Hiding Behind Textnology

We’ve talked a great deal about how texting is changing the dating game.  We’ve theorized on the “instant” and “false” intimacy created by social media relationships.  Well…now we have the research to back our suspicians.

Christian Mingle and JDate recently conducted a survey of 1500 smartphone users aged 21-50, who are dating or have been in a relationship less than two years and studied their texting behavior.

The results are surprising…

Among the findings from USA Today:

•Approximately one-third of men (31%) and women (33%) agree it’s less intimidating to ask for a date via text vs. a phone call.

•One in four say an hour is the longest acceptable response time to a text to someone you are dating or interested in dating; one in 10 expect a response instantly or within a few minutes.

•More men (44%) than women (37%) say mobile devices make it easier to flirt and get acquainted.

“Texting is kind of an ongoing conversation. It does make it easier to flirt. Maybe you’re talking every day,” says Alex Pulda, 27, who works in product research in San Francisco. “It’s not like text conveys a ton of emotion, but you are getting a little more comfortable with each other.”

READ MORE…

According to Ruthie Dean, co-author Real Men Don’t Text (published in September) guys use text messages to send the same message to multiple women. ‘Hey, do you want to hang out tonight.’ They’re kind of fishing for a response,” she says.

Dean, 28, notices that millenials— generally born 1982 to 2000 —have a “a huge handicap in communication. We have our heads down in our smartphones a lot. We don’t know how to express our emotions, and we tend to hide behind technology, computers and social media.”

“People are uncomfortable using the phone. A text message is easier. You can think exactly what you want to say and how to craft it. When they are face-to-face or over the phone, there’s this awkwardness,” she says.

She says telephone calls are often thought of as an intrusion, while texting affords a way of “controlling the volume,” a term she uses to describe the sense of control that text gives users that they can’t get with a voice conversation.

“We tell ourselves we don’t want to disturb someone. Sometimes it’s true, but more often, it’s because we can’t get them off the phone,” she says.

In texting, “we don’t have to talk to people or listen to what another person has to say. We decide how we want to encounter or whether we want to encounter other people. Technology gives us tools for controlling our relationships.”

How is texting changing the way you date?

Define “Christian?”

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One of the biggest complaints we hear from daters using Online Dating Services is how the category of “Christian” can mean so many different things to different people.

Jenna found this to be true. “My spiritual beliefs and values often make dating a very risky pursuit. I’ve been set up with guys—even ones who know I’m a Christian—who expect me to go along with their lifestyle choices: sex, drugs, excessive drinking, and the rest. Other times, guys find out I’m a Christian and automatically assume I’m uptight and judgmental. The stereotypes get old.” 

Brad chimed in…“I’ve heard Christian dating advice that assumes all Christians are exactly the same. But it’s not as if every believer fits a certain profile. There’s a broad spectrum of what it means for people to call themselves a Christian—from very liberal to very conservative and everything in between. Just because a woman calls herself a Christian doesn’t mean her beliefs or lifestyle choices are the same as mine.”

Truth?  Dating is a DAUNTING adventure.  And it’s confusing and awkward and complex…AND even more so with those who have spiritual beliefs they are not only trying to safeguard but to UNIFY with another.

In a culture of Post-Christian anything goes relativity…Christians need to be pro-active!

5 Tips to Help Christian Singles Navigate Online Dating:

  • Guard Your Heart

A key biblical principle says that what is in a person’s heart determines how that person acts—all the decisions he or she makes, for better or worse. We often focus on behavior—how far is too far physically, what a person of faith should or shouldn’t do in a dating relationship, and so on. But even more important is the recognition that conduct follows convictions and actions follow attitudes.

Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23.

  • Define your standards BEFORE you date

The time to think through any potentially perilous situation is before it happens. Play the movie out in your mind of possible scenarios.  Think through what hazards lay in your path.  Purity is important, and if it is important to you, take the time to identify potential pitfalls before you start dating (alcohol, late nights, sleeping over).  Fortify your convictions in advance with firm intentions, accountability and a solid plan.

