Relationships, Instant Gratification and Texting: How Do These Relate?

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Relationships, Instant Gratification and Texting: How Do These Relate?

Today I sat at a bar at around 3:00PM. I don’t ALWAYS do things like that but this particular day I needed noise outside of the walls of my brain. I walked into one of my favorite bars that I haven’t been to in a long time. I just love being around people especially when they are around me, interacting on their own; being who they are or who they think they are while I get to just watch them. I get to listen to them, always making it a point to not judge them but to try to understand why they are saying the things they are saying and doing the things they are doing. When I first walked in, it was very quiet giving me the impression that the place had just opened. I sat at one end of the bar, with a couple of people sitting at the other end. It was clear that they already had a couple of drinks as the volume of their voices kept getting louder and louder. I kept trying to put all of my focus on a piece I am writing, that 3 months ago I would’ve deemed as the best thing I ever thought of but today just seems pointless because the anger behind the reason for writing the piece is no longer there. I start to think that maybe it can be less angry and more poetic, but then I start to think I don’t want to write it at all. As I once again begin to get distracted by the noise in my head, something else catches my attention. The girl at the end of the bar is hugging the guy next to her, cheek to cheek and slurring: “I’m sorry I took your phone and texted him that, I thought that would get you a reply but it didn’t. Whatever, he’s not worth it!”

The guy looks disappointed. The girl continues:

“You should text James again. He always answered, you guys hung out all the time!”

Guy picks up his phone and puts it down, still looking disappointed.

At this point, I stopped listening for various reasons. The first being that I have been able to identify with the situation at different points of my life and it made me cringe. The other, that being someone who has been through all sorts of relationship mishaps and have learned many lessons because of it, I became frustrated at how fucked up dating is today. There are two words that describe what people want to receive from dating today: Instant Gratification. If they don’t immediately get what they think they want and deserve, they’re done and on to the next one. I have one word to describe how I feel about that: Bullshit. Personally, this frustrates me because when I date someone I give it all I can, and then when I get nothing in return I give some more just to make sure. It seems as if relationships today barely get past the “talking” stage because one person always ends up giving it less than the other, one or both people involved simply refuse to compromise, lack of communication and of course, the fact that we take texting so fucking serious (myself included).

When I was in elementary school, I overheard a conversation in Spanish in which one person was giving another advice and it translated to this: “If you ask a boxer what’s better, giving or receiving*? The boxer will always say giving. Sometimes you have to live your life like a boxer and realize that giving will get you the winning prize.” This conversation has lived in me since the second I heard it. It has probably taught me one of the most important life lessons I have learned: If you are a person that gives, expecting nothing in return, you will then understand that what you receive is only the necessary and you won’t be startled when you don’t get things that you think you deserve. Implementing this “boxer” mentality into your everyday life won’t be an easy task, but once you do so you will begin to understand that everything we think we need at any given point, isn’t always what is best for us. Therefore, when people “let you down” you will know that they are not really letting you down, it is just you allowing that feeling to make its home inside of you and it will then be easy to let go of. Giving your love, your time and your vulnerability to another person is something that should feel pleasing to you and not something that you do just to try to make another person happy. It just doesn’t work that way.

Once you truly understand that giving isn’t a competition or something to be used against people, compromising will come easy. I always use the word compromise. First, because once you say it out loud, the person you are saying it to will either run away and continue to live in their fear (saving you a lot of time) or they will stay and that is how you begin to compromise. By not running away at the first sound of commitment and longevity. By understanding that the saying “good things take time” isn’t just something your parents said to you to get you to be patient when they needed you to, but something that the generations before us; the ones that we desperately look up to today lived by and by taking a step back and realizing that instant gratification isn’t a realistic goal when it comes to love.

And that brings me to my last point: texting; the seriousness of it. I am the first to admit that texting has played a major role in all the failed relationships I’ve experienced. I won’t say that texting is single-handedly to blame for the downfalls (except for the ones in which I was being cheated on through it but that’s a story for a different blog) but I will say that I allowed my relationships to depend on the communication through text. At least half of those relationships began through a text and continued to “flourish” through it. Texting people back and forth, sharing everything there was to share about me on a tiny screen without experiencing the moment in which you tell someone something important and you can look in their eyes quietly for a couple of seconds, allowing them to take it in. Like the people at the bar, I have had the moments in which I judge my self-worth and my ability to attract someone solely on how fast they respond to my text message. The faster they answer, the more worth it I am, right? And when they do text me, I have to play it cool no matter how excited even if for the wrong reasons I feel at the moment. Next comes deciding how you are going to answer; what are you going to say and what specific words are you going to use to make sure you get the image that you want of yourself to come across perfectly. I used to be under the impression that any guy that didn’t take the time out of their day to promptly reply to me wasn’t interested in me and simply not worth my time. Until someone I know said the following sentence to me: “It is so selfish of people to think that another person has to be readily available to answer them everytime they send a message, without considering that the person might be busy doing things that will benefit them or just having a moment to themselves.” And that is all I needed to hear to understand the selfishness of today’s dating, and my own. The abuse of making someone feel bad for not putting their life on pause for even 5 seconds to tend to us.

Everything makes a full circle and somehow it always ends up proving the one advice that I received that I have since lived by especially when dating right: People do not belong to people. Your actions should not be a result of what you expect from people, therefore when you give something to someone, you should only do so because you chose to and not because of what you want to receive in return. When it comes to compromising, you will know when you are doing so for the right person because they will be willing to compromise too and when you both do so, it will turn the issue you are both facing into a decision of what makes the most sense and remove the negativity surrounding it. Finally, when it comes to communication, specifically through text, remember that: You are the only person that can decide what you are worth. You diminish your value when you let another person’s actions dictate what you think of yourself. A hard lesson to learn in all aspects of life, but I promise you it is a worthy one.

*Note that in this sentence the word “giving” is translated from the Spanish word “dar” which in Spanish is used for both “giving” as well as “hitting” and receiving is translated from the word “recibir” which in Spanish means both “receive” and “receive punches” when talking about boxing.

Until the Next Late Night,