When you meet someone you (potentially) like on a dating app, it’s normal to chat to them for a few days—or in the worst case, a few weeks—before making plans to meet up in real life. However, a new stage has been added to the dating game and I’m not sure quite how I feel about it: sending/receiving voice memos.
It’s actually pretty common. According to GQ, which published a feature on the phenomenon earlier this week, more and more online daters are using voice memos in the interim between matching and actually going on a date. While it makes sense to make use of current technology, it also seems a little strange.
Why not just pick up the phone? If you want to hear the sound of someone’s voice or have them hear yours, why not just call each other and have a proper chat in real time? It’s not that much more effort than pressing “record” and then “send” on a voice memo. Plus, if you don’t want to give out your phone number, programs like Facebook Messenger allow in-app calling too.
Admittedly, it is more intimate than just texting. If you’re trying to feel someone out, reading words on a screen isn’t necessarily the best way to do it. Plain texting is devoid of accent and tone, leaving room for misunderstandings. When you can actually hear someone’s voice when they’re saying something, you get a better feel for what they actually mean. Not only that, but voices are (or at least can be) sexy, and knowing what someone sounds like can totally make you feel closer to them, which is important when getting to know someone and trying to figure out whether they’re worth your time.
It requires your full attention. That can be a good thing or a bad one. After all, with texting, you answer when you want and you can do it anywhere—on the bus, in a work meeting, wherever. With voice notes, you kind of need a quiet place to be able to listen to messages or even record them to send to the person you’re chatting with. It can be a good thing to fully engage with someone (in a way) rather than distractedly replying with a few words as you’re going about the rest of your day.
It’s a little bit weird to do with a stranger, right? I voice note my friends all the time, especially when I’m too lazy to type out a whole saga that happened to me on a given day. However, talking into the empty air to a relative stranger just feels a bit weird to me. In fact, according to some of the people who talked to GQ on the topic, I’m not the only one who feels this way—many people are embarrassed to admit to their friends that they’ve been voice messaging a dating app match.
It might become a crutch. Sending voice memos to a match can make you feel like you’re really developing something real with them and even spending quality time with them from afar. That’s not necessarily an issue in and of itself, but my concern would be that you’d get so comfortable sending voice notes that there’d be no urgency to push things into the real world, and that’s an issue. Who wants to have a relationship with their phone?
Maybe I just need to get with the times. After all, technology moves on and the dating world always reflects this, so if sending voice messages is a new step in the process of finding “The One,” I guess I just need to get on board.
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