BY TAHLIA PRITCHARD
A guy asked me out on a date once. Like actual, ‘I want to take you out for dinner’ kind of date. I had only met him once and I had been a few cocktails down, so I was a bit hesitant about it all. So naturally my next thought was ‘I’ll just add him on Facebook, and go from there.’
Except I couldn’t go from there – the guy didn’t accept my friend request. And I knew he had been online, because his profile picture had changed since I had requested him. Yet he was still texting me, asking me to go out with him. Wait, what?!
How was I meant to go out with him, when I hadn’t sufficiently stalked him yet to figure out whether I wanted to go out with him or not?
In reality, the guy probably had the right idea. Dating is meant to be about getting to know someone, not stalking them on social media before agreeing to go out with them. But I can guarantee you I am not the only one out there that has social media stalked someone before getting better acquainted with them. If you say you haven’t, I don’t believe you.
It’s more than a little ironic that social media sites are being blamed for a lack of social skills amongst younger generations. Would I prefer to chat to someone online compared to having a phone conversation with them? Absolutely. However when does online communication start to become detrimental in everyday life?
On my tumblr I used to write a fair bit about personal things – everything from serious issues I was dealing with, to funny stories about my life. There came a point though where I’d go and see my friends in real life and go to tell them a humorous antidote only for them to say ‘Oh yeah I know, I read it on your blog.’ Major story killer.
Then I came the realisation: I (along with my friends) was relying too heavily on social media as a form of communication, instead of taking the time to socialise the old fashioned way. You know – the way that involves picking up a phone, or taking a step into the big scary outside world and actually seeing people in the flesh, as compared to them being a flashing icon on a computer screen.
How many times have you hung out with a group of friends, and looked up at some stage to see you all had your phones out and were communicating with others via social media? GOD FORBID you miss that one tweet or Facebook notification. How many times do you check in on a night out to show just how much fun you are having, because like, EVERYONE must know. In some ways we are more social than ever, but communicating and interacting less on a real, social level.
Personally I’m not going to blame social media for ruining our social skills, because many friends I have made and people I have grown closer too, have been through communicating online. I credit social media to introducing me to some pretty fucking awesome people. I think the main difference to make (and I encourage everyone to give this a try), is when you are hanging out with people in real life, to be totally present in that moment. The world can do without another instagrammed coffee pic after all. Meet someone new out? Resist the urge to internet stalk them, and get to know them organically first. Plus, there’s less chance of them telling you something, and you doing the awkward ‘Oh yeah I know’ slip-up. Tone it down stalker.
And as for the date? It was pretty disastrous, but I don’t blame a lack of Facebook activity for that. In fact, I am grateful now we were never Facebook friends – that’s one awkward delete I didn’t have to deal with.
Article by Tahlia Pritchard, a self confessed social media addict. This can be proven by the sheer amount of tweets she has.