Archive

miscommunication

Do you play pranks on April Fool’s Day? (Or, do you get unwittingly tricked by someone every year, like I tend to be?)

Speaking of being really foolish…I can never let this ‘holiday’ go by without thinking back to one of the, um, strangest relationships I was ever in. (That’s putting it nicely.) Let’s just say that the guy was someone I could not have been MORE incompatible with, even in a non-serious dating sense. ¬†Were I to meet him today, I doubt he’d even make it into the “acquaintances” category.

It’s not just that there were red flags waving all over from the day I met him–he WAS one big, gigantic red flag! If you’re familiar with Neil Strauss’s The Game, suffice it to say that the book was this guy’s bible, but NOT in a good way. I really should have known better! And when did I meet this guy? April 1st. It was like the universe screaming (and me not listening, obviously): “HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S TO YOU, PAM! The joke is on you, big time!” And indeed it was.

At least I can say that it was one of my earliest relationships. Still, every April Fool’s Day, I cringe. We all do really silly, stupid, FOOLISH things in the search for love, don’t we?

I hope you all had a great first weekend of April! Did you meet someone on the 1st? Might wanna be extra careful with that one! ūüėČ

Advertisements

I’ve always been slow to accept new technology. I don’t really do gadgets, never have. I don’t have a smartphone, an iPod, or any Blu-Ray DVDs. And I’m pretty sure somewhere in my bedroom there lies a Walkman that just never made it to the trash pile 10 years ago.

Still, I’ve slowly been opening up to the idea of broadening my technology horizons. An iPad, perhaps. A Kindle, maybe. After all, we’re not exactly gonna go in reverse. Technology is only gonna get more intricate, more prevalent. Am I missing out in love, life, and the pursuit of all things happy by clinging to the tried and true?

It’s been a month since I closed my Facebook account, and so far all is well. Not even a chunk of sky has fallen. So in the interest of figuring out if new(er) technologies {or Facebook reactivation} are in my future, I’ve come up with a list. Is technology good or evil for my quasi love life?

The Pros

  • No more waiting. For the phone to ring, that is. Now that texting and IMing have become the norm, we gals don’t have to sit by the phone for the guy to call, because he won’t. Ever. We can just tell ourselves that he’s been driving…for an entire week nonstop…and is diligently keeping both hands away from that touchpad.
  • Online dating. You know, if that’s your thing.¬†A menu of options whenever, wherever.
  • What distractions? Seriously, who needs to sit and wait when you can stalk your friends/enemies/exes, play Scramble, and stream music all at the same time?
  • Instant consolation and advice. Technology means we’re just one status update or Tweet away from plenty of advice from any of hundreds of contacts.
  • Fewer bad first dates. That’s what a quick Google search is for, right? Weed out the bad ones, at least on the big stuff that can be gleaned from that questionable profile photo.

The Cons

  • No filtering out creepers. Technology is CONVENIENT. A lot of great, awesome guys take advantage of that convenience. And a lot of weird, lazy loser guys who might not make any grand effort otherwise also know how to use technology to be…creepy.
  • No privacy. You need only Google, well, yourself to see how much info is out there to all, not to mention prospective love interests. (Double con if your name is not very common!)
  • 24/7 contact.
    Great for emergencies, but it also leaves the door wide open for unreasonable pressure to respond…on someone else’s timeline. It seems the greater the number of ways you can be contacted (and seen logging in and status-updating), the less likely someone is to believe that you are actually busy. You know, that reason that used to be totally LEGIT for fully employed, gym-going, 7-8-hours-of-sleep-needing adults?

OK, so maybe I’m not quite sold. I’m just very wary of letting another gadget or social media outlet into my life. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the pros though, so feel free to clue me in!

Well, now it’s legit. The “less than” symbol and number three combo,¬†<3, has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary! That combo in conjunction with its symbolic counterpart, the heart symbol (‚ô• ), are now synonymous with love in verb form. Here’s the explanation given:

‚ô• to heart: The graphic symbol – which will be found alongside the word ‘heart’ and listed as a verb meaning ‘to love’ – is the first of its kind to be included in the comprehensive reference work.

Hmm…what effect, if any, might this have on relationships? After all, it’s hard enough already to get to the “I love you” stage–no one wants to be the first to say it. Now that “to heart” means “to love”, are we gonna see more copouts? Will this redefinition of a very¬†innocent¬†symbol just add to the miscommunication? (New dealbreaker: any guy who thinks it’s OK to tell me he “hearts” me before ‘I love you’.)

I guess we should have known this was coming. After all, “I ‚ô• NY” has reached iconic status as a logo for New York ¬†since its launch in 1969, but no one ever fought for the heart’s addition into a dictionary. It’s only more recently, now that you can type two keys in Facebook chat and Gchat and create the symbol, that the heart as verb has become a true phenomenon. And the editors behind the OED took note. Well, you know what they say: once something’s on Facebook, it’s official!

What do you think about this precedent? Do you hate it? Or do you heart it?

* Check out the full list of added words, as well as OED editor John Simpson’s thoughts,¬†here. (My fave? “Rub-a-dub”! I mean, why not??)

When it comes to matters of the heart, what’s YOUR best guide?

