Turning to technology to resolve a problem that is almost entirely attitudinal is self-defeating. "One [date] told me he felt very uneasy because he was never sure when I said something if I had chosen to say it or I was being directed at the moment," McCarthy told FastCompany. She describes others as feeling relief when seeing the app and wanting to use it to alleviate their own anxieties about blowing things with her.
This relief sprung from having a distant evaluator is welcome, but it also reaffirms everyone's worst fears about dating. It helps people handle the stress of being judged, but it does little to address the fact that we are always expecting judgements to take place. Evaluating another person is an important part of romantic experience, but because dating comes with a heightened sense of stakes it encourages defensive evaluation, a problem that's exacerbated by technological intermediaries, which excel at filtering for generic negatives.
Evaluating another person is an important part of romantic experience, but because dating comes with a heightened sense of stakes it encourages defensive evaluation, a problem that's exacerbated by technological intermediaries...
During encounters where there is no superstitious scarce commodity, social exchange is driven by the desire to have a good time. When there is nothing at risk, one thinks constructively, and sharing constructive efforts to have fun creates a bond sprung from process. Dating encounters distort this with the implicit knowledge that you are being judged for your efforts at sharing and having a good time. People engage defensively, subconsciously scanning for the warning signs or deal breakers.
Many cultures have deferred the constrictive weight of this process to matchmakers, and even now sites like OKCupid offload the stressors to algorithms, all in the hopes that the daters might feel less inhibited by the formal expectations placed on them as both performer and judge. Before the mechanical turk can tell you you're doing it wrong, you first have to let it watch, and after a certain point, maintaining the fear of being wrong becomes an essential part in justifying the on-going access to record everything in your life. Which makes finding a long-term relationship seem like an oasis from surveillance and judgement, something that becomes more unattainable the more idealized we make it.
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