Sunday, November 16, 2014

Social Media and Dating- A Good or Bad Change?

I was having a conversation with my daughter, who is in college, that has me thinking. We were having one of those rare moments when she was SHARING with me. In this little mother/daughter chat on the sofa she said, "Guess who asked me out? Someone we both know and have known for a very long time but I didn't go to school with. He's a year older than me." I didn't know who it was but the following conversation after she told me who the gentleman was has me thinking. It went like this:

J: "It was __________."
Mom: (A bit surprised) "Really? What did you say?"
J: "I don't know, it was weird, I don't really know him. I told him I didn't know what I was doing tonight."
Mom: "You've known him since you were like 7, but you're right you don't know him well. How did he ask you?"
J: "He sent me a Facebook message. I don't know, I just don't know him well, maybe if S (another mutual friend of the two who is a girl) went with us, I would go.
Mom: "I doubt he wants to hang with both of you. Sounds like he wants a date with you."
J: "But I don't even know him."
Mom: "But that's what dates are for, to get to know someone.
J: "Mom, that's not the way I do it."
*Scene closed*

I walked away wondering why it seems so different from when I was in college MANY, MANY, years ago. I think the answer is...Social Media. Social media gets a lot of bad publicity but hear me out, I think this might be a positive in the world. Today's teens and 20-somethings are getting to know each other BEFORE they go out on a date via communicating using Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, or "fill in the blank." This is where the attraction often begins, the flirting begins, BEFORE the first date. 

Couldn't this be a good thing? Young ladies and men not opening themselves up to being with a date they don't know very well, like we did in my generation. Sure, some things are probably lost in translation of using the Internet but it sure feels safer to this momma. Of course, I'm not saying that all relationships follow this pattern but thinking about my own kids and their friends, I see this happening a lot. 

Maybe just maybe this generation is using social media in positive digital citizenship ways when it comes to getting to know potential love interests. That possibility makes me smile. I know that as a mom I often call my kids on some of their social media choices but I'm very interested in seeing how this generation balances it with their "real life," how they learn from their mistakes, and the overall effect this life of constant "contactability" will look. 

Photo from Home By Design (Design Publishing) Dec/Jan 2015