As our dating guru Dr. Payne (Alex if she likes you) mentioned last week, dating in this day and age is, in a word, challenging. There are so many ifs, ands, buts and likes, so many possible missteps and wrong swipes, and so many social media searches gone wrong. When navigating these murky and treacherous waters, sometimes the best thing to do is look for a guiding like in the ether of the internet. Well, look no further hapless loves, because JUST-EAT.ca has recruited some capricious cupids in their 13 Spicy Nights online web series, and they’re here to answer all the burning romantic questions you have at this time of year.
Meet Carol-Anne Austin, experienced psychotherapist and couples’ counselor, who also happens to hold a Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality. She aims to form supportive and collaborative relationships in her practice by using a client-centered approach to therapy, and building strong, positive therapeutic relationships to create an environment that fosters change and promotes growth. Knowing that social media has been playing a larger and larger role in how people interact, especially when it comes to romance, we decided to ask Carol-Anne a few questions about modern day etiquette and relationship building, in a social media savvy world.
What is appropriate and what is considered over the top when it comes to social media interaction?
I think with social media it is important to use some of the same social etiquette considerations that you would in person – it is a public forum. We all have our own boundaries about what feels right for us and it is important to think about where your boundaries may lie. A good question to ask yourself is “would I be comfortable doing this act (i.e. showing PDA) or saying these things in a public space?” If the answer is yes then you may also feel comfortable to post online. If the answer is no, then perhaps you should not post online. Sometimes social media can make have a false sense of anonymity, but it is a public space.
More and more people are seeking each other out via technological methods (online dating, apps). What advice do you have for these hopeful lovers in this brave new world of dating?
If you are beginning to date using online dating services, my advice is to meet in person as soon as you feel comfortable to do so. Chat for a little while online, but set up that in-person first date sooner rather than later. The online dating scene is a way to connect you to be able to ask each other out on that first date to see if there is a connection ‘in real life.’ There is a lot that happens interpersonally between people in face-to-face interactions and you want to have access to these experiences. Sometimes people can end up spending a lot of time on online exchanges before they meet in person which can be fun but misses out of some of the chemistry that may or may not be present in person. So unless you are looking for a online relationship (which can be fun!) I suggest getting out there and meeting each other in the flesh.
What role can technology play in keeping a couple together after bringing them together in the first place?
Using technology can be a great way to stay connected to our partners when we need to be away from one another. You can send each other texts with little jokes or messages letting that person know you are thinking of them throughout the day. Also Skype, FaceTime and other streaming services can be a great way to get to see your partner and connect with them, even while apart.”
Want more amorous advice from Austin? Then make sure to check out JUST-EAT.ca’s 13 Spicy Nights program, where a panel of experts weighs in on all your love related woes, daily from 6-10pm right up until Valetine’s day.