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less I tend to listen to my brain chattering away, and the fewer people I go to for advice. And, I make decisions much more quickly. Hmm, I thought I was supposed to get wiser…shouldn’t it be the opposite?

Perhaps that is just it. After all, ¬†inner wisdom and all that knowing thyself take time to develop. Nowadays, I’m definitely an intuition kind of gal and for the most part a follow-your-heart believer.

And even though my¬†intuition¬†has definitely taken me on some interesting adventures on occasion, I’m happy to report that that happens less and less frequently. ¬†However, when it comes to love, I’ve found that there are some things you CAN do and SHOULD do to find a happy medium between the guidance from your oft-impatient heart and cautious brain:

  • Think it through…thoroughly. Take as much time as you need to make a decision. For the bigger ones, sometimes it’s best not to set a concrete deadline at all…just go with it.
  • Know that intuition isn’t always immediate. Maybe this is contradictory to the concept, but instincts can get rusty. Sure, you might get an initial FEELING and that reaction might be strong. But to become more attuned to your inner voice, it might take a lot of wrong-guessing and mental decluttering. There’s a big difference between something not feeling right and a general sense of¬†pessimism¬†that has slowly infiltrated your total outlook. Really, it’s huge if you can take some extra moments to sort through your gut responses!
  • Wait at least 24 hours before sending an emotion-filled email. Even an hour will do. Sometimes, if you send the email to yourself, that action can almost fake the ‘finality’ of a message sent. You might still be OK with your message…or you might find that you immediately regret the way you expressed yourself! (The heart is funny that way!)
  • Have an ‘escape route’ at the ready for whatever the¬†situation¬†entails…if possible. You just have to go into things assuming your heart is wrong, no matter what.¬†Even if there is NO reason to need it whatsoever, having an exit plan ready can be a comfort. (Or maybe only for doomsaying situational-hypochondriacs (is there such a thing?) like me.)
  • When all else fails… Go with your heart if you’re pulled in that direction. Your brain will likely be able to pull you out if you were wrong! Sometimes you can’t search too deep for rational justifications.

Of course, the #1 no-fail method is to find that one friend who can always read you better than you can read yourself. That’s a gem!

I’m sure we can all agree–there’s a lot left unsaid when we come to rely on non-face-to-face and nonverbal communication. Technology makes it SO easy for us to simply screen our phone calls, hang up without leaving someone a voicemail, and just stick with texting, emails, Facebook back-and-forths, and Tweets. But–these gadgets of convenience might just leave lots of room for missed chances.

I just finished the book “Save as Draft” (Simon & Schuster, February 2011) by writer-lawyer Cavanaugh Lee and I loved it. The book¬†chronicles the romances and related comic (and often not-so-comic) missteps of a female lawyer¬†whose¬†relationships are wholly affected not just by the emails sent between her and her friends, but also the ones that they write but save {unsent} in their Drafts folders. Lee touches on something really unique to our modern technology-saturated age: are we overthinking it? Sometimes the things we DON’T say are the things that could have changed everything…for better or worse.

I’m definitely guilty of doing it. Except I never let an email sit in a folder addressed to someone unless I know for SURE I’m going to send it. I have typed out venting emails in a fit of anger (or sadness, panic, despair), but if I have ANY doubts about truly sending it, I’ll be proactive and¬†make sure to put my own email address in the “To:” field before typing–just in case I accidentally hit ‘Send’ instead of ‘Save’!

Lee’s “Save as Draft” is clever, creative and modern (the entire book reads as emails, text messages, Facebook posts, and Tweets between the protagonist Izabell, her best friends, and the men in her life), and a quick, fun read. Writers will wish they had written it!

Do you save, edit, and delete often? Has technology made it too easy for you to NOT tell someone what you really meant to say?

I came across this YouTube video this week [via Glamour magazine’s¬†Smitten blog]. Ah, Facebook chat! (Not to mention Gchat, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, etc.) Makes it so easy to hide…

Sadly, this totally rings true these days for much communication between the sexes, don’t you think?

It’s not just the perpetual second-guessing and¬†searching¬†for the perfectly detached responses (i.e. furious backspacing) that typifies potential and existing romantic relationships during the lovely uber-social mediafied age we live in. Sometimes even the most innocent remarks can be misconstrued. Reading between the lines can be exhausting…and despite your best efforts, you still might guess wrong.(Yep, speaking from experience!)

Although face to face talk is ideal, it’s not always possible. (Especially for all you Hampton Roads residents with loved ones deployed overseas!) I keep in touch with lots of people transcontinental style. The funnest is with my relatives. Not only do I not get the added plus of visual cues, we communicate in person in Bengali but on Gchat/Facebook in English, which feels completely unnatural and stunted. Imagine the room for misinterpretation there! Luckily, family is family. But when there is a level of attraction between you and the person on the other side of the interwebs, well, a bit of careful attention to detail is a must!

So to that, I say err on the side of TOO much info. Don’t let’s go the way of Jane and James, shall we? And if in doubt about how your quipping remark will be received, well, inserting a wink never hurt anyone! ūüėČ

Have you ever gotten into a misunderstanding  (or hit backspace a gazillion times to totally change your response) when chatting online?