living our lives, not just in real time, but also via the web. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have changed how we interact, both personally and professionally, and while much of it has been for the better, many of us have found that the interwebs have had a negative impact on our dating lives.
Gone are the days when you’d spend hours on the phone talking to your latest crush. We no longer have to speak to each other to share our life stories. Social networking sites and Google have made learning about your potential boo easier, but not as much fun. These days courting is done via text message, and those good morning/ good night calls that used to get you all giddy, are replaced by a tweet or Facebook poke.
To be clear, I have nothing against technology. I love it. But when it comes to matters of the heart, I’m a little old fashioned. So what’s a girl to do when she’s dating in the digital age, stalking is easier than ever, and a potential boo can uncover ALL of the skeletons in your closet before your second date?
Here are 5 tips to successfully navigate dating in noughties and beyond:
1) Have a Google Voice number: Yes, you have a cell phone number, so you may be wondering why you need another? One reason: Safety. I’ve seen women verbally harassed, and even assaulted, for refusing to give up the digits. So having a Google Voice number is not only smart, it’s also safe. If the whole, “I got a man” thing doesn’t knock down the confidence of a suitor, give him your Google Voice number and block it if/when he calls. Or better yet, assign him a permanent “busy” signal. Sure, it’s a little passive aggressive, but I’m all about safety first.
2a) DO NOT connect with a potential boo on social media: If you meet on the street, DO NOT connect via tweets (or any other social media outlet). In the beginning, dating is about mystery and getting to know each other through CONVERSATION. Sure, you can’t help if someone Googles you, but don’t give them access to your whole life before you’ve even had the chance to go out on a date. Allowing someone into your social media circle makes it even more difficult and awkward to 1) vent about your dates (isn’t this the fun part?), and 2) stop seeing each other. If you don’t connect in the first place, disconnecting is THAT much easier.
2b). Watch your mouth: If you meet your boo digitally you’ll have to be smart about what you say online. When things are great we have a tendency to share how happy we are and just how wonderful our boo is, but when ish goes wrong…well, you’ve seen enough “F*ck that ____ ” tweets and Facebook statuses to see how quickly it can get ugly. If you and your potential are already digitally connected then you’ll have to keep a little to yourself, or become very proficient in the art of subtweeting. Assign your boo a nickname and NEVER, EVER let on who you’re really talking about.
3) Don’t tell him you blog: If you have a blog, especially a personal one, it’s not a good idea to share your digital space with a potential. Why? It’s your room to speak freely about whatever and whomever (which may include them) that you want. You can’t do that if you know your potential boo is lurking on your blog trying to interpret every word you say.
4) Don’t rely on texting, tweeting, or Facebook: If the only way you talk to your boo is by texting or tweeting him, you’re not in a real relationship. Period. While there’s nothing wrong with sending quick hellos and flirty messages via text, at the end of the day, you need to talk to each other to make a relationship work. Communication is key. And having conversations digitally is one way to become disconnected from your partner and leave the door open for someone else to fill in the gaps.
5) Keep it light and don’t over think it: Sometimes we get so caught up in what could happen, what might happen, if we’d “work” as a couple that sometimes you forget it’s really just dinner, or a walk in the park, or a trip to the museum. It’s easy to get all up in your feelings–especially in the beginning–but pump your breaks and keep it light. Even if you’re deep, deep into liking someone, don’t limit your options to just that person until you both have a) discussed exclusivity, and b) have BOTH agreed to be each other’s steady.
Dating can be tough, but the beauty of being single is having the freedom to see whomever you want, do whatever you want (responsibly), and enjoy yourself while you do it. Live it up, because if you’re enjoying your life, you’re more inclined to attract someone who enjoys theirs as well.