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There I was, sixteen years old, flirting shamelessly with the guy behind the till in the local corner shop (embarrassing I know!). However, this being the age of Facebook, texting and instant messaging, the vast majority of the flirting was online; we never met for more than five minutes, and unsurprisingly, nothing happened. Nowadays, this isn’t a rare occurrence; With technology becoming an increasingly large part of our social, academic and work lives, it should come as no shock that technology is also a part of our love lives, but has text-speak replaced old fashioned flirting entirely?
Dating websites are becoming more and more common. In 2002, Wired magazine estimated that one in five singles searched for a partner online and it is predicted that “twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love won’t look for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalogue to instead wander the stacks because the right books are found only by accident.” And with all those stories you hear of couples falling in love online, it seems that online dating is a good alternative.
On the flip side, a UK divorce website analysed five thousand petitions from 2011 and a third of them cited Facebook as reasons for divorce. The three most common Facebook-related reasons were: inappropriate messages sent to members of the opposite sex, separated spouses posting about each other; Facebook friends reporting spouse’s behaviour. So maybe all this online flirting isn’t such a good thing after all.
Perhaps texting is replacing old-school flirting instead, after all, texts seem more personal than Facebook messages. I asked some friends (ironically over Facebook) their views to get an insight into what guys think. When asked whether they thought texting and text talk was replacing traditional flirting Elliot said “I don’t think so, you can’t exactly get from not knowing someone to dating them purely through texting” and Josh agreed: “If you share physical proximity with someone you can’t solely flirt through text talk.” So maybe we should all forget technology and go back to flirting the old fashioned way.
This isn’t always possible though. If you’re in a relationship at uni, whether it’s a long distance thing or they live in the block next door, chances are that at some point, you’re going to be spending a long time apart, in term time or in holidays. This means you won’t be able to flirt face to face, so maybe we do need some technology, just to stop us forgetting who they are!
It seems that there’s still a place for traditional flirting, even in today’s technology-centric world, but like in most aspects of life, we need a balance; someone who flirts with you solely through texts or social networking is unlikely to be genuinely interested in you, and any relationship won’t survive long periods of time apart without a text or two, but someone who flirts face-to-face, then sends you sweet little texts from time to time is definitely someone worth being with!