Love In The Age Of Communication

Published on Author GG RayLeave a comment

 

Can you imagine how wonderful low stress dating must have been before the age of constant communication possibilities? When you could say, “I tried to call you, but you were out,” without fear of call display or a functioning answering machine blowing your story wide open?

Well, those days are gone. And with the advent of ever-expanding options to get a hold of any one, any time, the entire culture of communication at all stages of a relationship has changed.

Pros And Cons

Angry-woman-screaming-to-the-telephoneOn a positive note, with so many modes of communication out there—e-mails, text messages, instant messenger messages, video or pictures over the phone, not to mention call display, waiting, silent or live messages, call, or even just leave a message on their blog—you can, in theory, get a hold of any one at any time. If anything, our personal accessibility is at an all-time peak.

There are a couple of downsides to this, however. First, it is awkward when the wrong people are taking advantage of that access. You could have 150 ways to be in contact, but when the person you want to contact you doesn’t, it’s just 150 ways to be disappointed. Conversely, if you are trying to shake someone, the days of just ignoring and not returning their phone calls are all but over. You have to monitor your call display before answering anything, block emails and messenger monikers, erase messages—the 150 ways that you can be reminded of and made to feel bad for blowing someone off can be just as tedious. It is much more difficult to accomplish the passive blow-off in our age of communication simply because we are inundated with options.

Another con when dating and contemporary communication collide is mixed messages. Back in a time when the only way to get a hold of someone was to call or show up, the rules were pretty clear. If you called or showed up, you were interested, to some degree. Now, with so many convenient levels of communication, there is absolutely no way of telling if someone emailed you because you were on their mind, or simply because they were bored at work and had run out of people to email. Texting and instant messaging are anyone’s game. It is a strange world we live in when the telephone, which was meant to depersonalize, and therefore take some of the pressure off, the initial courting process, is now one of our more intimate forms of communication.

Protocol

One of the biggest mistakes we make with all of our options is using the wrong mode of communication at the wrong time. Ironically, the more modes of communication we have, the more obfuscated our true meanings have become. The medium has to match the message you are trying to convey. Any media studies novice knows that how we communicate is as important as what we communicate. And when you are communicating with women, you must know that it is always a slippery slope of confusion and drama. Whether you know it or not, our lives are one big internal episode of Three’s Company. If you think we come to you with the most ridiculous misunderstandings and implied wrongs, you should get a taste of what our girlfriends diffuse before it even reaches your ears—or inbox.

In the spirit of clearing the airwaves and the lines of communication, it is time to clarify what are appropriate modes of communication for what messages, at least form the woman’s point of view.

Text Message

The text message is the lowest form of communication. It should be used only to confirm plans, track down someone, or make someone smile. If you want to track down a girl, text her, and see if she texts back. If you want to make her laugh, and just get her thinking about you, drop her a funny one-liner. If you are a romantic, drop her a sweet one-liner. If you are dirty, drop her a hot one-liner. Texting that is not used for quick, one-way communications, however, is crap. Texting should only be considered bonus communication, like a note on your pillow or a flower on your doorstep. A text does not replace a phone call, and, under no circumstances, should a text be used for the following: apologizing, breaking a date, breaking off a relationship, picking a fight. Using the text for any of these reasons comes off as both callous and cowardly.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a great tool to keep in touch with people and to have quick conversations to solidify plans. It is also a great way to flirt your ass off. Cyber-flirting is a fun and tantalizing practice. Because we are doing it online, we tend to push the envelope a little further than we might in person. It is easy to camouflage a dis in the instant message environment, as well. If you make a romantic or dirty overture, it is easy to do it so subtly that you are not sticking your neck out so far as to invite rejection. You can dabble in some naughtiness, and if it is ignored, you get the message. If it is reciprocated, however, you can see where it leads you.

One problem with any kind of electronic communication, however, is that it does not always translate so comfortably in person. You can be a lot more familiar online that you would be in person. The physical distance from the situation seems to take away some of the self-doubt that appears to loom when we are face-to-face.

E-mail

E-mail has revolutionized the way that we communicate, maybe more than any other medium. It has all but eliminated formal letter-writing, and has replaced it with a more casual and instant form of communication, which also has its pros and cons. E-mail helps us to stay in touch at any time of the day form almost anywhere in the world. Like writing letters, we often commit to the keyboard what we cannot express in person. One paradox to e-mail is its instantaneous nature. One the one hand, we can communicate instantly. One the other hand, we can communicate irrationally and irreparably. It is one thing to say something rash and insensitive to someone’s face. It is another to commit it to paper, where they can read and re-read and digest it and never, ever erase it. It has replaced drinking and dialling as the new really effective way to lose your pride.

Telephone

Then there is the telephone. With wireless technology, you are expected to have a phone with you at all times, and bar being in surgery or maybe the shower, you are expected to answer it. There is no more excuses of “I didn’t get your message” or “I couldn’t get to a phone”–the accessibility has meant that we are expected to take more responsibility for being lax when it comes to being in touch. Unfortunately, it just means more disappointment now. When you don’t call us, we can only assume that it’s because you aren’t interested. So if you take a few days to return our message, we will assume not that you’re busy or cool, but that you’re kind of a jerk.

It is getting increasingly difficult for us to make excuses for guys who don’t call, what with all of these options. Don’t get me wrong, we still manage to come up with some doozies (an inordinate amount of men get hit by cars or have their hands broken by thugs in our justification fantasies), but we’ve had to become very creative. The more personally you treat women, the more you will stand out from the crowd of inappropriate texters. Women don’t want to be a part of your life of convenience. We don’t want some glib bait from you to make us do all the work. In an increasingly convenient and impersonal world, all it takes is a reassuring phone call and a little effort on your part to put yourself at the top of your lady’s buddy list.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a great tool to keep in touch with people and to have quick conversations to solidify plans. It is also a great way to flirt your ass off. Cyber-flirting is a fun and tantalizing practice. Because we are doing it online, we tend to push the envelope a little further than we might in person. It is easy to camouflage a dis in the instant message environment, as well. If you make a romantic or dirty overture, it is easy to do it so subtly that you are not sticking your neck out so far as to invite rejection. You can dabble in some naughtiness, and if it is ignored, you get the message. If it is reciprocated, however, you can see where it leads you.

One problem with any kind of electronic communication, however, is that it does not always translate so comfortably in person. You can be a lot more familiar online that you would be in person. The physical distance from the situation seems to take away some of the self-doubt that appears to loom when we are face-to-face.

E-mail

E-mail has revolutionized the way that we communicate, maybe more than any other medium. It has all but eliminated formal letter-writing, and has replaced it with a more casual and instant form of communication, which also has its pros and cons. E-mail helps us to stay in touch at any time of the day form almost anywhere in the world. Like writing letters, we often commit to the keyboard what we cannot express in person. One paradox to e-mail is its instantaneous nature. One the one hand, we can communicate instantly. One the other hand, we can communicate irrationally and irreparably. It is one thing to say something rash and insensitive to someone’s face. It is another to commit it to paper, where they can read and re-read and digest it and never, ever erase it. It has replaced drinking and dialing as the new really effective way to lose your pride.

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