Monday, January 19, 2009

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd - It’s a Date After All!

As long as we are on the topic of technology, I thought I would address the old adage that still remains quite true: two’s company, three’s a crowd. In this instance, it’s the Blackberry/Treo/name any other handheld device that’s the unwelcome company at the dinner table.

In this day and age of being accessible 24/7, everyone is so obsessed with checking who’s trying to get in touch with him or her, that it’s quite easy to let technology distract one from the wonderful dating opportunity across the table. In the past, a person went on a dinner date and that was it for the night – the two people at the table were the sole focus of each other’s dinner/drink conversation. Now, you can often spot one of the two parties at a restaurant sipping his or her pinot noir while the person across the table thumbs away crazily on his or her Blackberry. Most of the time the offenders means no harm by it – they may very well be reading a message from their mother reminding them to call their sister for her birthday, or they may be making sure the project they just left to the junior associates hasn’t created panic and utter chaos in the thirty minutes since they left the office, or … perhaps they are just letting a friend know that they can’t make it out for a drink because they are having such a great time with you. All of these are admirable reasons to be attached to one’s palm device, but regardless of how noble the reason for the distraction, it is a distraction none the less.

Certainly, if you were on a date and the person you were with asked you to “hold on a sec,” then proceeded to take out a book and started to read, commenting “I’ll be right with you”, you’d be highly offended. And the date would end right there. Ok, the analogy is a far cry from texting or emailing during a date, but I think the point is made. If you’re sending a message, you’re sending a message. Being at the mercy of your Blackberry, e.g. immediately checking it the minute you hear a sound like a Pavlovian dog, shows lack of attention or interest – even when you are interested. One may easily leave thinking that his or her date was rude, bored or has a serious case of Attention Deficit Disorder. Any way you look at it, it’s not the message you want to send (even if you’re not interested, I know your mammas raised you better). And I’m not talking about the occasional email, text message check done swiftly and tastefully – offenders, you know who you are!

Of course people have to check their Blackberries for work – most professionals don’t have the luxury of sitting down on a week night for a few hours and ignoring any email that choses to intrude upon their date with the hot guy or gal that they have been dying to get together with all week. One suggestion to resolve this dilemna is to make it simply a policy to wait 15 minutes after you’ve sat down for drinks to check your personal technology. Really, does anyone like to be with a person who shows his or her attention is being pulled away from the get-go? Perhaps a thoughtful comment can make a difference, maybe something like “I am so sorry, and I hate to do this, but I have a big deal going on at the moment. I didn’t want to cancel our plans so I just have to stay tuned to the office every now and then.” There is always the bathroom break where one can go to make things less obvious and intrusive.

If you make it just about you two, chances are you will have a better shot of getting your date’s undivided attention back. And I think it goes without saying, if you’re headed for a night cap, the Blackberries need to find a date of their own.



    turn that SH!-T off...! It's rude, rude, rude... especially with someone you dont know well; or worse, just met. show some common courtesy, right? That's about respecting a human, whether you're interested in a second / third / fourth date, whatever... So unless you're a brain surgeon on break before your next big lobotomy, you should be polite ( and even then, EVERYONE as down time). Trust me: I'm a busy professional and I've done it, and I've had it done to me, and both were,... unmistakably uncomfortable.

    Thing is, JEEZ...: this technology point is a HUGE one. It's completely changed the face of the rules. It's completely changed how we are to each other, as a culture. It's completely changed our sense of intimacy. It's completely changed all of out communication processes. And these factors are CRUCIAL when dealing with other fellow humans, but especially when dealing with a dating environment and / or courtship, and any intimate relations. t the beginning, middle, or end.

    I mean... really: when IS it OK to text for a first connection or even first date,etc,etc.??? It certainly CAN be ANOTHER new form of connective communication, and of course, it has it's attributes, like everything; in a way, much like any new form of communicae.... obviously, the silence of a written word can definitely state a sentiment more poignantly then mere words at times...( translate: Shakespeare ;) ).And we should revel in that. But it is also a slippery slope --- (I personally just had a communication breakdown with a text just yesterday with a friend, simply from one word being taken out of context, and our dinner plans being all misconstrued). Point is, I suppose it's how we use our forms of communication COLLECTIVELY and together, with respect to these forms but as they apply to the other humans we are connecting with.
    It always, always comes down to....accurate COMMUNICATION.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Thom - your thoughts mirror my sentiments exactly. You make the salient point that it's not just in the dating world where technology has led to a change in the way we interact (or fail to interact) with each other but in the world of relationships generally.

    I have one friend who will constantly take personal calls and send long emails while in her friends' company - which prompts the other person to do the same. At that point, you might as well not even be together. You are completely right, we are changing as a culture and it has changed our sense of intimacy.

    So no one misunderstands your point or mine, it is not about being out of touch with the times or a "technology hater." I use text and email and benefit from their ease just like everyone else. But in dating, I don't think it's being unreastic to still expect a level of communication that is more personal and thoughtful. When a guy actually calls to ask a woman out, it certainly separates the wheat from the chaff. I think more women need to ask themselves whether they want to date the chaff ...

  3. One evening with a date on a Monday night (traded two Mondays for a Friday) and deep into our conversation my blackberry rang out. I dont remember how but I was able to press the ignore button without losing sight of her green eyes. I was able to do some more trading and gained the trust and confidence of the young lady. Needless to say I was tormented to find out who might have called or texted... She excused her self to go to the ladies room. I was able to frantically check the missed/ignored call later to find out that it was a call from mom saying good night. Close call!