Tag: relationships

Building Relationships with Online Dating

Online dating is becoming increasingly more popular. Answer some questions, like some photos, and sooner or later you’re bound to find true love, right? I’m skeptical though I know plenty of people who have found their significant other with the help of dating sites.

There are a few things that everyone knows about dating sites. First, there are tons of fake female profiles and a lot of effort goes into trying to convince men to pay for subscriptions to services so that they can get at these women. This is just something we have to accept. Obviously these sites weren’t created to bring people together. They exist to make money.

Let’s go a bit deeper than that though. Say you and your perfect match are both subscribed to the same dating site and happen to start talking. Do you think your personality translates well online? Maybe it translates better online than in person. Either way, this is the first place where you might trip up and miss out on that meaningful connection.

Of course, making a meaningful connection isn’t easy in person or online. I think a lot of people just go about it in the wrong way entirely. Most people want to talk. If they don’t want to talk, then they are already interested in you and they want to listen. Online it’s harder to judge if someone wants to listen or if they are just bored and passing time. You could be investing a lot of yourself into sharing and they could be just browsing YouTube videos during your chats. It’s hard to say.

If we assume that the person listening is doing so because they are interested, then they have a whole bunch of hurdles to overcome to gain the affection of their target. When you’re listening to someone the person talking is getting a burst of affection and attention that makes him or her like you, but you aren’t connecting. To connect with someone you both need to be as interested in talking as you are listening. After all, how will the person talking know how much you have in common if you just keep that all in your head? You have to let them know that you share common interests, enthusiasm, and beliefs otherwise they won’t have a lasting impression of you.

Now as the listener, it’s easy to get consumed in talking about yourself. The other side of the coin in the previous scenario should be pretty clear though. If you spend the whole time talking about yourself, you never learn about the other person. It’s very possible they had some stories more interesting than the ones you shared, but you’ll never know. In fact, you might as well not have gone out at all.

 

So why am I detailing all of this when I’m supposed to be talking about online dating? Because I’m trying to explain how this dynamic is delicate and maybe it can’t be completely done online. Sometimes people think they know someone before they do the listening part of this whole process. “I would never date someone who…” It’s a self-selecting process that is inherently flawed. Online you look for reasons not to talk to people where as if you meet them in person you would be able to judge their actions more than their appearance or their self-reflection of who they are.

Do I think online dating is terrible? No. It has a place, but I think people want it to work like a magic bullet. In most cases I think the people who are most willing to go on dates are also the most in need of company. They may be willing to over look personality or life goal clashes because they are afraid to be alone. There is no shame in that. People are social animals, but we should be willing to accept that relationships built on convenience don’t tend to be that strong as situations change.

To summarize, don’t take online dating serious. Use it as a tool to meet people and get to know your community. Spend more time on knowing yourself and enjoying your time here. As a smart person once told me, “you’ll attract the kind of people that your personality reflects.”

Appreciating and Loving People is What Valentines Day is About

February is a great time to think about all the relationships in your life. I coincidentally happened to get a timely book out of the library this week. I didn’t know what it was about, but the cover looked interesting. Yes, I judge books by their cover! The book is called Every Day by David Levithan and I wanted to share a few powerful excerpts that made me pause while reading.

“What is is about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in deja vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I’m feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.”

It’s the best feeling and everyone should know it at least once in their life. Every artist in every medium has tried to describe the feeling of falling in love. This particular one resonated with me as I can remember distinct times in my life where I thought how un-probable a chance meeting was, yet how powerfully it affected me. I have fallen in love with people, places, and things with the same feelings. It’s even better when the feelings can be prolonged beyond that moment.

“They don’t realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it’s an added foundation to your life. But if you cannot have that regular presence, you only have the one foundation to support you, always.”

I found that particularly moving and truthful. I know a number of people who are in long-term relationships or married that might not recognize the added strength they have because of their partner. If you’re lucky enough to have that added strength (be it emotional, financial, or otherwise) it’s important to recognize it and thank those who provide it for you. You just don’t know what they are feeling and how much it could mean to them.

