Have you ever wondered what dating was like, say, 50 years ago? Old-fashioned dating, before pre-date social media stalking and “texting rules” existed, certainly had its advantages. Steps were involved in courting that had nothing to do with swiping right, investigating via social media, simultaneously exploring other options or making snap judgments based on one’s online persona. No, dating instead was given a real chance and involved interest from initial interactions, formal introductions, women being asked out on real dates, lengthy phone conversations, natural information-gathering and a decision to “go steady”. You wouldn’t find your date on social media first, or make decisions about them based on some frivolous digital profile. Oldschool practices are becoming increasingly rare (if not non-existent) in modern dating. In fact, the dating world has changed immensely as a result of both cultural and technological shifts, one huge one being social media.
Using social media to learn about and engage with a person has its benefits when it comes to career networking and maintaining friendships. It’s become the norm to get to know our peers through these streamlined timelines of filtered photos and witty posts. However, it may not be such a great idea to get to know someone you’re newly dating via means of social media creeping. When you let your impression of someone get influenced by their social media persona, you’re ruining your chance at getting to know – and falling for – their real persona.
The modern methods of meeting new people to date are incredibly efficient. Potential relationships are only a swipe away, and social media can be a timely and convenient means of collecting more information about a person of interest. But what are we missing out on when we’re engulfed by generous portions of information about someone we’re newly dating via social media? Can too much information-gathering be detrimental to dating, or is it really just about gathering that information the right way?
There are benefits of being pursued or pursuing someone in person, without access to each other’s social media accounts. If you want to give dating a real chance, I’m talking face-to-face, verbal communication where we ask meaningful questions instead of finding the answers on our own. Love may not happen as spontaneously as we often hope for, but you’re getting closer to love if you get to know someone organically, without that chain of filtered facts and information collected about them via their online presence. Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t find your date on social media, and why you should get to know them in real life instead:
1. You won’t jump to conclusions or get confused
It’s way too often that we jump to conclusions about someone based on something we read or see on their social media profiles. Most of the time, that conclusion is off or wrong. This type of confusion doesn’t happen as often in person. On social media, people share what they want about their life, and can easily tailor the image they present of themselves. Knowing this, the perceptions we develop about people are not always aligned with who they truly are. Whether this is intentional on their part or not, the most reliable way to learn about a person is direct conversation. We cannot fully comprehend someone’s personality through photos or status updates, and we must spend time with them to gain this clarity. At the end of the day, being loved for who you are (and not for that controlled image you fabricate online) can lead to an authentic and lasting relationship. It’s better to be honest upfront, as opposed to later realizing a person’s true colors are different than anticipated.
Social media can create jealousy, too, and most of the time it’s a skewed perception of something we see that ignites this jealous rage. That’s why social media stalking not only is a bad idea when you’re newly dating someone, but it also ruins relationships and can cause a relationship’s ultimate demise.
2. You could inadvertently turn down some great prospects
It goes like this: you make a new friend and then decide to add them on Instagram. Upon doing so, you see that they are incredibly popular, heavily followed, and very trendy. Has your perception of them changed? We so effortlessly either praise or devalue a person simply from the presentation of their life on social media. Depending on the value we see in ourselves, it’s not that difficult to assume we aren’t good enough for someone with a seemingly elevated social status. Discouragement to pursue someone can come in this form when we make false judgments or assumptions about someone based on their social media profiles. Similarly, judging someone from their online presence and devaluing them isn’t fair either, because the whole truth isn’t going to be found on Facebook. Getting turned off or deciding you’re not interested in someone isn’t fair if it’s being based off your social media findings.
3. You’ll get to discover unique and surprising things about them
If you were to find your dream job, but right off the bat also became aware of everything good and bad that would happen during this job, would you still take it? Oftentimes we find out more than we would initially like to know by searching through a person’s social media accounts. People tend to overshare on social media, and that oversharing can negatively effect someone’s view of you romantically. Facebook stalking can discredit the good things we initially see in someone, and cloud our perspective with the negatives. Perfection does not exist in any relationship or person, so we must keep that in our perspective. It can be the little quirks and imperfections that bring people closer together, with deeper unity. To the people we hold closest in our lives, some details must be shared in person, and not discovered online. You’d be surprised at how many awesome little things you learn in person that add up to something much greater than the original idea you’d have had of them based on a social media narration. An element of surprise is discoverable in person, but only if you go into it blind.
4. Getting to know someone during those first few dates will be so much more genuine and exciting
The new and beginning stage of dating can be tantalizing, exciting and memorable. Building a strong foundation for a relationship is crucial for the success of a couple. The first few dates are a great time to learn about the other in unexpected ways, discovering aspects of their life not yet known. However, if two people already have had access to loads of information about the other via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, it doesn’t leave much room for authentic questions to be asked and answered. Additionally, if communication through social media is put in place of these initial dates, true character can be hidden without any situational confrontation or challenges to face.
5. Real pursuit is all we really want
This reason is for the hopeless romantics, those that dream about this “spontaneous love” I mentioned. This could refer to a fated meeting in a coffee shop, a treacherous situation, or even reaching for the elevator button at the same moment. In reality, most relationships don’t start with a meet-cute such as these ones since these days it’s more likely you were matched on a dating app. This is why pursuing someone in person does take courage, as it takes an admirable display of interest in another for a potential relationship. This courage in itself is a big romantic gesture, a sign of self-confidence and boldness. You’re most likely to be pursued if whoever pursuing you can’t check up on you and keep tabs on you via social media, and therefore has to pursue you in real life instead. It’s this type of pursuit that leads to something real.