My friend Leila is seeing two guys. I say, good for her! It’s interesting because she communicates with each of them in two totally different ways.
The first has absolutely zero presence online. No profile on a company website, no Facebook page, no Flickr feed of his latest holiday or comments left on blogs for her to dissect. He’s a young attorney and “doesn’t have the time”. In fact, according to Leila he’s even elusive on e-mail. Basically she can’t find any dish on him at all (c’mon, you know you Google your dates too!).
They primarily communicate by speaking over the phone a couple of times a week (yes he does have a RAZR) and they see each other a couple of times weekly.
The second guy she’s dating is totally plugged in. He’s on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Vimeo, Digg, you name it.
They communicate several times a day via iChat, SMS/MMS text, and e-mail. They’re “friends” on Facebook. And, thanks to Twitter she always knows what he’s up to. Is he seeing anyone else? Who needs a magic 8 ball – ask Twitter!
Interestingly enough, although she communicates much less with guy #1 she feels closer to him.
While communication with guy #2 is consistently frequent it feels superficial because she doesn’t have his undivided attention. Oh, and it doesn’t help that she rarely sees him in person.
Guy #1, while she sees him on a regular basis, has more to talk about with IRL (In Real Life…hah). She also has no pre-conceived thoughts about him that she’s garnered herself from digging up dirt online; no assumptions as to who he may be as a person. She’s gotta find this all out on her own.
If we communicate more frequently with someone thru different mediums does it necessarily promote a healthy relationship? it doesn’t appear that we’re getting to know a person on a truly deeper level, maybe even at all. With so many of life’s distractions online and in real life, is communicating with anyone on a meaningful level even possible? Have we become all “action” and no “talk”?
A relationship of any kind is meant to be rewarding. Each party wants validation from the other. In a narcissistic world where most online profiles are carefully self-groomed for vanity, the concept of nurturing any kind of relationship becomes a hall of mirrors where each friend appears just like the next.
Maybe the relationships of the future will revert to old-school techniques and mannerisms – like sitting down in person and having a conversation. Even then the smoke and mirrors ambiance of a dimly lit restaurant, music, and people-watching exist. Perhaps just having the opportunity alone to get to know someone – who they really are, not just online and via mass-emails – is what creates a meaningful relationship.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts by clicking on the comments field at the top of this post.