The ULTIMATE GUIDE for Dating | In the Digital Age (2020)
So at the time of writing this guide for dating in the digital age, I did a LOT of research. There were many sites and sources that provided a variety of information and giving essential dating tips and about dating online. Still, nothing came close to the kind of information I was hoping for.
Naturally, I wanted to provide a resource that was good for someone looking for advice on dating in today’s world, that could be generalized (somewhat) for most people. After all, we are human. We may have minor differences, but on a larger scale, we all want similar things.
At some point, we all want to experience excitement, companionship, and the joys that come with meeting someone new. The truth is, no one has ever really taken the time to tell us what to look for or how to go about attracting what we want. If this is not true for you, hang on–no one has taught us how to date with the emergence of technology, either.
We have been in this age for quite some time, and no resource has been dedicated to helping us navigate love, dating, and the like via digital waters. This ultimate guide for dating aims at taking an in-depth look at the history of dating in the digital age and some dating tips for men, women, and LBGTQ.
The ULTIMATE GUIDE for Dating – Dating in the “old days”
Before we examine this guide for dating, please excuse any biases I may have. I am a man that happened to be born in the middle of the analog ways of doing things and the new ‘improved’ digital techniques of today.
From a dating perspective, I enjoy the convenience technology provides. Still, I think the ‘old days’ provided a certain level of respect and patience than what we are experiencing today. In the early days, there were a few significant differences in the way people dated. Some of these differences were:
- Dating Standards
For the everyday person who has not experienced the joys of how things used to be, let me fill you in a bit. Once again, excuse my bias as I dissect how dating was in the golden days, ahem, excuse me, the old days; and how they have influenced dating in the digital age.
This may sound like something that everyone had back then, but that is not the truth. Plenty of people were impatient when it came to dating, but back then, there was not much that could be done to change things. You had to have patience because people were actually involved in the real world and not one created in cyberspace.
This gave people a better understanding of things and also allowed time, feelings, and desires toward a person to build up before actually going in for the kill. In the old days, there was a thing better know as the three-day rule, and people were serious about honoring it.
In the days of old, dating standards were better suited for people that want to be in a committed relationship. Traditional gender roles were still in effect, chivalry was alive, people kept most of their clothes on (a first at least), etc. People had different expectations in dating but also were more intentional with getting to know people before committing to intimacy.
Dating standards helped increase self-respect as well as the interaction between two people. Respecting yourself meant that you were not willing to do or say anything just to get the person’s attention. Caring about how you came off to someone was necessary for those days. This also helped improve respect for another person, as you did not want to scare them off, and really wanted to make a good impression.
The ULTIMATE GUIDE for Dating in the Digital Age – The Emergence of Social Media
It was 2004 when I first learned about “The Facebook” (which was the
original name of the social media giant, before dropping “the”). I was
in college and enthralled by the possibility of networking and being
able to meet women through a social media
website. I had not been in this place since my AOL/ AIM days of junior
and high school. After several months on it, again, I realized what
type of monster this had the potential to be.
I honestly was relieved Facebook was not open to the public. I remember using AIM and noticed many people were posting statuses that depicted how alone they were, or how much they were starved for attention.
This experience was something foreign to me. The phrase social media wasn’t even a term yet. Seeing how people really felt, either through lyrics from a song or other cryptic messages, signified something more was happening. These platforms were more than just fun, meeting new people, and possibly dating. They began to become a cry out for help, or a platform to voice opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Social Media & Mental Health
The effects of social media were not easily understood during its infancy. Research began as early as 2013 when doctors began noticing a trend correlating social media usage and poor self-image. I remember this research study like it was yesterday. The participants of the study were asked to describe the feelings that arose from looking at pictures of other people. The people in the photos were deemed to be more attractive and more successful. Doctors wanted to observe how people feel about themselves after watching others have fun or be happy.
The results made a direct correlation between happiness and social media usage. Upwards of 78% of users reported that seeing people that were perceived as being happy or prosperous, resulted in negative self-image and an increase of unhappiness. The test was conducted several times to eliminate any outliers or any misrepresentations of data, and the results remained conclusive. Seeing others happy made us feel unhappy and also helped us begin comparing our lives to the lives of others.
This started a detrimental trend as people began to not love themselves and have a poor self-image. Today, social media has produced a downpour of mental and emotional issues. Let’s look at some issues that social media has the potential to cause.
