“JDaters Anonymous Live” Yields Strange Results
It’s been a while since I posted here, I know. I’ve been running around presenting at conferences like a crazy person, or at least the type of crazy person who’s asked to speak at conferences. And a quarter of those presentations centered on our topic at hand: dating and relationships.
This past weekend, I spoke to a crowd of 200 people – most of them students in their early 20s – about the challenges of dating in the age of technology. The session was titled – somewhat obscurely – “JDaters Anonymous Live,” which led people to make their own assumptions about what the session would address. Some thought it was going to be speed dating, or me talking about my dating horror stories, or an opportunity for the participants to share their horror stories. And as a result, although I tried to keep the conversation to the topic at hand – technology, and how it complicates our communication process even as it keeps communication more frequent and varied – people just wanted to vent.
They were angry. Angry about being rejected. Angry about being deceived. Angry about not being called back, or being passed over in favor of a friend. But one of the comments made by a twentysomething male really gave me pause. He stated that he knows, definitively and always, whether it’s going to work (he meant a date) within the first five minutes of meeting someone. Shocked, I polled the room, and most of them agreed, not just about a date/potential romance, but about a potential friendship. When I suggested that perhaps it was because the people in the room were under 25, I almost had a mutiny on my hands. The room was fairly united. Five minutes. And they’d know.
Maybe I err on the side of believing that first impressions, while often fairly accurate, do also contain a margin of error – some of the people I met and instantly liked I’ve since fallen out of like with, and others, who were slow starters for one reason or another have emerged as some of my nearest and dearest. While I’m talking about friendships mostly, I find the same is true for me in dating…I think most people become more interesting as you spend time with them, and it’s not fair to judge someone from five minutes of interaction.
Here’s the part where all y’all weigh in and tell me what you think…