  • Stand Firm

Many Christian singles are hesitant to voice their convictions for fear of being labeled “old-fashioned” or “narrow-minded.” But it’s far better to be up-front about what is and is not acceptable to you in the beginning before you head down a path of compromise.  People respect people who know who they are and who have standards.  If your date disregards your efforts to hold firm to your beliefs, then they aren’t a good match to begin with.

  • Find a Team to Root for You

When facing any obstacle, it helps to know you have support. Invite others who share your commitment to moral integrity to encourage you and check in with you. Find advocates and ask them to watch your back and encourage you to hold firm to your convictions.  They can help you to keep you moving the direction you want to go.

  • Find a Dating Mentor

Search out someone—a pastor, mentor, teacher—whose perspectives and opinions you hold in high regard. Spend time with this person and glean all the wisdom you can. Again, it was Solomon who said, “He who walks with the wise grows wise” (Proverbs 13:20). Good counsel is available to you if you’ll ask for it.

Your Christian faith defines who you are and will play a vital role in any lasting relationship. Protect what matters most to you and date with intentionality.

 (some tips adapted from Neil Clark Warren’s Christian Dating Advice)

 

What 81% of Singles are Not Looking For

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Sometimes we think everyone wants the same things we do.  We ERRONEOUSLY believe people, even good Christian folks, go on dates to look for a lifelong partner.  We think everyone wants a “Happily Ever After.”

Think again.  New research is revealing only 19% of daters are looking for a person to marry. 

Youza!  If this is true, then about 81% of the matches we get online are looking for something else.

Here are the results of the study taken from Top Dating Tips

For me, dating is mainly about….. ? 

1. Love 21% 
2. Marriage 19% 
3. Friendship 8% 
4. Partnership 6% 
5. Sex 19% 
6. Company 3% 
7. Social life 3% 
8. Romance 12% 
9. Conversation 3% 
10. Sharing 6% 
Have you ever dated more than one person simultaneously ?

1. Yes 53% 
2. No 33% 
3. Don’t Know 13%

Would you like to get married ? 

1.) Yes 44% 
2.) No 12% 
3.) Maybe 32% 
4.) Not again 4% 
5.) Don’t know 8%

Where is the best place to meet new people ? 

1.) Bar 18% 
2.) Club 11% 
3.) Beach 4% 
4.) Church 2% 
5.) Social club 4% 
6.) Mall 4% 
7.) Internet 18% 
8.) Work 22% 
9.) Sport 7% 
10.) Other 9%

So why do you date?

Dating Tip #1 How to Flee Like Joseph

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Ever meet a woman (or guy) who seems irresistible?

You are in a dating relationship with them and there is intense CHEMISTRY. Or maybe she lives down the hall and gives you “the look” every time you take out your trash. Maybe it’s your male trainer at the gym whose hands accidentally brush up your side when he adjusts your posture.

They put out the vibe that they are AVAILABLE. READY to RUMBLE. SEXUALLY OPEN.

And let’s be honest, it’s tempting.

But you want to follow Christ. You are committed to walking in purity. You know better, right?

I imagine Joseph felt this way too.

Potiphar’s wife was more than likely pretty hot.

She was a wealthy Egyptian woman and the wife of a high-ranking official. This gal probably had all the time in the world to primp, work out at the “Desert Sand’s” 24 Fitness, and practice the smoky eye with her Cleopatra line of makeup.

She certainly had time on her hands to lust after Joseph, her handsome and well built man-servant.

It would have been easy for Joseph to hook up with her when his boss wasn’t looking.

It’s always easy to say “yes” to pleasure.

When Tim and I were dating, there were many nights where our kisses on the sofa turned into lingering hugs and the temperature rose a notch in the room.

And choices had to be made.

Tim’s favorite method of recourse in those steamy situations?

FLEE LIKE JOSEPH!

He would excuse himself to go to the restroom and call me from the car ten minutes later.

Half the time I never even knew he was struggling. A smoldering kiss for a girl doesn’t have the same effect as it does for a dude.