Social Media Affects on Dating
This next topic in the Ultimate Guide Dating in the Digital Age, to dating is social media. Social Media has also had an effect on the way we date and interact in relationships. Because of the ease of accessibility provided by social media, trust can become a severe problem in a relationship. When mixing social media and relations, situations can become tense in a heartbeat.
Imagine being with someone for years, and one day, you come home and find out they’ve been having a secret relationship with someone they met on social media? How would you feel? I know I wouldn’t feel good about it. Social media gives people the ability to connect with others like never before; nonetheless, it’s …scary.
Social media has shaped the way we date, our dating and relationship standards, as well as the way we respond to others seeking attention. The frightening part is that people are not aware of this. As the attention crave increased and standards/morals decreased, people are now more willing to ignore you or do outlandish things to get your attention. This can be very annoying for people to deal with and can make social media an unhealthy place to be if your intent is to date or get to know someone.
A few years later, Facebook became available to the world, like other social media sites such as:
• Vine (RIP)
These sites became the source of much of the information we find today. Now I’ve said all of that, but how does this relate to dating? Well, allow me to explain. In my opinion, I used Facebook, mainly to find interesting women on campus, and most users did the same. It could be used as a dating site or icebreaker if you have not had the opportunity to meet someone face to face on campus. This was beneficial as it allowed you to establish a rapport with them. This was a game-changer for those of us that are shy and afraid to approach women (I was at the time).
These sites continued to evolve and give us the ability to network, find distant relatives, post content, and even sell and purchase goods. But then what does this mean for dating? Has the emergence of social media had any effect on dating? Yes, indeed, it has.
Dating is much different now
Back when social media was limited to college students, you had a higher success rate of being able to jump into someone’s DM and receive a timely response. This was primarily due to the amount of control over how many DMs someone was receiving. At that time, a person was not getting that many DMs (because the networks were not overcrowded yet). Fast forward to today, dating and social media are both very different. Imagine attractive people who use social media in 2011 versus 2020. It might look something like this:
Not only has the influx of users increased, but so has the rudeness, brashness, and complete thirst from other users. Water anyone? After some time, it would have to be annoying or overwhelming. You are getting all types of messages from many people, and you were on social media for entertainment. As more people started to use social media for dating purposes, three distinct things changed.
• People are more likely to ignore or not see a message
• People are more forward or rude when messaging
• People have a lower tolerance/attention span when communicating
These three changes are similar to going into a government service building (DMV, social security, etc.) and wondering why the clerk is so rude and hostile. The fact is the clerk has been dealing with rude people all day, all week, all year, and their tolerance level has probably expired. So, when she is snappy with you, don’t take it personally, she’s just overwhelmed.
We are aware that these platforms are called ‘social media or social networking sites, and were not designed for people looking for love. But, when you find a person with similar interests and hobbies, they are attractive, and appear “normal,” you will want to connect. It’s normal to want to do so.
In the digital age, there is a perception of not having enough time or not being able to meet people. This mainly became the case due to the speed in which we live our lives today. This void that was instantly serviced by sites such as:
Match dot com was the first online dating platform that was launched in 1995! Imagine how it was to have a computer at that time. You would also understand that it was rare that people were as involved with online dating then. Now, the story is entirely different, as people are more willing to meet and get to know people online than ever before.
A few years later, Eharmony came on the scene. Then with the emergence of smartphones, Tinder became the first dating app to popularize the swipe-matching system.
Dating sites were designed to help identify potential matches with people based on location, wants, hobbies, life views, etc. Dating sites understood people’s interest in filtering out their wants and needs as opposed to the random connections found through personals and social media sites. Dating sites have given people the ability to look for precisely what they want in a mate. This was done by providing capabilities for a person to pinpoint a specific set of characteristics that you want your ideal mate to have.
Dating sites always have had an element of the unknown, which attracts some people and repels others. The main problem with some dating sites or apps is the inability to filter out catfishes, liars, and those who tailor their profiles in a way to get more matches. Websites that are specific to ethnicity, status, sexual orientation, etc., do a better job of screening applicants than ones that are generically tailored.
Dating Advice for Men
Dating advice for men is not easy to give because everyone has
different wants and needs. A man must identify which type of man he sees
himself as to better navigate his dating path in the world. While you
may be an alpha male or even a beta male, there are some essential
basics that women want.
Being yourself is most important in the graphic above. Why? Because
most women are psychic ninjas that can spot a fraud a mile away. You may
be able to lie on social media and dating sites. Still, in person, she
uses her abilities to separate fact from fiction. This means anything
that you’ve fabricated will be noticed by her.
