We are stuck in a time when people would rather swipe right than approach you, when the amount of likes on a picture trumps over someone asking you how your day is going. A time when people tag each other on memes rather than tell each other how they feel. When sub-tweets are the only way to express ourselves, and text messages are used more than face-to-face conversations.
We choose to be lonely, making our pets our “BAEs” and are too unwilling to trust another human with any emotions we might have. We rely on text messages to bring us instant satisfaction and, let’s be real; one emoji will never equal a bouquet of flowers.
So, why then, do we maintain this life? The career-driven, independent, ruthless, social media-crazed life. Often leading to being so closed off that we fear exposing ourselves emotionally. Almost forgetting what it feels like to feel; To share ourselves with someone else?
We have become so technology-dependent that it’s affected the way we interact with other people. We are hoping to connect through their Instagram or Twitter and follow their thoughts rather than engage in a conversation. It’s easy to edit ourselves on social media, to re-think what we want to say in 160 characters and make it sound witty. It’s even easier to choose a filter for that selfie we took twenty-seven times and will probably post along with some J.Cole lyrics. But what’s hard is to leave ourselves unedited, unfiltered, and completely exposed and vulnerable in conversation. There is no send button in real life – there is no delete key and that, my friends, scares the living shit out of us.
It used to be so easy back in the day, wasn’t it? Whether it was sharing a class or bumping into one another at the grocery store – we had the balls to approach. Meeting new people was organic, still nerve wrecking, of course, but it was much less complicated. We didn’t always rely on alcohol to say “hello” and we handled well the idea that we might get rejected. As technology advances, and we try to keep up with it, the ways we choose to communicate are changing – fast. So now we are stuck with the dilemma regarding how to talk to the pretty girl at the bar or approach the cute guy at the game with his buddies. What was once simple and organic has become a process. The easier it becomes to hide behind a screen, a like, a swipe; The harder it becomes to approach without all those things. Our fear has led to confusion. How are we expected to approach other human beings now?
Let’s say we managed to meet someone new. Someway, somehow – we’ve engaged in conversation and they seem interesting. What do we do after we exchange numbers? We get online. “Let’s see what their Facebook profile looks like! Oh, they have an Instagram? Hmm, let’s take a look at that too.” After half an hour not only do we know about this stranger’s vacation last week and their break-up with their ex (who’s still in the profile pictures) but, sadly, we’ve got some pre-notion about this person whom we’ve only met that one time – simply by looking at their posts. We’ve forgotten there is more to the face than the Facebook.
We have a false sense of self
We are not only confused and scared, but we are liars. We aren’t always the happy-go-lucky perfect little souls we pretend to be. There is more than that, but that is the beauty of social media. Isn’t it? We post the parts of our day we choose to, the parts that look good, that made us happy and we want the rest of the world to see. But it’s almost like a well-edited episode of our lives. We don’t post the tragedies, the heartache or the loneliness (unless you’re one of the few who love to sulk on FB statuses – we’re not talking about you). We’ve portrayed ourselves a certain way on social media, and when we meet someone new, we often forget to show what’s hidden behind the curtain of reality. What’s worse, sometimes we may ourselves, forget that we even have a curtain at all. Yes – maybe we got 200 likes on our gym selfie sporting our abs and Nike gear and another 200 on that girls night out in tight dresses but, at the end of the day, what the hell does that amount to? Nothing. Most of the people who liked or commented haven’t met us in person. The others, we hardly keep in touch with, and the rest probably scrolled, liked & commented on twenty other Instagram accounts simultaneously. Don’t let social media fool you, it’s all superficial.
We have lost connection with feeling connected. We confuse, we reject, we easily forget. And yet, we still try to reach for more – we’re just doing it in all the wrong ways.