The cold iPhone lying peacefully on the table gives a silent indication that someone somewhere in the world wants to reach out of the small bubble that defines the boundaries of their personal space to communicate with my friend. A subtle white light emanates from the small device and, like an anxious high school student staring at the classroom clock at the end of a class period, the energy that built up her anticipated waiting allows her to shoot forward and grab her phone. It’s a message from someone that she had been texting for a little while, but a mix of emotions has tricked her mind into thinking that she has known the person on the other end forever and that they have been texting each other their entire lives. However, it wasn’t always the case.
It took swipes, both left and right, on apps that organized and kept track of living people. Chance encounters out in the “real world” had grown scarce as technology brought those people directly to her. It was a convenient way to live her incredibly busy life and have time to meet new people, but it was also an inconvenient way to be bombarded with unsolicited messages from people she was actively trying to avoid.
Dating today is awkward. The modern age has taken an old game and turned it into a new experience. The development of technology has given her the ability to know who you are, what you do, your age, height, and favorite hobby before she even meets you, and it all has become perfectly normal in the eyes of society. It’s very rare to hear people legitimately meeting and speaking to people for the first time out in public. Even the last few engagement announcements I heard recently came from couples who were once just strangers online. However, I do not think this is a bad thing.
I don’t think that there would have been any way to meet the person my friend happens to be texting now in her everyday life. They have no mutual friends, their hangout spots are in different locations, and she doesn’t believe they were ever in the same place at the same time. However, a few swipes on a device has pushed two strangers together, and now the ball is in their court to see how far they go.