The Download on Dating in the New Millennium

In our last dual blog article, Natriya @20 and Kim @51 found common ground discussing the pros and cons of cell phones while traveling.

What about cell phones and dating? Helpful? Hurtful? Or both?

Has modern technology helped or hurt our chances for finding love?

Kim @51

My husband and I met in 1985 when our push button Trimline or Princess phones were plugged into the wall and our voice mail was recorded on cassette tapes. We used two fingers to press down on our recorders to make each other mixed-tapes and when dating long distance, one summer, our communication was limited to very expensive and infrequent toll calls sometimes made on pay phones!

 

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

 

Natriya @20

When I first meet someone that I connect with, I will probably look them up online- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — you name it. Internet stalking is real, my friends, and honestly, I’m not even ashamed. We all do it and we never really want to talk about it.

The conversation-starter that would never happen:

“By the way, I totally saw that you celebrated your dog’s birthday a couple of weeks ago in Santa Monica on your Instagram. Super cute post. I definitely showed my friends when they asked me what you looked like.”

You just can’t say that when you’re beginning to get to know someone.

And we have to be so careful to never accidentally press that heart button when we’re diving deep into their Instagram history. (It’s a fatal move… for your pride.)

Kim @51

Wow! Come to think of it…how did we vet or stalk a potential romantic partner back in the day? We asked around. This meant calling your cousin’s college roommate for some “dirt” on the blind date you were about to meet at the local bar. Yes, we had to go to real physical spaces to pick up someone (or in today’s language, hook-up). For singles over 50 who are used to meeting in person, the world of online dating can be overwhelming. In fact, I was reading a really interesting blog recently on Huff Post written by Dianne Gratton who created Dating Over Dinner events for Boston singles age 45+. In her blog, she wrote about why one of her clients prefers her dinner events over online dating.

“He could be introduced to single women in person, shake their hand and instantly get a sense of physical chemistry…The in-real-life approach to meeting people still has very clear advantages, it just isn’t the current popular method.” 

How common is it to meet someone face to face today (and I don’t mean FaceTime)?

Natriya @20

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to hear that a couple met online or through social media. With that, flirting or just “talking” to someone for a few weeks before really engaging on one-on-one or face-to-face interaction is also a part of the grey area in between friends and dating. I think that our generation often lingers in this grey area pretty long before becoming really serious in a relationship. In this day and age, you can get away with a lot, and I feel like it’s definitely more casual.

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Talking through a screen is a lot different than talking in real life. You lose that genuine, raw emotion that you experience when seeing someone’s face light up, or seeing how they truly react to something you say. In today’s world, texts get thrown out of context and social media can cause so many misunderstandings and drama.

Kim @51

There was no shortage of drama in the 80s and 90s! I remember times when my shoulder pads got all up in a bunch because my friend and I spotted the same guy at the Troubadour and she approached him before I did! I guess today that would be the same as someone texting a guy you like before you get a chance to text him.

Natriya @20

There’s a lot of weird boundaries that you just wouldn’t–or rather, shouldn’t–touch when it comes to unspoken rules. Everything is more accessible and visual now. You can find out someone’s followers, who they’re following, and what they’re doing on social media in general. This can lead to a lot of awkward situations and I’ve definitely had my fill of them. When a couple of friends of mine just started dating, I saw a yellow heart next to my guy friend’s name on Snapchat. Once I saw the yellow heart (which shows that two users are “best friends” on the app– and have been consistently communicating with each other) it made me feel incredibly awkward. This small blip on my social media radar turned into a nerve-wracking (and anticlimactic) conversation. I explained to my girl friend that I was feeling guilty for some reason. It really wasn’t anything that I should have worried about. Because I felt like I violated their digital “relationship” while keeping up with my friendship, it made me worry that I did something wrong. Of course, it wasn’t a big deal and she actually laughed at me for worrying so much — but, the fact that it did have that sort of effect is a scary thing.

Kim @51

In romance or travel, it is true that cell phones can connect us and at the same time make us feel disconnected.

Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

It always come back to balance. Having FaceTime in the 80s and 90s would have helped me a lot with my long distance romance. In 2017, sitting across from my husband on date night while he sends that “last, really important” email is a bit disheartening and let’s face it – mostly annoying! There is no question that we have a strong reliance on technology – the key is mindfulness and finding the right moments to disconnect from our devices.

At lilspace we encourage people to unplug and live in the here and now. Natriya and I are talking face to face about these topics. Let’s all continue the conversation which, by the way, keeps us connected!

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Finding Myself Without Google Maps

Photo by Kendra Kamp on Unsplash

Part of what I love about starting a business is bringing on new team members. Back in February, lilspace was lucky to hire an awesome intern from Loyola Marymount University.

At the young age of 19, Natriya Chun has quickly risen to stardom at lilspace with her creative ideas and hard-working attitude.

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Natriya and I have had some inspiring conversations around the lilspace mission of enhancing relationships with the people we love and with ourselves. We are two women from two different generations both struggling to have a more mindful relationship with our smart phones.  Below is something that Natriya wrote in response to my blog post about summer travel with technology.

We hope you will join the conversation and share!

We hope we will hear from you too @getlilspace

–Kim, Founder of lilspace

When I read Kim’s article about traveling in the here and now, I couldn’t get this image out of my head…Here’s the picture: a 19-year-old girl, hiking back down Mt. Arashiyama, phone out, and clearly feeling lost.

Last summer, I backpacked around Japan by myself. On one of my trips, I found an interesting hike visitors can take to see the macaque monkeys in the Arashiyama prefect of Kyoto, Japan. I looked up the Iwatayama Monkey Park, set my directions in Google Maps, and off I went.

