A while ago I had a dinner date with a guy, Mark, on a Saturday evening. To distract myself from my pre-date nerves, I was checking Facebook and Mark’s name caught my eye on the top right corner in the news feed. He apparently had just commented on some post.
I tried to ignore it but I just couldn’t help myself, it was too easy, just move my finger an inch to the top right on the mouse pad of my MacBook to see what he just did on Facebook. A picture appeared and it looked a lot like some electro party somewhere in the city. Mark had commented just a few seconds ago “looks cool! defo gonna come by and check this out tonight!”. I felt my excitement drop. Tonight?? He’s going to a party tonight?? And the roller coaster of doubt and paranoia started… Tonight?? Did he forget about our date? Is he planning to just have a quick dinner and then ditch me? Is he making plans in case he doesn’t enjoy himself? What should I do??
Panic-stricken, I Skyped my friend. Noticing how stressed I was made it perfectly clear how ‘out of the game’ I really am. Every little thing that had happened in this dating process had been a question mark for me. I explained my friend what I just saw on Facebook and asked her what I should do. After she heard my story she laughed. I got angry, it’s not funny!
I’m sorry, I’m just laughing because you’re so cute, stressing out over something someone said on Facebook.”
I sputtered. “Dude, listen”, she said, “it’s just a comment on Facebook. Do you have any idea how many times people say “yeah I’ll defo be there” when they are either just trying to be nice or just saving it as an option for next time. Half the time people click “attend” when they just want to be kept updated about the event or organization.” I tried to object but I noticed I was calmed by her casual reply. In the end I had a lovely date and I almost punched myself for stressing out so much over absolutely nothing. A brain fart in virtual space that I happened to see.
Technology is supposed to make life easier. Sending texts when you’re late, calling your friends for free on Skype while you can see each other, Facebook is almost the new mobile phone when it comes to meeting up and organizing things. But what about all these new ‘rules’ that apparently arise with all these new ways of fast communication and easy access into someone else’s life? And doesn’t having information about other people on demand, make it all the more hard to date/get acquainted with someone? If it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have seen that my date replied positively to another party. Then again, if it wasn’t for Facebook (and Skype), I wouldn’t have known what to do and how to handle myself in that moment.
But is that really a bad thing? I can’t help but wonder if I would not be able to know all the time what people are doing, and if I would not be capable of discussing this stuff with several friends at the same time online as soon as it happens, wouldn’t that make me less paranoid, stressed and co-dependent?