Swipe once, try again. Swipe twice, thrice, and still no luck. Let’s start over before it gets dark. If this situation feels reminiscent of your recent stop by the grocery store check-out counter, then consider yourself fortunate to be blissfully unaware of the daily disasters of dating in the digital world.
Tinder, OkCupid, Facebook, Match.com, e-Harmony, J-date, J-swipe, J-shmipe…the cocktail medley of online dating and engagement apps continues to grow at an ever faster clip, all in an attempt to engage and foster digital affection among the millennial generation of 80+ million, which have now wrested title of most populace from the baby-boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A Change in Style
I find the use and reliance on digital platforms to source social engagement to be somewhat foreign. Now, please don’t confuse me for a prehistoric technophobe, as my credentials would surely suggest quite the contrary. Rather, a millennial and both staunch supporter and user of digital and social media myself, I do believe there is an apt place and time for their specifc use. Unquestionably, digital and social media have revolutionized growth and development in the international community in innumerable ways. But when it comes to personal engagement and bridging new relationships, I do fancy a more Renaissance-style, one-on-one personal approach. The stories of online dating gone horribly wrong among my millennial friends suggest that, rather than simplifying the centuries-old game of courtship, these online digital platforms seem to be the cause of deep relationship-related stress and a light-hearted “hook-up” culture.
It would be too self-serving and statistically outlandish to conclude that the rise of dating apps has catapulted divorce rates above 50 percent nationally. However, news outlets, and we millennials ourselves, have taken aim at the consequences of our digital dating ecosystem. Dating apps have efectively made dating too easy, to the point where we give less and ask more of our prospective counterpart. At the frst sign of distress, we resign the relationship to failure and go on seeking our white knight via the swipe of a button. For a generation at the cutting edge of innovation, how did we as millennials, succumb to the digital app Trojan horse?
A Modest Proposal
The solution: personal interaction. While it can be occasionally heart-wrenching and nerve-wracking to be in the presence of an attractive counterpart, there remains no substitute for the warmth of a genuine human voice. To that end, my fiancée and I often throw dinner parties and ask that each guest bring one friend. We only require that everyone turn of their cell phones and be present in the moment, an approach that always builds new, genuine relationships.
By Eric Goodman
Photo courtesy of Fairweather Magazine