Dating In The Electronic Age—Know When to Pull The Plug

Imagine Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy courting in the age of electronics. Would Lizzie have too much pride to immediately respond to his text message? Would Mr. Darcy put aside his prejudice and open her e-mail? Oh, the drama! Jane Austen would have had a field day.

He's Just Not That Into You

The 2009 movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, an updated look at relationships, showed how technology has made the dating game more complicated. Mary, played by Drew Barrymore, discussed her frustrations:

“I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

texting-in-a-barYes, we have more gadgets at our disposal. But overuse and misuse can quickly doom a relationship. No guy wants to receive hundreds of text messages from someone he just met. A little self-discipline is needed. If used properly and sparingly, however, technology can be a godsend to someone timidly placing a toe in the dating waters. What follows are some lessons for dating effectively in the electronic age:

Guard your privacy. Think about what personal information you put on Facebook and who gains access to that information. I once met a guy at a bar downtown and we engaged in flirtatious banter back and forth for 30 minutes. At the end of the conversation, he asked for my phone number and the correct spelling of my last name. Within a few hours of arriving home, I went online and there he was, requesting my friendship on Facebook. I felt pressured to accept his request, but paused before clicking OK. Suddenly knowing that he would have access to all my Facebook photos, wall posts, and information, made me uncomfortable. He would be infringing on my privacy, making judgments without really knowing me. We hadn’t even kissed and I felt the need to start defending and censoring my behavior on the web.

Blind dating no longer exists. Whenever a friend tells you they have a great guy for you to meet, they usually tell you to check out his picture on Facebook. Judging someone this way, however, may cause you to miss out on some great guys. The process of dating, getting to know someone over time, should be fun. Technology has diminished much of the mystery in dating. Work to keep that intrigue alive.


Think before you type. Technology allows us to think and plan before we hit “send.” You may be angry, but pause before you send out that nasty e-mail you will never be able to take back. Never, ever send out something you will later regret when you’ve been drinking. Plan to meet someone for the evening? Wait until you have actually found a place before you text him with your location. There’s nothing worse than sending your man on a scavenger hunt around the city to find you on a Saturday night in Manhattan.

Don’t Miss “With Your Guy’s Cellphone, Are you the Third Wheel?”

angry-textDo not bombard someone with messages. If he’s not answering, he’s not interested. A coworker recently sent around a transcript of a BlackBerry Messenger conversation that took place during a ten-day period between one of his friends and a girl he was casually dating. The dialogue was e-mailed around to hundreds of avid readers within hours (her first name was used). Even after the guy made it clear he did not want to see her again, she continued to text him.

Amanda: Ok I’m not going to continue to drunk text you…have a good night/
I wish you didn’t make the decision that you did
Amanda : ?
Amanda : The decision makes me sad
Amanda : Are you alive
Amanda : This is just rude.
Amanda : I’m home – gnight
Amanda : Seriously is everyhing ok
Amanda : I’m sorry about last night

With technology, events can quickly spiral out of control. If he doesn’t respond after a few texts, don’t continue to contact him. Read the signs and know when to stop. If you want to vent or ruminate about your day, start a blog or phone a friend.

Bring back the busy signal. Even if you’re not busy, make him think you are. By making him wait a little, his interest will grow and his excitement will be that much stronger when he finally gets that message in his inbox. Build some suspense and keep him guessing. It worked for Elizabeth Bennet.