I hate one word text messages. They seem to be so impersonal and they don’t serve a real purpose unless it is to end a text conversation. In the world we live in, effective communication is a lost art. People are afraid to express their real concerns or questions because they don’t want to be seen as too needy or nosy. The truth is that often texting becomes a substitute for a real conversation. I remember seeing a meme somewhere stating that you can’t get to know someone by only saying “hey” and “wyd.” Of all the text messages I get, those two annoy me the most. It speaks to a depth of laziness that is unmatched. I feel so unmotivated to continue the conversation after that. It means that I am going to have to carry all of the intellectual weight of the conversation if I want it to be something substantial. Both of these text messages require me to text something that will continue the conversation and sometimes (actually most of the time), I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want to answer a one word greeting with a trite question that ends in some cliche’ saying like “I’m fine,” or “I’m good.” It sets the tone for meaningless small talk that doesn’t serve any specific purpose. There’s this individual who has been randomly reaching out to me via text for the past 7 or 8 months. But never once has this person actually taken the time to actually call me. Which means that responding to endless text messages without an end in sight is an absolute waste of time. Whatever happened to purposeful communication with meaningful dialogue? It’s a lost art. There’s nothing like a good conversation about thoughts, dreams, and values. All that rich information is lost with the amount of “hey’s” and “wyd’s” that is thrown out there into the world. It’s really a shame.
I usually wait about a year or so before disclosing a bad date story, but I’m 100% sure this guy will never talk to me again so I’ll make an exception. Back in my days of online dating (I’m off all internet dating sites and apps indefinitely–or at least for the time being), there was an app I used that was geared toward professional millennials. I had some marginal success with it so when an anticipated relationship fell through, back to the app I went. I “met” someone relatively soon and we started chatting through the app then texting. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t super interesting. He had just finished a professional degree in the health field and had gotten a job with the government. However, he didn’t have a start date yet so he was just hanging out at home until it happened. He lived about 12 hours away on the East coast but mentioned that he would be in my area in a month. We tentatively agreed to meet up when he was in town. However, in the month or so leading up to him coming into town we didn’t talk at all. No phone calls, no texts, nothing. I forgot all about him until he texted saying that he was in the area. It wasn’t really the most convenient time because I was packing to go on a trip and trying to run some last minute errands. However, I thought it might be nice to add a face to a name. He wanted to meet up for coffee but didn’t have a car because he flew in (figures). So because I’m a nice person and because I had sorta given him my word I agreed to drive the 25 miles (one way) to meet him. I got to the hotel and saw him in person for the first time. He fit the description of the word “petite.” Nicely proportioned but I could see directly over his head and I wasn’t wearing heels. I don’t know a man who would be happy being characterized as petite, but it’s the truth. He wanted to get in my car and drive to a coffee place. I quickly vetoed that because he was only allotting me an hour of his time and it was way too much hassle. So we went to get a coffee in a little shop in the hotel lobby. I ordered my coffee first and then waited a few seconds to see if he would offer to pay. Negative. So I bought my drink and moved out the way to him to get his. Side note, in his defense he was unemployed and was probably counting pennies. But then again my drink was 3 bucks and he had invited me and I had driven 30 minutes. But whatever. Secondly, he took a long time to order. He requested 4 different samples before he finally made up his mind. The process took about ten minutes with him sipping and declaring it wasn’t what he wanted and asking for something different. The conversation we had afterwards was nothing short of boring. I tried to get him to talk a little about himself but it wasn’t really interesting (real talk). It was a conversation that required effort instead of flowing seamlessly. So as we approached the end of the allotted time I decided it was time for me to go. He proceeded to walk me to my car, give me the most awkward hug in life and then walk away. Right out of my life…. not surprised though.
Ever since I was in college, one of my few occasional internet surfing activities have included browsing the Craigslist personal ads. I’ve never responded to one but they have been very interesting. Over the years I’ve learned the lingo and what the abbreviations mean. I often wonder what brings people to the point that they decide that true love might be found through the personal ads on Craigslist. Which, by the way is also proof of the fact that most of the country does not know how to write a decent sounding sentence. The way people write these days is nothing short of atrocious. But I digress. I’m not going to lie, I admire their optimism because despite the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic, I’ve seen one too many Catfish episodes where it did not turn out nicely. It’s one thing to meet someone in person and then continue the interactions via social media and other web-based means of communication. It’s a totally different thing to have no point of reference and start a serious relationship based on the understanding that the other person is who they say they are. It’s a huge gamble that doesn’t always turn out the way that you want. Just last night I was watching a Catfish episode where a girl was asking Nev and Max to help her finally meet her FIANCE’ in person because all their interactions had been online. Turns out, the fiance’ was a fake profile and phone number created by her best friend to help her get through a rough patch in her life. Talk about a let down. The thing is that all that emotional pain was avoidable. I know that internet dating has begun to rise in popularity and that it’s a great alternative for a lot of people. But I still strongly prefer face to face interaction. It’s easy to hide crazy behind a screen but it’s harder in person. It’s said by some that during the first few dates you’re seeing someone’s “representative” because they are trying their hardest to impress you and to put their best foot forward. I think that this process is dragged out much longer than necessary when exchanges only happen online. It’s not impossible to find true love online. I know people who are in very successful relationships as a result of online dating. I just don’t care for it.