But Tim knew his limits and sometimes running was his only option.

When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph -Joseph ran. And the temptress had such a hold on him she ripped off part of his clothes.

Temptation is like that. It grabs on tight. It wants us to surrender.

But God will give us the strength to flee if we seek him.

It helps to have a plan to deal with these situations BEFORE they erupt.

Knowing your triggers and knowing HOW YOU WILL DEAL with the temptation before it arises will give you the tools to navigate sticky situations.

  • Maybe you don’t drink alcohol on a date with this person -until you make it down the aisle.
  • Maybe you have a group of guys or girls checking in with you and encouraging you to date differently.
  • Maybe you set a curfew and stick to it.
  • Maybe you get a same-sex trainer.
  • Maybe you take a longer route to take out the trash.

Tim and I made it down the aisle without sexual compromise. It wasn’t easy but the truly good things in life rarely are.

IT IS POSSIBLE and IT IS WORTH IT!

Dating Tip #1 -When the temperature get’s hot, FLEE like Joseph!

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this manner no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or a sister.” –1 Thessalonians 4: 3-6

 

 

Dating Tips -Single Parent Plus 4

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“I’ve decided not to tell the men I date that I have kids. What do you think about that?”

My husband and I were wrapping up a teaching series on love, sex and dating at a local Christian singles group when the woman approached me with her question. 

My mouth dropped open in shock.  “How many kids do you have?”

“Four,” the woman replied.  “But I make a lot of money and I can keep the kids in a separate residence if I have too.”

I shook my head back and forth (and tried to hide the vomit curling in my throat).  “Listen, I’m not sure you want to hear what I have to say about this, but here I go…”

DO NOT HIDE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE KIDS

Never conceal your family from someone.  Children are not a fun surprise in an established relationship.  It’s pure deception if you choose not to tell this to a potential date.  And dishonesty is no way to build a solid relationship.

If a guy or gal is turned off by kids then move on.  It only takes one person –the right person who adores you AND your kids.

You are a package deal not à la carte!

Now, if your kids are so difficult they scare all potential suitors away, it might be time for an honest parenting assessment.  Maybe your kids need you more now then you need to date.  I know that’s hard to hear, but it might be true.

There are some seasons where your kids might need to be the priority and dating needs to take a backseat until your family is back on track.  Seek counseling.  Find healing. Get in a support group.  You only have one shot with your kids and divorce is devastating to them.  Do not minimize their hurt or be so self-absorbed you put your desires above theirs.

I shared this all with the woman and she squinted her eyes at me and looked mad (probably because I didn’t agree with her twisted scheming). “I think my way is the best,” she mumbled and stomped off. 

I felt sorry for next poor man sucked into her web of deception.  I also felt sorry for her kids. 

There is HOPE

Single parents looking for love are tasked with a far greater responsibility than most –but the right person will treasure you even more because you are a loving and genuine parent.

Be proud of the blessings God gave you choose to steward their hearts (and yours) well.

 

Photo Source: sydniewells.wordpress.com

Hookups Leaving Many Young People Unfufilled

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Walking into the gym, I glanced over at the Today Show and noticed the topic –Postmodern Dating.  Of course, I immediately dropped my workout gear and ran to the sofa to hear what they had to say.

The interview was with Donna Freitas, author of “The End of Sex –How a Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”

Donna delves into the life of college students and examines how in the current, feverish sexual climate where the hookup is all important, an entire generation has become completely adrift from the concepts of meaningful, emotional intimacy.

Freitas interviewed hundreds of young people to determine not only what defines a “hookup” but also what was taken from the experience –both in positive and negative terms.

What she discovered was a group of young people disillusioned by a social practice that leaves little room for more traditional dating.  She found many women and men who wanted to disengage from the casual hookup but lacked the essential tools to date and foster true intimacy. 

Dead End Hookups

And here is where I believe she hit pay dirt.  Our culture –both Christians and non-believers do not know how to establish healthy relationship and so hookups SEEM like the only entry way into a dating relationship.  But unfortunately, by introducing sex so quickly and making it meaningless, we have removed the ability to truly know each other and create lasting intimacy; as well as overlooked the necessary investment of time and trust to build a solid relationship.

