Flirt Forgone

in Self Improvementlast year

A couple times this week, the affects of technology on us as a society has come up, which is something that I am always interested in. In a session today, we were talking about communication in general and someone mentioned how interesting it was in the past, when they would build a mental image based on hearing a voice over the phone, and then be surprised by how different reality was.

Even though most of us barely use our phones as phones these days, I believe that this same concept happens when we interact through them, as we are still passing information between each other. The difference though, unlike the voice which is ours, the mental image being created is based on the information we provide, and while we are great consumers, we tend to rely on our ability to share this content to be our voice.


I think this is kind of like "personality via proxy" where a persona is built upon the shared content that represents the person sharing, even if that is not an accurate depiction of the person. At least anecdotally from my single friends, this seems to be the case, as the person they swipe on and talk to online, often is quite different in person, where the persona they have generated for themselves doesn't hold up under the scrutiny of reality.

There are several clustered reasons for this I think, with one being that people are able to "signal" a version of themselves that might be more an ideal they would like to have, or even a conscious decision to deceive. However, when face to face at a restaurant, someone with a modicum of human interaction experience is going to see all of the other clustered signs that a person is being dishonest or at least, don't entirely believe what they are saying.

However, in regards to the creative side of interpersonal content development, what I think is that people are losing the ability to small talk, joke, be charming, consider others and develop bonds - because we are relying on the content of others. Back in the day practicing (failing) and learning how to "flirt" was a required skill, otherwise a person would be lonely. However, these days it doesn't matter who you are, you can Google a personality and humor.

I used the example of where (these were older men in this group today) of going to a bar when they were eighteen and having to firstly build the courage and then, learn how to approach someone, engage them, attract them, hold their attention and through this process, each person evaluates how it is going and, if it is going to go further. This gives ample time for the "getting to know" each other and test to see if there is some compatibility on both sides.

However, these days, it is like me sending Brad Pitt over to the pretty girl at the bar, have him flirt, pique her interest, attract her, and then once she is willing to commit, he points to me and says - "now that is who you are actually going home with". Do you think she will still be as willing?

But, this isn't just about dating incompatibility, it is with all kinds of content, where with a Google search, anyone can feign expertise of almost any kind, even if they have next to zero practical experience and in their reality, will not come close to living that kind of life. However, because they are able to build a certain persona based on the content they share to represent them, they can actually influence others - much like those Instagram accounts of "highfliers" having their picture taken leaning on other people's luxury cars.

What I personally have found is that the most engaging content is created comes from real situations, not derivatives of already created content. However, as we rely more on the words of others to build our persona upon, we become less creative and also, less responsive to those around us, breaking down our ability to expose ourselves to quality content opportunity and pushing us further behind screens instead, as we start to fear interaction in real life. We might say that other people have changed, but we ourselves have changed too, and while it might not be the noticed reason, I feel that more and more, people I interact with online are less connected to what they share, yet position themselves as experienced.

I believe there is a homogenization of content and we are becoming less creative due to it, but we are improving our ways to source and share the content from the shrinking pool of creators. Not only this, because we are all eating from the same source, the type of content can be narrower and still satisfy the majority of people, meaning there isn't as much "low-level demand" on content creators.

What I mean by this is that in the past when we interacted with each other directly, we had to entertain each other, by both being interesting in some way ourselves, as well as taking an interest in other people. Now that everything is shared and just thrown into a void to an unknown audience, there is less need to develop ourselves, as well as no need to take an interest in individuals, as the content delivery mechanism treats them all as a mass, a demographic. Treating individuals as a generic group, is not going to end match well most of the time.

Flirting itself seems to be a skill near extinction, where people have turned relationships into a narrow transaction based economy that focuses primarily on the end goal and uses automation to handle all of the previously human process. However, I also think that because this process has been outsourced to machines and algorithms that can be gamed in many ways (intentionally and unintentionally), the end result is matching people who aren't actually compatible in reality, even though the information they have exchanged along the path matches each other.

However, I do see some light coming in this human interaction content tunnel, as people are going to be increasingly incentivized and rewarded for building skills that attract other people, not just the algorithms. Not only this, the rewards are going to get more localized through broad distribution of communities in many ways, meaning that there will be more interaction between people and possibly, a renaissance period of relationship building could return.

Often when we look at technological advancement we look at the technology itself and how it has progressed, but not as closely at how it has affected as as individuals or society. We bought into the concept of phones "connecting people" even though it is quite obvious that we have never been this disconnected from each other at any point in history. Yes, we have a lot more information at our fingertips and yes we can potentially contact anyone globally, but what has increasingly happened is that we have become cells in society, trapped behind a screen membrane.

