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High-Tech Dating

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Can communication through e-mail, text, Twitter, and Facebook be considered courting?

woman communicates with man through computer
Dr. Wendy Walsh: There's a fascinating trend in today's dating style. People are using a variety of technologies to stay connected. And there are pros and cons to this mad flood of texts, tweets, e-mails, and Facebook status posts.

Obviously the biggest pro is that through mobile phones and texting, people can be contacted directly anytime, anywhere. This is good if you are trying to build a rapport with a moving target, or continue to feel close to a lover, or schedule your next rendezvous. Another pro is that for some people (particularly some men), expressing themselves through the written word is easier than verbal communication. So e-mails can sometimes help to grow intimacy because it allows some people to feel safer and be more honest.

But there are some red flags too. Electronic communication can create a false intimacy. It is rarely real-time communication with the natural back-and-forth rhythm of a conversation. It is limited by the number of words and a time lag. And, that feeling of safety in e-mails can also turn into a license to be too honest, and even hurtful.

The other thing I see happening is that electronic communication, designed to enhance communication between people, in some cases has replaced live communication between people. There is no substitute for face-to-face dialogue. Our brains take in information through all five senses, along with our sixth sense of intuition. So, voice tone, facial expression, touch, body language, eye contact, and even pheromone scent are all part of the conversation. Building intimacy takes time. It takes plenty of the in-your-face kind of time. An emotional connection can be supported with the help of technology, but when a Facebook status report is all you get from a prospective suitor, it's time to pick up the phone or de-friend him.

Follow Dr. Wendy Walsh on Twitter @DrWendyWalsh.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Claude Terron January 4, 2011, 10:52 PM

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