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Technology and the Loss of Intimacy
They met in a club and even though he was not her "type", she agreed to a date because he was nice and she didn't know how to say "no." They made plans for tonight to have dinner and see a movie. However, as the appointed time draws nearer, she is frantically thinking of how she can get out of this date. She just isn't interested in him and never would have said yes if there had been an easy way out. She is dreading an awkward evening of wishing she were home and glancing at the clock. What can she do? Then it hits her, "I Know, I'll send a message to the Alibi and Excuse Club." "They will help me find a way out."
Advances in technology have changed the way we relate and communicate in all aspects of our lives. Dating related industries have capitalized on this and have come up with ways that singles can handle (among other things) awkward situations like breaking a date or rejecting a potential suitor- with only a few strokes of the keys and clicks of a mouse. Take the "Alibi and Excuse Club," available on www.sms.ac. A member of this group can send a message to the gang and someone will provide them with- or help them fake- an excuse. Whatever happened to good old communication, where we faced our uncomfortable feelings- however difficult this was to do- and told the person that we were just not interested? Not only was this a more honest and respectful approach, it built communication skills that would be critical in all of out relationships, throughout our lives.
There are other digital services available to speak for us and help us to avoid dealing with uncomfortable feelings-which, by the way, we must know how to deal with in order to have true intimacy with another. Here is a sampling of what is out there:
Both Virginmobileusa and rucingular.com offer a service that allows you to program a call on your phone in advance of a date. Then they call you and offer an excuse to end your date early.
Papernapkin.net is a service that gives you an email address where rejections are posted. If someone you are not interested in asks for your email address, you give him or her this one and when they write, they get a rejection message from you.
Soundster.com offers a wide variety of background noises for cell phones. When you want to cancel a date, you can call with an excuse and program in the right background noise- to help make it all sound realistic and legitimate.
Imagine having to deal with a painful issue in your marriage and going to others (via the web) to speak for you and/or offer you a script to present your spouse with? How will you handle those difficult (future) negotiations and conflicts with your children? Will you have to fake a response or offer a script because you are too uncomfortable with the intensity of your hurt feelings and the dynamic between you and your child? What about the inevitable issues that will come up with close friends? Will you avoid, deny, pretend and eventually loose the intimate connection due to your inability to be there- really there- in the relationship?
Even though it is very tempting in the short run to use one of these services to avoid those awkward feelings and the inevitable responses from the person you are rejecting- doing so will put you at risk of stagnating your emotional growth and the development of healthy and mature communication skills. The next time you need to talk to someone about something uncomfortable or painful, consider sitting down and writing out what YOU would like to say and finding an optimal place and time to say it- and then speak from the heart. However it turns out, you will feel a lot better about it and know that you can be an effective communicator after all.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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