Technology makes relationships complex


Laura Formisano Mug August 28, 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

by Laura Formisano

Friends, we live in confusing times.

We joke about it now, but remember the days of notes passed in class between friends, one second grader to another, “Do you like me? Check yes or no”?

But now, we’ve got text messaging, Facebook messaging, Twitter and probably a whole host of other weird portals of communication coming our way next year that we haven’t heard of.

With all these venues of communication, things are more confusing. Say the girl you liked messaged you on Facebook chat, but you were away. You don’t want her to think you lost interest, so what do you do? Do you text, taking it to a more personal, almost “serious” level, or do you lay in wait on Facebook, so the minute her chat icon becomes green you can amend your mistake.

Not only do we have different levels of communication to complicate things, now we have weird terminology to accompany it all. We still have the standard boyfriend/girlfriend terminology, but past that, things get sticky.

People are now “talking”, hooking up, friends with benefits, sexting, dating, hanging out—they should offer a course at UK about how to navigate in your current romantic life and where you fit in with your current crush, hook-up, sexting partner, etc.

I think the most confusing thing among the technology terminology portal we face is not what to call someone and not where to communicate with them, but is instead where do our emotions fit in? There are certain things we’re allowed to feel with someone we’re talking to, but those emotions aren’t really supposed to be felt for someone we’ve merely hooked up with after one too many Long Island Iced Teas.

For example, a friend can feel bad for you when you’re down, heck, maybe even upset when the guy you’d been casually hanging out with for the past couple weeks with (he watched “Glee” with you!) suddenly seems like he’d rather go outside and watch his grass grow than spend time with you, but your roommate snaps at you when she catches you checking your texts for the umpteenth time, waiting for a response from the guy you’ve spent quality time the past two weekends after 2:30 a.m. Really, what kind of connection can you have over those last two shots of Jager?

Well, listen (or perhaps, read) closely, because this is where it counts: I can’t tell you how to classify your current befuddling situation, because honestly, I can’t even begin to decode my own. What I can tell you, though, is that you’re allowed to feel whatever you want, about any situation you’re currently involved in, because many times, that’s the only thing you can control.

I’m not suggesting wallowing the day away and ditching chemistry because your lab partner hasn’t texted you back (should have sprung for the Facebook message), but I am telling you it’s all right to bummed. It’s all right to have emotions even when you feel like you shouldn’t. We get so caught up in trying to brush things off and act like we’re okay when inside we’re feeling a bit broken and bruised. Whenever you feel as if you’ve been rejected, the ego really does take a hit. It’s not insecurity and it’s not weak– it’s just human nature.

While I wish I could solve the plethora of mysteries surrounding the modes of communication, that’s for you to figure out, or better yet, figure out that really, it doesn’t matter. The only reason you’re stressing about how to talk to someone is because you’re worried how they will feel about you.

Instead of spending time pondering the impossible, worry about yourself, and how you feel about it all.