One more date story and I won’t post another one for a while…. Anyway, once upon a time I was told that the way to meet a nice and stable significant other was join a nice church and get very involved to the extent that I forgot about getting a significant other and then he would magically appear. He would sing my praises. And tell me that he had been watching me since day was and was impressed with my selflessness and willingness to dedicate my time to a worthy cause and we would live happily ever after. (totally different blog topic). Needless to say, I decided that I needed to become more involved in church related activities and joined a church. A rather large one. One day after service I got approached by this guy. Well, more like stalked because he lurked in the shadows while I was talking to other people. He tried to be discreet by looking at his phone (oldest “newest” trick in the book) and looking away whenever I glanced in his direction. Side note, working in a locked secure unit with psychotic individuals will make you learn how to be extremely aware of your surroundings at all times. Anyway, he didn’t approach me and I continued to talk to other people. I soon wrapped up my conversations and headed for the door. Then he made his move and called out “Ma’am!” as I was headed to my car. Not trying to be rude, I stopped walking and waited for him to catch up. He told me his name and stuck out his hand for the limpest handshake in life. I didn’t hold it against too much because homeboy was super nervous. He started to stutter because he was so nervous. As painful as it was to watch, I decided to do the right/nice thing. I’ve been told that I appear way too unapproachable and I tend to have a “don’t talk to me” vibe/persona/whatever when I have something to do or a timeframe. So this guy stutters through telling me that he’d like to get to know me better and asking for my number. I knew that it took a lot to get up the courage to approach me and I didn’t want to brush him off because rejection really sucks and he had this little puppy dog look. I’ve never been in the business of crushing hearts and dreams. I felt bad for him but also wanted to provide some positive reinforcement to approach other women in the future. There’s enough men out there who don’t. So I gave him my number. The real one. And inwardly shuddered while doing so. About a week or so later he called me up. I answer the phone and there’s this long awkward pause. He doesn’t say hello, he just breathes. So I say hello again and he finally responds to the greeting. After this follows the most awkward conversation I’ve probably ever had over the phone. It’s apparent that he expects me to carry the entire conversation so I put on my therapist hat and made an effort to engage him. No luck..he gives vague one word answers and it’s the conversational equivalent of pulling teeth. So I make a very legitimate excuse about needing to get my rest for the night and I end the call. I don’t hear anything from him for a few weeks. I’m not really surprised. Then one Saturday he calls me again. Another awkward conversation ensues. But this time he’s asking me out to a comedy show he won 4 tickets to. He tells me that he has a friend who wants to go and he asks me to find a friend to come as well so it’s a double date. Being as accommodating as I am I told he I could probably find someone but that his friend would have to pay for what she ordered. He balked a little but eventually agreed. Mind you, he asked me out on the day of the event with about 5 hours advance notice. Needless to say, I found a friend who agreed to come along. We got to the place and he was late. I get it. Things happen. He apologized. The three of us waited for his friend to arrive. And waited. And waited. The venue opened and people were going in. They announced that the doors would be closed after a certain time and no one else would be allowed entry so that the show wouldn’t be interrupted. No friend in sight. He wanted to wait for his friend to arrive before we went inside but gently insisted that we had 3 out of the 4 people present and that it didn’t make sense to miss out on the entire show just because one person was late. He begrudgingly agreed and called his friend. Turns out his friend was currently sitting at home watching the NBA finals and said that he intended to leave his house when the game ended. So we went inside and watched the show. His friend arrived about an hour and a half late and snuck in through the stage entrance in order to get in because the main doors were closed. My guy had a grand old time and probably about 4 beers too many. His hyena like laughter bounced off the ways off the venue and his friend’s manners weren’t that great either. However, when the bill came they both paid for our food. So if having food paid for is the determining factor for a date I guess this was one. My friend went home and he offered to walk me to my car. I guess hoping to chat a bit more or at least get some reward for his efforts. His friend followed him as he walked me to my car. I thought it was hilarious. Now, I’m not the expert by any means on social cues but if my friend has a date and he’s walking her back to her car I know enough not to follow them both right to her car door. Apparently his friend didn’t get that memo. Needless to say, the nonexistent mood was killed. He texted me again a few weeks later. I didn’t reply.
One thing that I’ve heard in a lot of conversations recently (outside of the election) is the lack of quality conversations and interactions because everyone is on their phone. From the young to the old, it’s not uncommon to see people in restaurants texting away or checking social media but not talking to each other. It’s like no one wants to actually talk face to face and develop conversation skills. I’ve been on several dates in the last few weeks and I have to say that there are few things as rude as stopping mid-sentence and pulling out your phone. If I’m paying attention to you I don’t want to be sitting quietly while you scroll through your phone. Now, in no way am I saying that I’m not attached to my phone because that wouldn’t be the case. It’s almost like a security object. However, there are times when I know to put it away and have an actual conversation. It would be nice to see that happen just a bit more.
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer that I am writing this on 0 hours of sleep so my attempts to proofread before posting will likely be futile due to exhaustion and the magnetic force of sleep. First off, this article pretty much exactly captures my beliefs on texting. As a child of the technology age, I will be the first to admit that texting is definitely a time saver. Who wants to spend ten minutes in a conversation when you can convey your thoughts in ten seconds? I remember getting charged money (probably five cents or so) in order to send and receive text messages. It really made me consider and think twice about who I was texting. My whole point is that somewhere along the way we’ve lost the human connection. Texting someone who you know well is different than texting someone you just met due to the fact that there is already an established relationship between you and your friend. You are aware of the nuances that come along with how he or she phrases their sentences. It’s so much easier to read between the lines because you know what they are trying to say and what they actually mean. I recently had the most unpleasant experience of having an extremely awkward conversation via phone. I was talking to this individual who shall remain nameless, and I felt at a loss. I remember thinking to myself that this individual must be an avid texter because they just could not talk. And by saying this, I mean that they did not have the art of holding a conversation–at least over the phone. Being a therapist, I’m pretty good at asking questions that invite people to open up and to tell me what is really going on in their lives. However, asking questions to this person was akin to pulling teeth. Slowly. Without anesthesia. Most annoying thing ever. I would ask a question and the answer would be non relevant to the question. The information that I was able to gather was confirmation that this individual’s number would soon be collecting dust in my phone so I simply acted on the inevitable and deleted the number after that first conversation. Plus, this person did not know me well so I was not as concerned about building rapport. I just wanted a decent conversation but it was not to be. While I am definitely more of a fan of texting than calling, there comes a time where you just need to pick up the phone and call someone. There are few feelings as great as having a great face to face or phone conversation. You just don’t get that through text messaging. So take some time to give some people an actual call. Build your communication skill-set. Just remember that you miss a lot when you text so take some time and give some old friends a call instead of texting them.