Singles, young and old alike are floundering in the dating realm and they don’t understand why it’s so disheartening. 

Hooking up is not getting us what we want. 

Freitas found that many young people yearn to go out a real date and be honored with intentional pursuit but they believe they are the only ones out there who feel this way. 

But there is another way…

Try Dating With Purpose

Treat your “date” like your neighbor.  Few people would ever go next door and rip out their neighbor’s trees and drive their car on the lawn.  And yet, our hookups do exactly this with people’s hearts.

We use hookups as a conquest instead of an opportunity to care for others.  We avoid any responsibility the day after.  As soon as sex is exchanged, we flee instead of growing closer.  We rip apart our souls over and over and then can’t understand why it’s difficult to connect with people. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

When was the last time your hookup encapsulated any one of these loving acts?

Isn’t it time we thought about dating differently?

–Samantha

How to Write a Winning Online Dating Profile

 

You’ve finally taken the big leap and decided to join the online dating world.  But before you get too crazy winking and throwing kisses online, you may want to consider a few tweaks to your online profile. 

Remember, first impressions are won or lost in about 30 seconds.

I know, I know…you’ve got it handled, right.  You’ve already crafted an awesome bio detailing all of your Christian service, financial prowess and physical appeal. 

In fact you wrote an essay.

You have made it clear you only want devoted Christians, a serious relationship, and you don’t want to get hurt AGAIN.

But for some strange reason you aren’t attracting the type of dates you find desirable?

Have you considered that your own profile might be the reason you aren’t attracting quality dates?

Is it possible that more details aren’t always better –they are just more?

How to craft a winning online dating bio:

  • Get Feedback

Ask a trusted friend of the opposite sex to give you feedback.  Then listen and take great notes.

  • Be Succinct and to the Point

Remember this is an elevator pitch not a college entrance essay.  Keep it brief and don’t ramble on endlessly.  You want to leave a little mystery and a good reason to get to know you better.  And please…don’t be weird!  Quirky is cool, but make sure your eccentric self reads well to the world.

  • Don’t sound bitter

Leave out the comments like, “I’m not here to waste time on trivial relationships.” Or, “I’ve been hurt in the past, tread carefully.”  These aren’t confident and attractive statements and (although they may be true) they don’t translate well on a computer screen without perspective and relationship.

  • Make sure your picture is your best profile

First things first, include one! (But make sure they don’t resemble any of these real life profiles I found)

Ladies, men are highly visual, so don’t skip this crucial step.   A lack of picture suggests insecurity about your looks or that you’re married (and cheating) or that you’re a predator.

Try to keep the picture classy.  Don’t be overly sexy or pose with stuffed animals.  It’s creepy not cute.  Be honest and put up a shot taken in the last six months. Do not post a picture of you 30 lbs ago. 

Do not put up a Glamour Shot or a photo-shopped picture.  Keep it simple and try smiling. No one likes an angry elf.

  • Proofread!

Use proper grammar and spell check your bio before publishing.  Grammatical errors are not appealing and show an impulsive and hasty nature.

These small steps can reap big rewards when it comes to first impressions in the online dating realm. 

 What do you think about Spidey’s profile?  Would you date him? 

 

Photo Source: datingadvice.com via jen on Pinterest

Veiled Woman Photo Source: thechive.files.wordpress.com via Liz on Pinterest

Fire lady Photo Source: Uploaded by user via ClickTonight on Pinterest

Sword Guy Photo Source: lolimage.com via lol on Pinterest

Spiderman Photo Source: thechive.files.wordpress.com via Rob on Pinterest

 

 

Evaluating the “Rate a Male App” -Lulu

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I was driving to work when I first heard the news about a new dating app called Lulu. 

And I almost crashed.

Lulu, if you haven’t heard, is an iPhone and Android application that allows women to review the men they date through Facebook.  Let’s just say it’s an overall evaluation of their assets. 

