Dating in the modern age has its unique set of challenges. When the majority of your communication takes place through a smart phone, a computer or a tablet, instead of face to face, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of over analysis, worry and insanity. Every word, every use of punctuation, even every emoticon can be rife with meaning – unless it’s actually not.
Everyone has that friend – the one who needs a committee to dissect every text, email, message or tweet that comes his or her way from a love interest. That same person almost always needs a team of copywriters, editors and language experts to compose each and every response to the aforementioned attempts at communication. If you are lucky enough not to have that friend, don’t be fooled – you probably ARE that friend.
Then there’s the social media stalker camp. You know who I’m talking about: the girls/guys that have a PHD in SMI – Social Media Investigations. The ones that scour Instagram accounts for evidence of past/present significant others. The ones that comb through Facebook walls for flirtatious posts or overly attractive friends that may be a threat or competition. The ones who wonder why, after a hot date turned adult sleepover, did he/she do/post/say this on Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare/whateverthefuck.
And then there are just those general over analysers, those to whom the medium is of no import, and every action and interaction is a breeding ground for suspicion, anxiety and fear. The time between text messages will be checked over for precendence. His choice of date and time for a social invitation is an accurate indicator for how much or how little he respects you. His choice of outfit on a particular occasion is another indication of how much or how little he cares about you. Suit and tie? What, he didn’t take the time to shower and change after work? Or worse, did he overdress for a casual drinks and apps date?
In the vast wonderland of the imagination of a lovestruck human, overanalysis is the weed that strangles the life out of the blossoms of romance, hope, and most of all, enjoyment. How can you enjoy what passes for courtship these day if you need a doctorate in psychology to try to figure out what the object of your affection is thinking and showing with every word or action? You can’t. And with overanalsis comes self loathing and self blaming. I did this wrong, I said the wrong thing, I slept with him too soon – STOP. Just stop all of it. Until the psych in your degree changes from psychology to psychic, you will never know what a person is thinking until he or she TELLS you, and even then you have to trust that he or she is telling you the truth. So stop blaming yourself and each other for what you are or not, or should or shouldn’t, be doing or have done in dating. Seriously, I am so sick of people telling each other the wrong or right things they are doing when it come to romance- support each other, don’t make each other feel shittier when you’re all already confused and potentially upset. Stop overthinking every little bit of communication and interaction that passes. It’s not fun, it’s a waste of time, and as mentioned, generally just makes you and everyone else feel shitty.
I know it’s hard to turn your brain off. I know it’s even harder to turn your feelings off. All I’m asking you hopeless and hopeful romantics out there to do is to take it easy on yourselves. Wind your rushing thoughts down to the best of your abilities, and try to actually enjoy the company of those you choose to spend your valuable time with, and be mindful of who you do share that valuable time with. Generally, a person will show you their worth, and what you’re worth to him or her, fairly early on – it’s just up to you to read what’s in front of you, rather than what you think may be between the lines. So stop over thinking and start living, and maybe, you’ll just find some loving out of all of that too.