Valentines Day in a Digital World

Do What You LoveOnce each year on the 14th of February, the world comes together to celebrate love, or rather, companies come together to cash in on the world celebrating love. A somewhat cynical view, I know. Isn’t it ironic, though, that as companies continue to make a bigger deal about this special day, the percentage of the population which is currently single is larger than ever before. Loneliness is at an all time high, yet so is the population. You’d think that the more people, the less loneliness. Not quite.

So what’s the deal? Why are so many people single, and why do so many struggle to find their special someone?

In a word – connection.

We are not connected enough to other human beings. With the magical introduction of television, computers, Internet, phones, tablet computers, gaming, and internet access built into almost every device, we’ve forgotten how to interact with each other. People used to speak to each other, now everyone just pulls out their phones instead.

Have you ever seen a group of people together “socialising”, all on their phones? It’s hilarious, and unsettling at the same time.

Electronically, we are more connected to each other than ever before, it’s not real connection though, it’s no substitute for real life human interaction and socialisation. For a scarily large amount of the population, it’s easier to stay at home, watch TV, surf the web, or choose from a plethora of entertainment options which distract from the feeling of longing for connection with other human beings. There are a number of other factors which together contribute to this phenomenon, but the two which seem to stand out the most are our digital lives combined with fast-paced days or long hours.

What about online dating? It does work – if you actually go on dates with people you meet there. Most people I talk to about online dating tend to just chat to people, they hide behind the veil that never lets people see who they really are, and the idea of actually meeting one of these online singles freaks them out so much that they never go on dates with people they meet there. Well that’s kind of a waste of time isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong; having spent over a decade in the IT industry, I am a huge advocate for technology for the benefit of our lives – keyword – BENEFIT.

If online dating isn’t working for you, then it’s time to pull the plug. Quit wasting hours on dating websites if you’re not actually going to meet up with anyone. I am always fascinated when I propose this notion, and receive a dismayed question – “well what do I do then?”

Doing what you love is a really good start. Go out into the world and start doing the things that you love to do – with other people. There are so many groups, clubs, meet ups, events, trainings and things to do. The options are never ending. If you don’t know what you would love to do, go and give a few different things a shot if they sound interesting. Why? Because when you’re doing what you love, you’re around people who presumably love to do that too and are more likely have similar values and views to you. You’ll also make more friends and extend your social network that creates more opportunity for your dream partner to enter your life.

This brings us to the fast-paced lifestyle. If you’re working long enough hours that you get to use it as excuse not to go on dates or have someone else in your life, then maybe you want to look at reducing your hours, getting a new job, or starting your own business. It really comes back to the question; what would you rather – work your booty off and continue being single, or work less and have a great relationship? You get to choose – you do.

Technology is here to compliment our lives, not run them. Turn off the TV, gaming console, tablet, put your phone on silent and keep it in your pocket when you are socialising with others. Be present with others, get to know them, let them get to know you. Unplug, just for a bit, and connect with others for real, for you.

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