The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

When does compromising become compromising?

Jessica M

This week started the national Banned Books Week (a librarian’s favorite holiday) for 2013. In lieu of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship – both in the broad all-encompassing sense of the word and also how it relates to my personal life. We’re expected to make compromises in life, which include the occasional self-censorship. I very well wouldn’t talk to my boyfriend’s mother the same way I talk to my boyfriend. I have a strict separation of clothes in my closet between my “librarian” clothes and everything else. Sure I’m censoring myself, but it’s expected, common practice, and acceptable. I don’t feel any less like myself in the end.

But when does compromising become compromising?

My last post touched on this idea.  Should we accept a job that we’re beyond qualified for, just because it’s in our field?  The response was generally, yes.  But now I’m concerned about something else.  Working on a college campus, I get to talk with a lot of girls in the 18-24 range.  They’re not much younger than we are physically, but attending college can drastically change a person. I enjoy listening in on their conversations (and reminiscing about the silliness that went on when I was in college) with my “new adult” perspective.

ryanreynolds

If you haven’t been able to guess yet, this is a post about boys.

In our fast-track technology driven society we as a society are advancing by leaps and bounds.  I can store and read 328 books on this tiny device?  We can explore the streets of ParisHong Kong, and even Hogwarts from the comfort of our homes.  We can meet people and form relationships without ever actually having to see them in person.

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

You mean people used to eat meals without their cell phones on and resting on the dinner table?

I LOVE technology – but this last one concerns me. I support online dating, 100%. But this is just a stepping stone meant to lead to something tangible. So many of us are forming (and ending, yes I have been broken up with over Facebook) relationships through Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. Where’s the human contact? We’re compromising just for the ease of it. We are accepting Facebook pokes over flowers, e-mails instead of love poems, and text message emoticons instead of public hand holding- all the while planning the most romantic and perfect wedding in the history of time on our Pinterest boards. Then when the time comes to actually spend time with another person, we’re glued to our phones, laptops, and tablets.

Buffy Summers wouldn't have put up with that crap.

Buffy Summers wouldn’t have put up with that crap.

Just because we love being modern and independent, doesn’t mean we need to give up on romance. It’s an old saying but is chivalry finally, truly, dead? We ladies have come so far, and become so jaded, that even if a date does everything right, romance at 110%, we automatically question if he’s being genuine.

So this is where we’re at.  Just when does compromising become compromising?  Is it okay to accept the text message over the phone call, but still expect to be courted?  It’s an issue of self-respect.  You don’t have to live in a Nicholas Sparks novel, but a little romance is nice.

rascalsI’ll tell you lovely twenty something readers the same thing I told the girls – if you’re fine with an electronic courtship then get it girl, full speed ahead.  But if you’re old school like me, and still want to see the effort, don’t setting for anything less.  Most guys don’t change as they get older, but you do.  Now get your fabulous butt out there and demand the world, you deserve it :)