People see us through the lens we provide them, even if it is not who we are at all and then we ask ourselves, why we are depressed, disillusioned and disconnected by the world in which we live. Yet, we sit alone, providing an illusion of ourselves, not caring about the people who may see it.

But, while the pretty person at the bar gives us feedback with a no - when we are self-evaluating, we can say, it is not me, it's them.

We are right.

It is not us.

[ Gen1: Hive ]


I think I am getting the gist of your rant (haha.. see a joke! lol) Anyhow, I get what your saying and think that this is really well done. After reading it I see how this really is quite multidimensional and can be applied to various scenarios. I meet new and interesting people all of the time, but I as well come from an old school approach to this idea of how things (relationship building) work today. A few conversations and I have a pretty good gut feeling of what someone is about. Virtual dialog throws a wrench in my ability to read people. BUT! Give it enough time and their truth always comes to the light of day.

I never liked the ide of hiding behind a screen or false personality. I live my life, as well as my online life, as clear as possible. This way I don't have to remember what lie I told and to whom I told it. Too much worry and work in that kind of living. I hate sitting alone at the bar.. Real life isn't all that bad. When we all get into real life conversation, about real life Sh*t.. Then you have my attention. Then I am tuned in and ready for this new budding friendship! I definitely look for that on Hive.

Sorry if I missed the point :-/

Virtual dialog throws a wrench in my ability to read people. BUT! Give it enough time and their truth always comes to the light of day

This is exactly the case. On Hive for example, the people who are not "themselves" slipup eventually. But on the internet in general, people don't need to be as consistent, so can jump from one topic to another without worrying about the conflict,, since people won't know them.

I live my life, as well as my online life, as clear as possible.

I value this. There is a difference between creating a persona for entertainment (nonameslefttouse or meesterboom) and lying about who you are and what you can do.

You are on point :)

(Wiping sweat from brow) Glad I was on track with this one. 😆😁


As we stare at our screens (full disclosure: I have never owned a smartphone) more and more there are less and less opportunities to have genuine interactions so it goes without saying there would be less "flirting." In my past, bars were never places (at least for me) of meeting a new guy. I lived in a college town for 19 years, so all the "townies" knew each other (and I became one of them for a time) and so when I did go to a bar in the summer, I could find out what kind of person talked to me the night before. (Luckily, I did not spend a lot of time in bars.)

To attract a genuine person, one must first become genuine themselves. Or maybe you just become easier at weeding out the liars because it becomes more obvious over time.

In high school, we could always pick out the "nerds" because they couldn't interact well with others. They were smart but they couldn't socialize well. Nowadays, it's not like instant access to information has made everyone smart or nerds, but it's the normalization of anti-social behaviors that I think is the downfall of popular culture. We are being entertained to death.

Of course, I think this all starts at the home. I could spend 5 minutes with a child and have a pretty good idea of their home life. Can that be "fixed" later in adulthood? Children do not need a smartphone, they need two parents interacting and loving them. Do children need to watch programming on t.v. or their screen of choice? No, they don't need to watch "pop culture" of which I believe is harmful in many ways. Children need to outside running, playing, and learning how to socialize with all ages within their communities. They need to see what healthy people do: What hobbies, activities, books, and friends that they love.

So it starts with us, really. Flirting was fun when I was young. But we really need to hunker down and deal with the mess that, I believe, too much screen time has given us. We all have a finite amount of time on this beautiful planet. My goal over the decades has been to make where I live better than how I found it. Be it big or small goals, I do feel like I achieve that goal. I do wish that more would look around and see what needs to be done and then do it. Then we could have genuine interactions while helping our community and the people in it. It might not always lead to flirting, but hopefully its a start towards more genuine interactions.

(full disclosure: I have never owned a smartphone)

There can't be many of you left!

In my past, bars were never places (at least for me) of meeting a new guy.

Maybe not to go home with - but for many, this is the place of first contact, a change of number. It could be a party with friends, on the bus, at the gym, walking around the park - "first contact" still happened without a swipe based on a profile picture and a set of interview questions.

We are being entertained to death.

Yes. THis is the thing where people feel that they are "choosing" a lifestyle where they are alone, but is it actually their choice, or their conditioning?

Flirting was fun when I was young.

I think there is more to it than fun, as it is practicing a set of skills that build the ability to connect with people and importantly in my opinion, understand when someoneis genuine or not. There are so many abilities clustered into this kind of interaction that help us through life. It is not just about "picking up", it is about building valuable relationships and knowing, when it may be harmful. "kids today" seem very, very bad at reading people and then we wonder how they get into such bad situations.

I suppose it is all how you define "flirting." To me there is an objective. One does not flirt with friends, if they are being a true friend. To me, flirting was like an invitation: I like you. Let's spend more time together and see how that goes. I can have a laugh and enjoy an evening out without it considered flirting. But that is my understanding of the word. :-)

And I won't be getting a smart phone, if I can help it. I am at the age where it might be okay to get a "granny" flip phone that just calls and texts. That's all I need, and if I didn't live in the country I wouldn't even bother.