“Depression has been likened to both a black cloud and a black dog. For someone like Kelsey, the black cloud is the right metaphor. She is surrounded by it, immersed within it, and there is no obvious way out. What she needs to do is try to contain it, get it into the form of the black dog. It will still follow her around wherever she goes; it will always be there. But at least it will be separate, and will follow her lead.”

I guarantee everyone know people who are clinically and severally depressed though they might not know it. Valentines Day is a great time to reach out to people and remind them that you care. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you it could mean the world to them. And really, wouldn’t you risk looking a bit overly-emotional if it meant that it could change someone’s day or even week for the better? How we treat one-another is of the upmost importance for the well being of society.

“If you demonize a person’s pleasure, then you can control his or her life.”

Although short, this is a powerful statement. The book touches on a number of same-sex, intersex, and other nontraditional relationship pairings. For me, this statement made a clear argument in support of all relationships. Love is love after all, and after some thought it does seem to be that the prevailing reason people have demonized these relationships is because they aim to have control over people. When said in this eloquent and succinct way, it’s painfully obvious how wrong that is.

This last quote sums up everything I’m trying to highlight extremely well.

“If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That is why we have to care about each other.”

There is nothing on this earth that is more important that the people on it. No amount of money or possessions can bring as much happiness as surrounding yourself with people who care. We can have such an impact on people’s lives with simple gestures and comments. Let’s use that ability to create a better quality of life for everyone.

Video Game Addiction

I love video games. Every once in awhile it’s great to sit down and zone out while I try to keep whatever kind of character I’m playing alive. I used to play a lot more, and to be honest, I’m glad I don’t play as much as I used to.

If you asked me 10 years ago about video game addiction I would have told you that it was a largely overblown topic. After all, if you live a distance from people your age interacting with people online is the next best thing. They are just different relationships not worse or better than those in “real life.”

Over the years I have seen videogame addicts and how playing video games does have the ability to distort all your relationships. Between academic papers and personal observation I have taken note of the following downsides to over-indulging in games:

 

  • There are two base reasons for people to become addicted to video games. The first being called “promotion players” and the second being called “prevention players.” Promotion players are looking for achievements and a sense of fulfillment where prevention players are looking for a safe escape from day-today life.
  • Prevention players are the most commonly thought of video game addicts but that is in part because promotion players have a slightly better ability to control their addition when confronted with the negative side effects.
  • Internet gaming addiction does correlate with a negative mood and a desire to escape. It isn’t always “violence” as sensational journalists would have many believe, and in fact can just be overall grumpiness or irritability.
  • Findings suggest that negative self-evaluations are a key indicator that you are at risk for videogame addiction. This is because people attempt to use video games to solve inner conflict they cannot otherwise deal with.
  • One study suggested that online gaming caused participants to delay or even put relationships on hold. Even when they did have relationships, the quality of their relationships was lower due to impaired trust and communication.

So why is this all an issue? I think in today’s society we prepare a lot of people for high-level thought provoking jobs. The problem is, not everyone starts out in those roles, and some give up trying to get there. It’s my personal opinion that this phenomenon makes video gaming so attractive to that early to mid 20’s demographic.

It’s around that time that people have the energy and ambition to make great strides, but then they feel restrained by various barriers in their career or financial situation. These are the promotion players. They don’t feel like addicts, because they can show some restraint when they remember to. The video games provide them with a cheap alternative to real-life success and achievement.

I’m not saying video games are bad. They have their place, but it’s not a replacement for sharing time with people in person.

If you know a video game addict or are unsure if you yourself are one, please call 1-800-928-9139. It’s free, and it doesn’t hurt to talk about it.

 


 

Ho, Shu-Hsun, Chutinon Putthiwanit, and Lin Chia-Ying. “May I Continue Or should I Stop? the Effects of Regulatory Focus and Message Framings on Video Game Players’ Self-Control.” International Journal of Business and Social Science 2.12 (2011)ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Kwon, Jung-hye, Chung-suk Chung, and Jung Lee. “The Effects of Escape from Self and Interpersonal Relationship on the Pathological use of Internet Games.” Community mental health journal 47.1 (2011): 113-21. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Blais, Julie J., et al. “Adolescents Online: The Importance of Internet Activity Choices to Salient Relationships.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 37.5 (2008): 522-36. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

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