Think “Angie’s List” and then let your mind wander straight into the gutter.

The creator, Alexandra Chong came up with the idea at a post-Valentine’s Brunch two years ago as she sat with her girlfriends and dished on men and relationships. 

Chong claims she identified a need –to create a forum for women to talk about the men in their lives.

Here is what concerns me:

  1. It dehumanizes men.  Women hate to be objectified and yet this is exactly what they are doing to men.
  2. Women need REAL relationships with other women to process male/female interaction.  They do not need another app on Facebook to isolate even more.  Relationships and people are complicated and they cannot be numerically staticized.
  3. No man deserves to have his relational immaturity advertised.  We all make mistakes and it’s simply unfair and extremely immature to exploit another person’s faults –even if they are legitimate.
  4. If a guy has a bad reputation –it will get around.  Trust me.  Facebook can’t compete with how much women love to gossip.
  5. It could cause lasting emotional damage in the wrong hands.  One vindictive young woman could destroy a man’s online reputation. A bitter woman with this app in hand is a recipe for disaster. 
  6. It’s snarky.

The only possible good I see in this app is that a few guys might clean up their act when held accountable by a posse of young women.  Because this app is targeted for college kids in a campus environment, unless a guy plans on changing schools he might want to reconsider treating women poorly if they are all comparing notes.

Chong said women answer a series of questions and then anonymously or privately share the information about the male. Once ratings from the quiz are calculated, Lulu gives the male an overall ranking on a scale from one to ten.

The female-only application is available to students at the University of Florida and Florida State University because Chong wanted to launch Lulu at schools that have strong Greek life, social environment and academic culture.

“We thought those were some good schools,” she stated. “It certainly has been a big success so far, and we’re really happy we came here.”

 “We had a lot of guys trying to get into the Lulu app,” she said. “We decided we wanted to make sure to give them a voice on the app as well. It’s called LuluDude.”

Chong said the mobile Web application, LuluDude, which is yet to be released, will allow men to manage their Lulu profile and see their ratings.

The Bible gives it own warning in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Ladies, I imagine a male version of this app is already in the works -so tread lightly before you critique.  Only God knows our heart and no app or program could ever quantify a changed life.

What do you think about Lulu?  Would you use it if it were available?

Textamacy – How Social Media is Accelerating Relational Intimacy

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Our 14-year-old son wanted only one thing for Christmas this year.

And I am sure that we weren’t the only parents who acquiesced to our child’s desire for an iPhone.

Apple sold 125 million of them in 2012.

Until now, kids didn’t have access to instant communication with their friends. Yes, they could call people on the phone, but for this generation, it isn’t fast or wide-ranging enough. Kids today want to communicate through text messages or broadcast their thoughts to an ever-listening world.

We live in a social media age.

In fact, this generation might be coined the “Social Media Generation” not unlike the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers of the past. Texting, Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter have changed communication in our world forever.

When something big happens around us, we no longer wait to see it on the evening news; we reach for our iPhone/Pad or our Android device of choice to check in on what’s happening. This cultural shift hasn’t just altered the way we get our information; it has radically changed the way we communicate with one another.

This brings us to the world of dating and our desire for immediate gratification. We are now conditioned by smart phones and social media outlets to seek instant intimacy.  It’s no big deal to spill personal details on Facebook to an audience of thousands.

Now when I was a kid in the midst of puberty, I wanted to engage in intimate conversations with women too, I just didn’t have the opportunity.

I had to use the home telephone (remember the push-button dial-up attached to the wall?) and ask the girl’s parents if I could engage in conversation with their daughter.
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And none of those conversations were private, so getting intimate wasn’t an option. Not so today.

We-my wife and I, began to look into the texting patterns of our first-born, to see what was happening in this new social media paradigm. What we found was alarming, and very telling about how intimacy is building in our modern culture.

We inadvertently stumbled upon a conversation (ok we snooped…) that had happened for all of eleven days. The first text was innocent… the girl responded “who is this?”

