Odds are, if you’re reading this, you have Tinder’d or Bumble’d Coffee-Meets-Bagle’d or Luxy’d or Raya’d until you’ve been numb in the thumbs. I know I have.
If you can relate, that also means you might be falling into the same trap that a lot of different people seem to be caught in these days: You’re starting to see people as products.
Oh, this one is pretty! Look at the muscles on that one. Ohhhh, he’s kissing his dog. Only 6 miles away? Swipe right.
Then the photo slides across your screen and reveals the next product, and the next, and the next. Before you know it, you’ve extended your search radius to the entire United States, but you still can’t seem to meet anyone.
Do you know why? Because we are relying solely on this method of ‘dating’ and we’ve stopped considering that, in some cases, the old ways might be the best ways.
Before I get myself in trouble, let me just say that I do think online dating is a great way to supplement your efforts. Meaning, adding to the efforts you’re already putting in during your daily life. But as your only, single, one method of dating – apps and websites can leave a few things to be desired.
Human interaction, for one.
If you’re anything like me, you crave the visceral experience that accompanies meeting a person you’re attracted to. The lingering eye-contact that could either be sexy or creepy. The scent of someone’s cologne or perfume as you cross paths briefly while navigating a crowd. The way you catch a smile in your direction across the room and your heart skips a beat or two.
These are the things that help to form attraction. These are the 3-dimensional pieces of a human that make the experience so much deeper than anything we can see on a screen.
Sure, it’s true that our parents and grandparents probably built stronger relationships because they didn’t have as many distractions or options being shoved in their face every second of their existence – but it is probably also true that their relationships lasted longer because they were built on stronger, more secure foundations.
Since I spend most of my life thinking in analogies, picture this. What if you took each of those little online dating profiles out of your phone – what would they look like? My guess is, they’d look like playing cards. Our own individual baseball card, but for an online dating profile (I might be on to something here).
Cute idea, sure, but as they say – houses made of cards fall easily. So, building a foundation for a relationship with these cards probably isn’t the best idea. We need more substance. More depth. More solid blocks to build on. We need that eye-contact, the scent, the feel, the hug, the hand lightly placed on your arm. Those are the things that are going to actually give us a perspective on who this person is that we are attracted to, and how we interact with them in a variety of ways.
Think about how heavy and solid older cars were, as opposed to the plastic people-movers we shuttle ourselves around in today. Think about hand-made tailored clothing the older generations lived in, rather than the buy 1, get 19 free suits that would probably be put to better use as flimsy paper towels.
My point? Older generations took pride in what they created. They put time and effort into something rather than just mass-producing it for the sake of volume (like we seem to do with our relationships).
Sure, it took longer to create, but look at how long it lasted. Look at the quality. Look at the pride taken in the final product.
Technology and innovation move our society forward – but we must remember that we are still human beings who crave emotional connection with each other, and nothing artificial will replace that.
Sometimes, the older ways were the best ways.
This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama
Photo credit: Getty Images