MISTAKEN FLIRTATION

28 Apr MISTAKEN FLIRTATION

The other day, I was responding to someone on Facebook who had “friended” me and the interaction prompted me to some universal thoughts. I try to be careful about who I let into my cyber world, but every now and again someone slips through the cracks.

Let me explain this a little more.

I love making a connection with my Facebook friends, especially with new people. It is important for me to have connection (albeit limited on Facebook) with the people sharing my world and subsequently my message. Usually, most people are extremely gracious and warm. After I accept their “friend request,” they usually send a message thanking me while asking a few (seemingly) harmless questions about what I do. Others may ask more personal questions or even go on to comment on my personal image. I try to respond to as many questions as possible.

However, I started to notice a few outliers to this pattern. Sometimes people can be incredibly invasive or say some really inappropriate comments. This was highlighted by a person that did exactly this and then proceeded to justify these comments with, “you sent me a smile emoticon with your response.”

What???

I had to reflect to see what I may have been contributing the exchange. From my point of view, I was simply being friendly and trying to spread my message. This was obviously not in his thought pattern. The answer came in my reflection. Something has happened in our society (and not just on Facebook).

Sometimes people mistake simple kindness as flirtation.

I decided to take time to research this phenomena to uncover the basis behind this. The answer: many people are curt or simply unresponsive to their fellow human beings. We have whittled our interactions with people down to rote responses consisting of “I’m fine, no, yes, sure, whatever, or ok.” We text responses of less than 165 characters and we use emoticons to share feelings. We don’t answer our phones unless we feel like it and we send text messages to see if people can talk. Our communication to one another has become diluted and impersonal. So it is no wonder that when someone gives us a complete sentence or a developed response that we may feel that they are in alignment with us or in extreme cases—flirtatious.

Granted, I realize that we can’t eradicate technology nor would we want to in light of what it positively contributes to our world. However, we can be more conscious and connected with people. We can stop and be more present with the people around us instead dismissive and short with our interactions. With all the wonderful gifts of technology, we can’t forget that our purpose is love. We are here to love and be loved. If we move back to this simple concept, we won’t mistake random acts of kindness and a gentle word for anything more than what it is—human connection.

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