Eleven days and over 1,000 texts later, they were talking about how they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Until day nine, the two had never spent a minute alone together. But on day nine, they attended a friend’s fifteenth birthday party at Laser Quest, a laser tag facility at the local mall. And it was on day nine that the two found themselves in a lip-lock inside the dimly lit maze illuminated by black lights and fluorescent bulbs.

Shocking, I know… from zero to intimate in nine days.

When we found out what was happening and unpacked the past eleven days, our son admitted the conversation just kind of went out of control. He said it was easy to say things he never would have said in person or with other people around. The conversation became provocative and arousing and he couldn’t help himself.

An interesting thing happened in the aftermath. When the conversation came to light and the texting stopped, the two found themselves in an awkward position.

They had a lot of enticing conversations, but they really didn’t know each other. They knew little things about each other, but they didn’t know each other. They fell for the image the other person expressed and their own imagination filled in any blanks.

This created a false reality that seemed flawless.

But when they actually began interacting with each other in person, they soon realized the image they portrayed in the texting relationship didn’t match reality. They found they didn’t have much in common and their personalities weren’t a good match.

They still see each other at school, but the enticement is gone and the relationship is over. And this intrigued me…

In a society where social media and texting are the primary ways of communication and a majority of singles have tried online dating, are we really getting to know the people we date, or are we just getting to see the online persona they want to portray?

And do we really want to know the person we date or are we content pursuing someone’s false image because it’s uncomplicated and desirable?
And we wonder why so many of our dating relationships end in disappointment?

Many of these disappointments are inevitable because we cross the threshold of sexual intimacy before we know the person we are with.

As social media and texting have propelled our access to intimacy, it seems as though we are becoming content with false intimacy.

We settle for crumbs instead of a real relationship.

I imagine Manti Te’o would admit he fell hook, line and sinker for this idea of false intimacy.

Have you?

Photo Source: Rodale.com

The Male Happy-o-Meter

One thing I have learned about men –they like their women happy. In fact, to some degree they feel personally responsible for making their girlfriends and wives happy.

It’s a guy thing.

When a romance is new and shiny a guy will go to great lengths to please his woman. He will talk and cuddle and buy her things. When she is happy he is happy.

And since women love to chat, the man will listen. But here is where it gets tricky and women often shoot themselves in the foot.

All too often we OVER COMMUNICATE.

Telling Him EVERYTHING is No Bueno

A woman feels so good after she verbally vomits all her emotions.

Chicks call it dumping. We dump our frustrations out on our besty and then she dumps in return and we listen and sigh and hug and feel soooo connected.

But when we do it with our men it backfires. A guy wants to fix and please and make his woman happy, but if the dumping is negative (and when is dumping ever positive?) the gal moves on feeling significantly better, but the man is left to sort out and process all her toxic emotions.

For every bundle of negativity a woman unloads, a man gets knocked down off of his happy horse. (Because guys take responsibility for their woman’s happiness, remember?).

When a woman criticizes a man or complains about something that might even have nothing to do with him, he feels responsible.

SSSHHH!!!

The Bible puts it this way, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Prov. 10:19 NLV

Understanding that women and men are designed differently will go a long way towards fostering peace in a relationship. Women need to be self-aware of their tendency to over-share and take their burdens to other women whom they can (safely) vent their emotions to, saving the truly fixable needs for their men.

The wise woman holds back her constructive criticism and is simply grateful for what her man actually does –thus upping his happy-o-meter and ultimately her own.

(Oh boy, do I sometimes get this wrong but I continue to repent after I blunder and try, try, try again…)

How to crank up the Happy-o-Meter

If my husband thinks I am happy then he is happy and free to go out and conquer the world, secure that his own little kingdom is running smoothly.

It gives a man great confidence to have a happy girlfriend or wife and that confidence will enable him operate at his full potential–thus blessing the very woman who helped him succeed–namely the woman.

And if a woman really needs to talk –giving her guy a warning with a “please could you just give me your ear for five minutes and I don’t need a solution” is highly recommended.

–Samantha

Do you agree or disagree?

Photo Source: bit.ly via Judith on Pinterest

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