We Have Great Chemistry…Over Text

Photo Credit: Pexels, Inc.

Freelance journalist and Squad user Jess Katz wrote about her experiences with dating apps in The Huffington Post. Read her original article here.

When I was 17, I was head over heels for my best guy friend. We spoke for hours every day about our lives and I was sure that he would be my first love. The only problems with our friendship was that he had a girlfriend and we mostly only communicated via text and AIM (remember AIM?!?)

At night, we’d confess our teenage secrets over the phone, and during the day, exchange silent smiles in the hallway. The awkwardness of being in-person was impossible to deal with, since I only really knew him via the words he would type to me after school. Needless to say, this boy did not become my first love, but he did teach me to never have a relationship that only exists on technology, and of course, I also learned not to fall for someone with a girlfriend!

These sound like obvious lessons, but with dating apps and social media, it can be easy to fall into a relationship that mostly exists online.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to defend friendships that exist purely on social media; I have friends from all over the world, where the primary way we communicate is on Facebook or Twitter. With some of them, we’ve never even met in person, yet I feel as though I truly know them. However, in my experience, online friendships function much differently than flirtatious relationships comprised entirely of texts and Gchats.

In our culture, it’s easy to get connected to someone who you find interesting, sometimes in as little as a single click or swipe. They, or you, send the first “hello” and then you have to quickly decide: is the chemistry there to keep this conversation going? Are they witty and easy to talk to, or do you feel like you’re pulling teeth to get a 5 word reply? These conversations are supposed to help you determine if you want to meet in-person, but sometimes we place too much emphasis on those first few exchanges.

It’s true — many of us remain ourselves and type the same way we speak out loud, but determining if a real connection exists, simply by trading a few texts with a stranger, puts us in a dangerous spot in the world of online dating. It’s hard to feed off of someone else’s energy when they aren’t in front of you, and we all have those awkward moments where things get lost in translation or misunderstood.

This isn’t to say you should meet everyone you “match” with — in fact, I’m as guilty as anyone; I never meet my matches from dating apps. But this is to say that if you’re communicating with someone for months (or even weeks), exclusively through text, you might not be setting yourself up for a real in-person connection.

If you only speak with someone via text, when you actually meet them, things might be awkward and disappointing. If too many words have been exchanged, that dynamic you share with them using keys on a keyboard might not be there in-person. This is why you should meet your matches sooner rather than later.

Using a dating app like Squad, which encourages people to go out with their groups of friends (and eliminate the awkwardness that exists in online dating), can help create authentic, easy connections when meeting someone for the first time. Try to coordinate a meetup with someone who you think you might have chemistry with as soon as you can, to eliminate any awkwardness.

Technology is an amazing way for us all to connect with one another throughout the day and across the world, but don’t let it get in the way of human connection. Texting and dating apps are awesome, but nothing will ever beat deep eye contact, kisses on the forehead, and feeling emotionally and physically connected to someone.