Dating and texting

Opportunities to find connections are no longer limited to face-to-face meetings.

Katherine George
Life Reporter

In a world of technology, dating has become a puzzle of decoding cryptic messages and virtual meet and greets.

A recent study suggests the increasing usage of technology in our daily lives causes confusion within relationships.

Online dating sites such as ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com (for Jewish clients) have co-commissioned their second annual State of Dating in America Report surveying more than 2,600 singles between the ages 18 and 59.

The survey was taken late last year between Sept.10-20 and has a three-percentage point margin of sampling error.

Twelve per cent of singles aged 18-24 are confused on a regular basis about whether an outing with another person is a date, according to the State of Dating Report.

In some cases, technology is a more common form of communication than a face-to-face conversation, changing the way individuals form relationships.

“The opportunity to find connection is no longer limited to face-to-face meetings, which creates endless opportunities. What you do with that technology likely has the greatest impact on the level of intimacy one would experience,” said Derek Stockley, associate dean, Humber School of Social and Community Services.

Fifty-seven per cent of those surveyed admit conversation through text message contributes to confusion about whether their outing is a date.

It is common for students to talk through text message, said Rebecca Hepditch, 20, first year paralegal student at Humber, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

“It is harder to tell if the person does like you because you can’t see their reaction and how the person is expressing what is being said as opposed to if they were talking to you face-to-face,” she said.

“It is more difficult. It creates questions that we shouldn’t have to bother asking, like should I have to text the girl? Little things like that. They shouldn’t even exist. It makes dating more ambiguous,” said Matt Herreman, 20, PROGRAM YEAR?? General Arts and Science student at Humber College.

The connection between two people is more appealing when it takes place on a more intimate and personal level, rather than just over an exchange of words through a screen, some students say.

“I think we are still in the early days of creating the language and social cues that we associate with social media, and with this evolution will come the opportunity for creating intimacy and connection that might be lacking currently in a simple text and emoticon exchange,” said Stockley.

Sixty-nine per cent of singles aged 18-24 prefer to be asked out on a date by phone call rather than text message said the report.

“I would prefer a phone call because you can hear the voice of the other person as opposed to a text message where you are just reading it,” said Hepditch.

“Definitely phone call because it is more personal. I don’t like how people hide behind phones and computers, it seems so phony and fake,” said Herreman.

Yet in a digital age, say some experts, technology is continuously evolving providing new forms of communication and individuals’ relationships must adapt.

“The pace of this change tells me that it is impossible to know what the opportunities for connection will be in five years, with the only certainty being that there will be more avenues to connect and not less,” said Stockley.