The hard part of online dating isn’t finding other single people. That’s actually the easiest part, since they’re everywhere. No, in all reality, the most difficult element of online dating is talking to and having fun with the people you do meet. It’s apparently so tricky that in New York City you can take a class with the Nonverbal Group, a company that essentially teaches basic social skills to anyone who is willing to learn.
Dating digitally is the perfect solution for people who have exhausted their resources and need help finding a date. But thanks to that same digital power, it seems that many people have subsequently lost their social savvy. New York Magazine writer Kat Stoeffel explored the backlash of online dating and found that more people than ever feel uncomfortable if there isn’t a computer or smartphone in between them and their date.
These social skills classes are taught by 20-somethings like Blake Eastman and Adam LaDolce, dating coaches who ultimately tell their clients that what they need isn’t a better online dating site. It’s an ability to read body language. Eastman’s website says, “Attraction is a key element of the dating world, and it is displayed 100% of the time nonverbally. You just need to know what to look for” (par. 5). His classes are popular because people feel disconnected–even from the people they are dating–because they don’t know how to really talk and listen to one another.
Eastman and LaDolce both preach methods that hand the reins to the men. They are the ones who “seduce” while the women are “passive objects of their desire”, as Stoeffel says (par. 17). Patriarchal traditions aside, it’s obvious by now that someone is going to have to make the first move. In 1 Peter 3 the elements of godly marriage are defined by a give-and-take by both man and woman–but the man is clearly the leader. This concept was very well-taught in a sermon series by Flatirons Church in early 2012. Unfortunately, many men online tend to wait on women to initiate contact with them as much as women wait on men to initiate contact. Ideally, Christian men would take the initiative by reaching out to women they feel drawn to and pursue the connection through integrity, sensitivity, and moral boundaries.
Online dating has definitely created some trends in our social landscape captured below.
1. Body language is a lost art:
It’s hard to look at how a person is standing and know exactly what they want. Does that look on their face mean you should talk to them or run for the door? We spend so much time on our computers and running dating apps that many people have lost the ability to have successful face-to-face conversations and to read body language effectively.
2. Dating has become more casual:
Perhaps it’s the fact that some dating sites are now designed to look like online shopping markets, but people just don’t think of dating as seriously as they used to, and it shows. The formality of courting seems to be getting dimmer and dimmer.
3. Talking to people is getting harder:
Because of excess screen time many people are losing or not developing effective communication skills to speak with some in real life and to cultivate deeper intimacy and connection.
4. Online is going offline:
Anyone who has been in the online dating trenches can tell you that meeting in person can do in thirty seconds what it takes weeks or months to do over Facebook messages or chat sessions. As people meet online and try to see one another in person as soon as possible, it’s likely that our general social skills may start returning.
So, while online dating may be making an impact on the dating scene within our culture, as believers we must uphold God’s standards whether we meet people online or offline. Let us excel at treating others with love, respect, and selflessness so we can reflect Him in our words, thoughts, and deeds.
Stoeffel, K. “Has the Online Dating Backlash Arrived?” Kat Stoeffel. Retrieved on February 25, 2014 from nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/has-the-online-dating-backlash-arrive.html
By ChristianCrush team. ChristianCrush is owned by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D. who is a Christian Psychologist. ChristianCrush aims to be the most authentic, innovative, and trustworthy site on the web for believers to connect. They were invited to post on Triple Braided Life to share their expertise on the Christian dating world. To get in touch with Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D., please find him on Google Plus.
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