Honesty, communication important in dating to avoid mixed messages

Opinions Columnist | Journalism Junior

Students should be upfront and say exactly what is on their minds in order to avoid being misunderstood or sending mixed messages.

There are so many ways to communicate with one another that do not involve face-to-face interaction that it can be hard to understand what someone means when they say something. Words on a screen can be interpreted very differently than words someone hears spoken aloud.

Sharing personal feelings with someone can be easier said than done. However, skirting around the subject, playing games and being mysterious is getting old. Even though 90s fashion is coming back, that does not mean the dating habits have to as well.

Being straightforward and upfront about feelings or intentions is a good way to lay it all out on the line. There is a difference between students sharing their feelings and being downright rude.

Students should be careful to walk a fine line between having class and being crass. Noticing someone from across the bar and nicely commenting on their appearance will go a lot further than wanting to “holla at someone because dat booty is fine.” Both are completely honest, but one will probably end up with an exchange in phone numbers while the other might warrant a slap across the face.

Establishing a relationship with someone is another area where mixed messages can be a problem. One party might only want to hook up while the other is looking for a long-term relationship. For some, this might be too much information to share immediately, but a candid approach can save both parties time and disappointment in the long run.

All of this can seem like high school, or even junior high, all over again. The fact of the matter is that in today’s hookup/dating culture where most encounters are drunken ones on The Square or online through social media, messages and signals are getting lost in translation.

I was recently talking to someone over social media who had me thinking that they were completely into me, and then just fell off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. Had this person said they were not interested in me and those sweet nothings were, in fact, nothing, I would have moved on a lot quicker than I actually did.

It is so easy to fool someone into believing anything with little to no personal interaction. Take the TV show “Catfish” for example. Poor, innocent and sometimes naïve people are taken advantage of by imposters hiding behind computer screens and stolen pictures. These people are often “catfished” into believing they are creating something lasting with a certain person. For all these catfish victims know, they could be flirting with a homeless man who stumbled into a library. Again, while this behavior sounds juvenile, it does happen.

Being upfront, but polite, about intentions from the beginning may seem like the emotional equivalent of going to class naked, but it quickly weeds out people that are going to be a complete waste of time. No one has time to sit around and wonder if a relationship is going to work or if a casual hookup is going to happen.

Saying what should be said in a decent way may seem off-putting to some, but to others, it may seem like a bold and courageous move that ends up being exactly what is needed.