How can singles stay proactive on the market without getting tangled up in all the wires?

A woman text messages SMS 370 (R) (photo credit: Vivek Prakash / Reuters)
A woman text messages SMS 370 (R)
(photo credit: Vivek Prakash / Reuters)
It doesn’t seem like a big stretch to connect the advent of technology directly to the recent statistics that show an overall, across-the-board increase in marriage age – although it wouldn’t be the only reason, or the most important reason, the connection is undeniable. E-mail, text messages, even such helpful tools such as JDate have only added to the confusion and complexities of dating. Suddenly we have more ways to meet potentials and even more ways to screw it up. Forgive me, but what happened to good ol’- fashioned courtship? Technology has led to lethargy.
Long gone are the days of replaying and deciphering a message on your answering machine until the tape wears thin – instead you get to decipher a one-line e-mail. Long gone are the days of showing up on time for a date because you would never think of letting the person sit there unaware – instead you receive a text message with a sad excuse in no more than 160 characters. Long gone are the days of meeting someone Jewish at a singles event held at your local temple – instead JDate will advise you of your online matches with a prescheduled email alert.
Long gone are the days of scribbling your name and number on a napkin – instead you just tell the guy or gal to add you on Facebook.
Long gone are the days of calling 10 times a day until you catch your crush at home – instead Caller ID means you phone once and hang up before the machine comes on because you know the person will see your number recorded on the handset and will hopefully take the hint to call you back; you don’t want them to think you’re a psycho for phoning repeatedly so you only call that one time.
Don’t you miss the more organic “butterflies in the stomach” feeling that came with wondering when a guy was going to call versus being able to chart his every move via Facebook and Twitter? The mystery and intrigue is palpably missing from this technologically advanced generation’s romantic overtures.
Remember when you used to script out an entire conversation because you liked the other person so much you were too nervous to wing it? There was the “if he or she answers” script and the “answering machine” script. There’s no reason we should have to sacrifice courtship – the fun parts and the sucky parts – just because of technology.
So how can singles stay proactive on the market without getting tangled up in all the wires? My advice: keep it simple and don’t let technology get the best of you. Sign up for JDate, but once you make a connection get offline immediately (you don’t have to deactivate your account until you’re confident you’re in a long-term, committed relationship). Don’t text someone until you’ve been on a few dates and then only once a day maximum during work hours or if you just need to say something quickly (e.g. “Be there in 10 minutes!”). Try to control yourself: don’t add your new flame on Facebook, instant messaging or even e-mailing until you’re in a bona fide relationship.
Save the conversations for in person, face-to-face.
You can even use this topic as a conversation piece, recounting the embarrassing photo you accidentally e-mailed to your boss or the ridiculously high number of friend requests you have yet to accept on Facebook or the absurd way you were once dumped via text message. Then parlay the conversation into how you want to handle a new relationship with (or without) these items.
Oh, the most important piece of advice I can give you – never, ever answer your phone during a first, second or third date! In fact, put the phone on silent... no beeping, no chirping, no ringing and definitely no vibrating. Don’t even look at the darn thing if you are even remotely interested in the person you’re on a date with! Dates should be cell-phone-free zones from which handheld devices are banished, checked at the door with your coat. You’re taking the time and effort to go on the date so give it your full attention and remember that you deserve and should expect the same in return.
If your date is checking his or her phone repeatedly, take it as a sign that he or she is unfortunately not interested and put an end to the date right then and there. No need to try to save the date; paying attention to their phone instead of you is a clear hint it’s not a match.
If you don’t believe me, just wait until after the date, when you either don’t hear from him or she rejects your request for a second date. People who are interested in you will pay zero attention to their smartphones when you are around.
There is one benefit to mobile phones, though – you can automatically assume a man is not interested if he gives you the “sorry I didn’t call, I was out of town on business” excuse – because we all know that cell phones work everywhere and there aren’t even long-distance charges anymore!