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Photo by Tim Easley on Unsplash

During the hike after seeing the monkeys on top of the mountain — spur of the moment — I felt the impulse to check on social media (like many do on peaceful hikes in a foreign country to appreciate nature).  But when I tried pulling up Instagram… nothing was loading! Confused, I stopped in my tracks and kept trying to load other apps.

None of my apps were loading. My Internet wasn’t loading. I actually had used up all of the 4 GB that I loaded onto a SIM card. Cautiously calm, I looked to check Google maps on my directions back to my hostel — and of course, it wasn’t loading.

I didn’t have the directions to go back to my hostel. I hadn‘t thought of downloading the area on Google maps beforehand, my phone was on low battery, and as someone who was horrible with directions, let’s just say I felt stressed.

In that moment I realized how truly reliant I was on technology to get me through life.

I am also more than aware that this is such a millennial “thing”.

I had to use the traditional, outdated, slow version of Google maps: an actual map I grabbed at a liquor store nearby. I’ve never looked and truly used a paper map before, and if I hadn’t run out of data, I would never have had the chance to find myself learning something new. It took some asking around, landmark spotting, triple-checking with other tourists that passed by in order to confirm that I was going in the right direction — but miraculously, I was able to safely get back to the hostel.

In this modern day and age, people carry so much in the palm of their hand. And with that, comes the constant struggle of being tied down by the need to stay connected.

By using a paper map on the way back down the mountain, I was able to appreciate Kyoto so much more. I was able to take in my surroundings, stop by little vista points, and visit shops that I wouldn’t have noticed if I was too wrapped up in looking down at my phone. The trip back became much more meaningful in a way that I can’t describe.

This newfound mindfulness so early in my trip helped me appreciate the rest of my solo backpacking adventure in Japan. I would people-watch in airports instead of finding an electrical outlet and I would try to have meaningful conversations with other friendly strangers.

Lessons learned:

  1. When I travel in the future, I will not take my eyes off the beauty around me and,
  2. I will never take Google maps for granted again!!

 

Check Your Tech: Summer Travel in the Here and Now

Traveling in 2017 is increasingly more and more convenient because of the powerful mobile devices in our hands. We can instantaneously book our flights and hotel rooms.

There are more ways to connect than ever -yet many of us know the hollow ache of loneliness.

Filling up our time with screens doesn’t only create loneliness. Not allowing ourselves to be bored reduces our memory capacity and more importantly our creativity. That can’t be good for the future.

In her most recent podcast episodeManoush Zomorodi, of WNYC’s “Note To Self Radio”, reminds us that when we let ourselves get bored, magic things start to happen.

This past week I found myself in a few different airports and trust me, there was NO magic. Not a lot has changed about how people spend their time waiting out a layover. People still pace up and down the fluorescent lit hallways. Some don’t mind sitting on the carpet even though we know a lot about how bacteria lives in synthetic weaves (a 2001 study found carpet to be 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat! That’s for another blog).

There is one thing about travel that HAS dramatically changed over the past 3–5 years…everyone’s heads are facing down! I share some tips about how you can keep your head up, so read on.HEADS DOWN IN D.C.

Recently, I had a 3 hour layover in Reagan International Airport and found that only 1 out of 8 people looked up when I passed by them. It felt like I was walking among “tech consumed” zombies.

Airports aren’t helping either. One of my layovers was at LaGuardia Airport where there are tablets for travelers’ personal use on every table top. I understand the appeal of using a personal tablet to order my food and check the CNN headlines when I am traveling ALONE, but what about when I am traveling with friends and family?A GREAT SPOT TO AVOID EYE CONTACT

I am constantly inspired by the writings of Tristan HarrisAdam AlterManoush Zomorodi and Dr Larry Rosen whose wisdom and research guide me in mindfully interacting with my smartphone.

Here are my tips on keeping your head up and being in the moment while traveling on vacation (and in everyday life):

  1. CHANGE YOUR VIEW! I reconfigured the first screen on my smartphone to feature only those apps that add value to my life or only require a quick “in and out”. Thoughtfully searching for the app I want to use gives me a moment of reflection. The rest of my apps live on the second screen in folders.MY VALUE-ADDED HOME SCREEN

2. EAT IN PEACE! I put my phone on “airplane mode” whenever I sit down for a meal with another person and even when I am eating alone. According to an article in the Daily Mail UK, “Not paying attention to our food makes us more prone to snacking later”. You can choose your own time of day to disconnect. It may not be meal time for you. To deal with my anxiety that my loved ones are trying to reach me, I preemptively send a text to certain people.

3. TAKE CONTROL! I use the “control center” to access my camera and clock instead of unlocking my phone. This way I can set my alarm or take a photo without going down the rabbit hole of a mindless tech loop. I sometimes literally hear my phone whisper, “Check your FB page”. CONTROL CENTER PREVENTS TIME SUCKS

4. CHOOSE HEALTHY INFLUENCERS! I followed Manoush’s “Bored and Brilliant bootcamp” featured in the podcast episode I mentioned above. It is a three day challenge that escorted me safely out of my smart phone comfort zone and kick started me into more mindfully interacting with my mobile device. I highly recommend that you take the 16 min to listen. I also preordered Manoush Zomorodi’s book, Bored and Brilliant” which comes out September 5th!!

Note: I keep the focus on changing my own behavior because I can’t change anyone else’s. This is my husband in the airport. Apparently he earned a lot of word puzzle badges on our trip!!

 

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