Love in the time of “Social Media”

You might remember the movie “You’ve Got Mail” from 1998, starring Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan, which showed how a love relationship between two strangers could be created in the virtual world using email, the only tool of online communication back then. It played on the comfort zone we all go into when talking to complete strangers about our issues, knowing that since they are strangers to us, they would listen without judging. It’s like being on the plane next to someone you don’t know, and you talk to this person about many things that are sometimes personal, without even knowing their name at times, and then each one will go in their own way, and might never meet them again, ever.

I recall coming out of the movie theater back then, and my friends and I were talking about how absurd this was, as who would fall in love with someone over email? Well, based on our world today, I should have known better.

In the traditional world of when a real boy meets a real girl (some of you know what I am talking about), the process is a serious thing for both, and each one of them will be having all their self-conscious fears running in their heads; what if he does not think I’m pretty? What if she thinks I’m not cool? What if my cologne is not hot? What if I’m not attractive enough for him? And the list goes on and on, and the first date usually has lots of awkward moments while each tries to break the ice between them until they are more comfortable talking to each other and less tense about it. Sometimes, chemistry plays its magic, and a second date is set, while other times, it dies right there and then. Usually, each of them goes into the first date with as much information as they can gather on their date, giving them some sense of power and control to feel more secure and confident.

Information is key, as we know, and with information, we feel more in control and more empowered to go on a first date, so we can impress our date and show her/him that we are cool, confident, and in control.

In today’s world, boy meets girl; let me rephrase that, in today’s world, lots of boys meet lots of girls in the virtual world without knowing each other in the real world. I know of a few individuals whose virtual relationships grew and became real, and they are now living happily ever after. With so many social media tools out there today (i.e., Facebook, MSN chat, etc.) plus many more, as the list of tools is so long, a guy and a girl can meet online and break an iceberg if needed between them until the first date takes place, and when that happens, they are more at ease in talking, and the conversation is usually smoother. All the self-conscious fears that the boy or the girl has do not exist in this world, and each can present themselves with all honesty (well, some spice here and there to smooth things up would not hurt anyone), and the spark will click between them based on personality and not looks, at first of course, as eventually each one of them would want to see the other, in hopes that the physical will meet the magical and they can move on to second phase, the phase of a real relationship.

Why am I writing this? Well, a close friend of mine actually, whom I met a few days ago after not seeing her for a few years, is the reason. She was saying that she met someone and that she liked him very much, and that after a year of an online relationship, he went and met her dad and asked for her hand in marriage. This lady friend of mine is a goddess in terms of beauty, and she was always like that since her college days. Her problem was that she was always self-conscious about her looks and very shy. In today’s world, social media help break that fear of meeting someone, and soon she will be living with the love of her life, happily ever after.

P.S. Of course, the flip side of this is the horrible abuse some are doing online and all the crimes that are being committed under the same concept. But that is not the type of relationship I am talking about here.

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