But the skills learned in that context aren't flirt dependent, they are all relationship applicable. It is just a testing and practice ground with additional incentive.

I wouldn't get a smartphone if I could avoid it either :)

Phones are like computers now except that they cost much more than a computer does. As for flirting, I wouldn't even begin to know how to do that anymore. I'm also curious if you still look at comments that are like 8 hours old so this is kind of a test case for that too. On the other site I was always taught that you should only comment within the first couple of hours, otherwise you won't get seen, but I'm not sure if that applies on this site or not or if it applies to everyone.

When it comes to commenting, I try to get to the ones I receive as I can - but I do miss some. However, I will answer after days as well. I just have to find the time to go through them. :)

It is difficult for people to relate real experiences they have had in the past to people that were not there. There may be some understanding but you don't see the joy, or the failure on an individuals face, you miss the excitement of the body language. You can get a sense of it through written words but the words only convey so much.

No matter how I describe the utter joy and wonderment of slicing through the water on a salomon ski, behind a speed boat going gods knows how fast, and then cutting to the right hitting the wake and blasting my self airborne. I will never be able to with words or voice tone only ever be able to relate the true feeling of excitement, like I would with a friend watching from the shore or back of the boat.

A lot of shared memories are that way, some people can get a glimmer of the reality if they have ever water skied before on one ski. Yet a person who has never skied before will have a hard time glimpsing the joy, or understanding the excitement.

It is almost like social media and technology are trying to intentionally homogenize people and peoples experiences.

It is almost like social media and technology are trying to intentionally homogenize people and peoples experiences.

This is how I see it, as then they can cater for everyone without having to develop or have a wide variety of content. Most people will be defined through a few content buckets only.

I think how to flirt is not a required skill in today's world where most things are measured materially. Before flirting, you should have a car, enough money and a house. Otherwise, it could end up with disappointment.

Before flirting, you should have a car, enough money and a house.

I am not sure how old you are, but I don't think this is the case - the disappointment comes when even with all of the material things - the person is disappointing as a partner. If a person isn't attractive as a partner without all material possessions, they aren't going to be attractive with.

It is not like that anymore, at least what I have observed in the last 10 years.

I know a lot of lonely people in their 20s and early 30s. They meet people, but nothing works. They blame others.

I think that people have got used to live alone in time, particularly for two years. One can't stand other. Through technology, our smart phones have seperated us from each other.

I may mean negative, but this is what I have seen.

The "got used" isn't contentment, it seems more resignation. However, when people talk, they are still looking for connection and intimacy - not just sex.

Perhaps, they looking for the connection and the intimacy in the good old days.

Do you mean you think younger people have evolved and no longer need intimacy?

Food for thought and a case for humanity. A need to check if you are an extension of the algarithims you fancy and pull a crowd or a solid individual that has put in due dilligence to serve as a human being. I like how the article has pointed to the reason many are depressed and delusioned with out figuring out it's the little things that have been regarded as old. That shaped and grow the person

A need to check if you are an extension of the algarithims you fancy and pull a crowd or a solid individual that has put in due dilligence to serve as a human being.

Depending on who you ask - the jury might be out. The people who have met me know for sure though :)

I feel that these days, a lot of people are lonely - so fill their world with stuff, but not necessarily what they need - which is some connection, some intimacy. the problem with transactional living is, it is impersonal and most people at least, need to feel recognized, appreciated and get a sense that they matter.

Very helpful.

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Thanks for writing and sharing this! I just went on a date today and found that there was so much that wasn't visible (obviously) from the little bit of online info. We did talk for a while before meeting up but it's no substitute for in person interaction. The last few really rewarding and enjoyable connections I've had have been with people I met in person and had a very strong chemistry with or a strong curiosity for them. This has taken place at a weekly gathering where we come together for some practice/ceremony and potluck (if ya don't know, it's where people bring food to a gathering and share it). the connections based on mutual interests. I have had one really enjoyable connection from online dating and even then there was a noticeable difference in the presentation and the reality of the person.
A great conversation to be having

the world in front of a screen
Times have changed, but in a bad way, in my opinion.
The network around the world brings us so many new things
Information about everything and makes us smarter
but other than that, it makes us screening junkies
while life goes by... 😵

“However, these days, it is like me sending Brad Pitt over to the pretty girl at the bar, have him flirt, pique her interest, attract her, and then once she is willing to commit, he points to me and says - "now that is who you are actually going home with". Do you think she will still be as willing?” this analogy will forever crack me up. Nice one !! 😀👌👌