We do have moments where emulation is what we use to learn and grow and be better, but as a whole, being yourself is the best thing you can be. After all, it is ALL you can be. You can try to be someone else, but that typically won’t come across as being genuine. Women like men who are themselves, it’s a known fact. If you are a goofy guy and try to act charming or similar to James Bond, and it may be cute initially. Eventually, the goof troop in you will manifest.
Practice being yourself helps create an identity that is uniquely you. This is not the only necessity for maintaining your originality. The other necessary part is also to grow at becoming a better you. Women appreciate a man being himself versus the guy trying to act like something he is not.
Make her feel safe
A woman’s safety is tantamount when dating or in a relationship. Having spoken to hundreds of women, I can say this is a truth that must not be overlooked. So, what I would suggest is to get in the gym and make sure you are in physical fitness to protect your woman from the world. No, seriously. A woman not only wants to feel safe in public, but she also wants to feel safe in private as well.
Women have this perception (which is sometimes true), that men do not listen. Before you jump on my back, hear this point. They are right, a lot of times a woman will tell you things she wants in a relationship and because we are so locked in on, “how do I get to have sex with her,” we lose sight of the small things. She wants to also feel safe and secure emotionally and financially (the private safety).
Finances are something that causes a lot of strife in relationships. When you are at least pulling some weight around, an observant woman will appreciate it. Having a discussion about finances shows that you are responsible, and you care about how she feels. Emotionally, women want to be taken care of and, at the very least, to be secure. Address her needs sometimes, do things for her, make her feel valued, etc. This is why getting to know your partner BEFORE sex and intimacy, is advisable. Better yet, it’s mandatory.
This should go without saying, but because we are all different, the need to spell it out exists. Firstly, let me identify the drive as being any one of these attributes:
- dreams/ goals
For purposes of time, these examples will suffice. In the grand scheme of things, women want a man that has something going, or a man that is interested in having something going for himself. Why? This is important because most women will not respect your “leadership” as a man when you cannot prove some of these things to her. Have you ever worked a job, and the manager has no clue as to what s/he is doing? Do you feel safe trusting their guidance and judgment? No? Well, this is no exception.
Having drive lets a woman know that you care about yourself, and her as well. Ambition is very instrumental because it means you want to do more, meaning you will not get complacent and continuously strive for bigger and better. These elements are must-haves for women, trust me.
Dating Advice for Women
Since I am giving advice about this whole dating in the digital age, I might as well include women, right? Women have a lot of prerequisites when it comes to dating a man, and they often vary. However, in today’s age, understanding what is expected from a woman could prove to be very helpful. Let’s examine dating advice for women as we take a quick look at some attributes men look for.
These info-graphic above were the most common answers when I did research. These traits were the one’s men frequently wanted in women. A lot of things men look for in women are things that make him feel comfortable. Ladies, just like you, men want to be able to feel comfortable. Let’s look at some traits that men want in a woman.
From personal experience, this can make or break a relationship or the potential of having one with a man. A man wants to treat you like his queen, but to do so, he needs your respect. Respect can be complicated to discuss because it can be subjective and abstract, but understanding your man’s dos and don’t are very important.
While different types of men require different levels of respect from women, the point is, compliance is still mandated. A man wants to “feel” like a man, and his woman should understand this. Respect does, however, go both ways. If he is not behaving in a manner that affords him the honor, it is understandable to not give it.
While there may be times where men act like babies, immature, uncertain, or indecisive, men still want to “feel” in control and need acceptance from their woman or potential mate. Without it, he may feel lost or develop resentment, as it is hard to have any type of lasting relationship with a woman who lacks respect for him.
The ambition was something that only women want in men, right? Wrong. The truth is, some men like to take care of a woman. Some men enjoy a woman who has her own. He may not want her to be lazy or completely independent, but he does want her to have something to bring to the table.
Different relationships require different things, and this may not be something that men reveal naturally. Still, a woman’s ambition is desirable to most men. A man wants to know that his partner is not afraid to get her hands dirty and work toward something she wants. While she can rely on him, she does not depend on him entirely.
Ambition and her drive to have her own business, hobbies, interest, and not just sit and wait for him to take care of her. This is what men have been programmed to accept throughout history. Take care of the woman, provide for her, and that’s it. But, when a woman can do things for herself, it takes a load off a man’s back.
