Dating in College | The Impact of Technology on Dating and Relationships

Technology and Dating | The New Rules for RelationshipsDear Kid,

Mashable recently conducted an interesting study about technology and dating. Because I am that kind of a mom, I am summarizing (and might be persuaded to provide a comment or three on) the study.

Phones on a Date
Turns out there are people who think pulling out their cell phone during a date is acceptable behavior. Even during a first date. All I can say is those people better not be related to me. Well… there are a few exceptions.

1. If the building is on fire or someone is experiencing a true medical emergency, you can use your phone to call emergency services.

2. If your parent is supposed to pick you up at the end of the date and you need to coordinate the time the movie ends, you may use your phone.

3. If your date is truly horrible, by all means use that phone and get out.

Otherwise, turn your phone off and put it away. Even if your date has gone to the restroom or something (because it is truly tacky for your date to see you checking your phone when he or she returns from the restroom—it implies you’ve been waiting for something better to turn up).

To call: as in to use the phone to speak with someone not in the same room by a method other than text, email, or social media. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the technology exists to make phone calls on those things. I promise to show you how if you’re not sure.

Call someone after a first date. Even after a second date. There are people who think sending a text is ok, but the percentage (even among college students) is pretty low.

There is a wide range of opinions on when to announce to the world via Facebook that you are in a relationship. Opinions vary by gender and age (big shocker there) with men generally thinking it’s ok to announce a relationship sooner than women (ooh, that is a surprise…).

In my expert opinion, there is a delicate balance here. You certainly don’t want to announce this too soon and freak out the other person who isn’t ready for you to tell the world. And you don’t want to seem too reluctant to post it if the both of you are in a committed relationship. On the third hand, if it doesn’t last and you change your status back to single there will be lots of questions and comments. I’m going with the 13/G rule: If you don’t want your 13-year-old sister and your grandmother to know, don’t post it. (I KNOW your sister isn’t 13—that’s not the point.)

The answer—the only answer—is no. Not now, not then, not ever. Yes, other people are doing it, but fewer than you think according to this survey. And they shouldn’t. You’re in college—you’re smarter than that.

Go with friexting (pronounced frexting; friend-texting G-rated photos of oneself—I just made it up).

Send a photo of your gorgeous smiling face, or your hands making a heart or spelling I Love You in sign language. Send a photo of the two of you holding hands or the sign on the place where you went on your first date. All say “I’m thinking of you” and none will get you arrested.

Have a wonderful time at college. Remember the quote from the Blind Side (yes, that one) and put your phone away on dates.

Love, Mom

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Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) | The Latest Social Disease

FOMO Fear of Missing OutDear Kid,

There is a new disease rampant in the universe: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Actually, social media obsessives and techno-geeks are saying it’s new. They’re wrong. FOMO has been around absolutely forever. It just looks different now.

These days FOMO means checking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ (et-cetera, et-cetera) before, after, and during pretty much everything. It means interrupting a Pinterest session to check another social media platform (who am I kidding? No one ever interrupts themselves on Pinterst. Entire planets have been sucked out of the space-time continuum because someone was too focused on pinning.)

But FOMO isn’t new. Back In The Day, we spent hours on the phone catching up on everything that happened the previous evening. Or might have happened. Or could conceivably happen the next evening.

Prior to the telephone, people actually got together to catch up on News and Gossip. (Isn’t history wonderful? Can you even imagine a time like this?)

The fear of missing out is a good and bad thing.

FOMO can perhaps drive you out of your dorm room to go to an event which is good if you were going to stay in and watch Pawn Star reruns, but not so good if you were going to stay in to study.

Fear Of Missing Out can be a powerful incentive to catch up on the latest news about campus. It can also be a mighty powerful reason to gossip inappropriately.

My advice is don’t worry too much about Missing Out. Worry just enough to go out and do things so you don’t actually miss out.

And we can reinterpret FOMO to be FOr Mom Only. Or something like that.

Love, Mom

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Relationships | Part III

relationships Dear Kid (and Bunny),

Let’s face it, it’s the people closest to us who have the ability to hurt us the most. It’s their opinion we value, their respect we seek, and their praise and approval we crave.

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child–King Lear

Sometimes we change our behaviors and opinions to “fit” better with what we think those people who are important to us want.

That can be a good thing (like agreeing to wear a suit to your cousin’s wedding because your mother expects you to look decent even  though you’d rather be in a pair of jeans and a blazer); it can also be problematic (agreeing to jumping off a bridge without a bungee cord because your significant other goads you into it).

Those are extreme examples, but the point is that it can be difficult to figure out when you’re doing something because you care about someone (sure, we can go for Mexican food AGAIN) and when you are being manipulated or changing your thoughts/behaviors in an unhealthy way. It can be even more difficult for those around you to tell which is which. Although (and here’s the real kicker) sometimes it can be easier for others to see what we can’t see for ourselves. Darn this is hard.

It’s called Growing Up. Sometimes it’s called Life.

Bottom line, kiddo. When someone has concerns about a relationship you’re in, take a deep breath and try to hear what they are really telling you (the real message probably isn’t that the person didn’t say “hello”). When two someones have concerns about a relationship you’re in, take an even deeper breath and really, really try to hear what they saying. No one says you have to act on that information (unless you’re talking to me, in which case you really do), but listen. Ask yourself “what would it mean if they are right?”

And then respond politely. There are lots of people who love you and are trying to help you through life with as  few major injuries as possible.

Love, Mom


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Relationships | Part II

Relationships Trust your spidey senseDear Kid (and Bunny),

You look across the room and see the most gorgeous creature imaginable. ZAP!! You fall instantly, totally, completely, 100% in….lust. Raging hormones. Sweaty palms. Dilated pupils. LUST.

In general, there is nothing wrong with lust. Combined with alcohol, drugs, too little sleep, too much stress (the list goes on), it can lead to some wildly stupid decisions. And—oh, dear—there can be a lot of alcohol, drugs, too little sleep, too much stress (the list goes on) during your college years.

Stupid decisions can lead to long term problems.

There is no need to have sex in public. Ever.
More on that another time.

Love, lust, relationships. You can tell they aren’t the same thing because we actually have different words for them.

Relationships—the important kind, not the kind with your barista or the UPS guy—can be hard. They often require contemplating murder. (Word of advice: don’t act on it, but sometimes imagining creative solutions can be a good outlet for frustration.)

More seriously:

Relationships need to be balanced. I do not mean you need to be equally athletic or have equal incomes. But if one of you is always giving in or doing all the compromising, you don’t have balance. If one person is always being blamed (for whatever), you don’t have balance.

Relationships need to have open communication. Some things should be kept secret. Like birthday presents and how often you have your eyebrows waxed. But too many secrets and a preponderance of secretive behavior is a sign you are not in a healthy relationship.

Relationships need to be respectful. Of each other and of the people around you. That means physically and verbally and in any other way imaginable. “I’m sorry” is important and reasonable when someone is 10 minutes late to dinner. “I’m sorry” is not even close to sufficient if there is any kind of abuse. Get help. And Get Out.

The thing is, you know people who are in great relationships. You know people who are destructive, horrible relationships. And you know people who are in relationships you simply cannot understand but seem to work well for them.

You have great instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

We’re going to need a Part III. See you tomorrow.

Love, Mom

P.S. Your parents really are wonderful people. If they’re concerned, perhaps it’s worth at least understanding what has their spidey sense tingling.

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