Commentary: The lost art of dating in a digital world

Commentary: The lost art of dating in a digital world


Vanessa Chan, a 22-year-old undergraduate, is a card-carrying member of Generation Z. She goes one step further to say she has “texting fatigue”.

“I can barely find it in me to reply to texts with people I love, cherish and care about. So, imagine having to hard carry these awful conversations with random people on the Internet.”

And if you think that’s problematic, there’s more.

Alan, another 22-year-old undergraduate who didn’t want to use his real name, said it is even harder for people his age to pick up the phone, punch in a number and actually speak to someone.

“Gen Zs have a phobia of picking up the phone,’’ he says. The subtext is: Why do you call me? We were texting! Don’t do such a silly thing.

As a mother of two Gen Z boys, this makes complete sense. They prefer not to talk, and sometimes my texts go unanswered for days. But this isn’t just a boomer rant (okay, perhaps a tiny one) – it’s a fact. This generation grew up on the Internet. They live there. It’s impossible for us to expect them to behave any differently.

Violet suggests young people get offline and meet face to face. That sounds like sound advice, but sadly, the prognosis seems quite poor.

In observing my boys, I come to a few unscientific conclusions. One, that you are so much cooler on the phone because you can think about what you want to say, delete a message if you don’t like it, use emojis instead of actual words and blue tick to your heart’s content.

Besides, no one will ever know you have bad breath or dirty fingernails.

My 19-year-old says, most of the time, the conversation fizzles out online but that’s perfectly okay because he hasn’t wasted a single cent.

But if the “textee” is interesting, then it’s on to level 2 – a real-life date. And there, the real test takes place. It’s the way someone looks, the small things they do like how they talk to the waiter or how good a listener they are. And yes, you can observe basic hygiene too.