The ability to love
Men have a lot of pressure placed on them by society. After being expected to be the provider, be tough, and hold things together, it is good to have a moment where we can be vulnerable. A man wants to be able to have moments of weakness with his woman, and if she is not able to love, this could destroy this process. Loving comes in various forms, and these forms are essential for a man to let it all hang out and not have to wear his “tough-guy” persona. It gets draining after a while.
A woman’s ability to love a man has a direct effect on his confidence. Love is all-encompassing of support, nurturing, and things a man requires for him to be emotionally vulnerable. Without it, he is again alone on his path to conquer the world and does not have support from the closest person to him. A woman’s love and help give the man the strength to go on and continue. Many women do not understand this.
Nothing can be more destructive to a relationship than a woman who is unable to love her man correctly. He will not feel safe with you, and as a result, will not do things to make you feel secure. All relationships are a combination of ebbs and flows. For every action/inaction, there is a reaction. Loving is no exception to this rule, and while not easy, it is necessary for dating and the development of a healthy relationship
**Disclaimer – I do not have much knowledge on this topic but after one of my readers chewed me out about inclusion, I had to do my due diligence to rectify any issues.**
The world of LGBTQIA has changed tremendously with the emergence of technology. As we all know, the community has had it rough in the dating department, and life in general. A member of the LGBTQ community will have more obstacles in the dating, relationship, and marriage department than their heterosexual counterparts.
LGBT+ dating has vastly improved from the days of old when people were bullied made fun of, and treated unfairly. The environment was very hostile to people who were not associated with the majority. And, akin to most minor populations, fighting for equal treatment was mandatory.
In the past, the very hostile climate it was, created difficulties for members to be open in public, finding places to meet other members, and having the respect of others. This can make trying to find a date the “normal way”, difficult.
In a study conducted in 2012, it was found that over 70% of LGBT+ daters met online. Technology has helped to provide a safe space for people to get to know one another. Since the passing of gay marriages, people in the community were finally allowed to celebrate their love and union on their terms.
LGBTQ Dating Advice
Despite sexual preference, orientation, and gender identification, humans want the same things even as it pertains to dating in the digital age. Some of the main wants are:
- To be loved
- to be appreciated
- To be secure
- To be happy
Although these desires are universal, here are three tips that can apply to LGBT+ daters.
Date someone as out or closeted as you
Find out how comfortable your potential date is with being out. Or, find out how your date feels toward be closeted out of fear. Either way, just find out. This prevents any miscommunication down the line. Some LGBTQ daters prefer to both be in the closet, some prefer to be out and flamboyant, some have no preference at all, but you must make sure. When you are with someone who is in the same coming out stage, there is a higher potential for success in that union.
Avoid conversations about the ex
Although the LGBT+ community is growing, it is still small. You may be in a big city such as Los Angeles, or Austin, but you never know who knows who. Imagine a first date with a prospect who talks about their last relationship, only to find out this was someone, you too have been involved with. If you want to move into a happy space, avoid conversations about the ex. Trust me.
Honesty is another major tip of advice. Because in the online dating community, one out of every two users lies on their profile. While undesirable, it should not be a shock when you hear different things in person once coming to the dating stage. Honesty as an LGBT+ dater is important down the line when things become work. Being upfront about expectations wants, and relationship titles can help keep daters on the same page and if not, at least in the know.
In this ultimate guide for dating in the digital age, I wanted to provide a comprehensive understanding of what things people wanted out of relationships. Social media and digital technology has created different ways on dating in the digital age and has contributed to a lot of change in meeting people and the relationship world.
Because things are so vastly different, we must attempt to incorporate the ways of old to today. The convenience of technology allows us to have access to anything we want but should be done with guidelines. The reason being, dating sites, and social media have no parameters and can cause a lot of issues when they are not regulated. This lack of regulation has changed our perception of dating and relationships.
The major takeaways from this are as follows:
- We need to take the time to get to know people.
- Dating in the digital age comes with a lot of pros and cons .
- Social media and dating apps are tools and should not be treated as the standard.
- While it is easier to connect to people, it has also become challenging to communicate.
- Gender roles or expectations should be discussed in dating.
- Social media can adversely your well-being. Watch how you use it.
These six points are just a piece of the pie when it comes to dating in the digital age. The pitfalls of social media thirst, catfishing, bullying, etc., have made connecting with others challenging. But, with the proper approach, and timing, we can change these things and restore some order in our dating lives.