The colourful world of emoji has helped galvanise words into action. I’d have to admit, emoji can elevate meaning and convey tone with the faces, hand gestures… and even replace words altogether with symbols and objects. Therein lies a very fine line to tread before failing at emoji courtesy. Imagine being at the receiving end of these texts, where it looks like an emoji zoo on steroids was unleashed upon you. What would you perceive of it?
Recently I met a good friend for lunch, and as the chitchat progressed towards tea time, a change came over his normally sunny expression and he solemnly declared, “You know, we have to be very careful these days.” And there was a full pause. Thinking that my friend had become more security conscious, I agreed and asked if he had experienced any such incidents lately. “Ya man, I cannot be too careful nowadays… don’t know what kinda “present” they may pass on to me!” Click. The two channels finally merged into one. My dear friend was an unwitting receiver of a sexually transmitted disease, and thank gawd it wasn’t a life threatening case!
The hookup culture
With so many flirting platforms available now for sex-citement via mobile apps and online sites, the masses get to know new names and new faces at a whim. Yes it’s exciting indeed, one gets to meet new people who are mostly out for fun. But the problem may start right there. Exchange of bodily fluids from casual acquaintances is open grounds for grave concern, and anyone is susceptible.
Is being casual really okay with you? The hookup culture is prevalent in today’s society, so much so that you can just ask a random bunch of your friends and come up with a handful who may have casually hooked up with someone and inadvertently risked their lives doing it.
We can’t stress enough on the importance of consciousness. Be aware of who you meet - are you sure they are who they claim to be? How do they behave? Is it a mutual decision between consenting parties? To the ladies specifically, never feel pressured to “perform” or lay down your principles to gain someone else’s nod of approval. So how do you find that serious someone whom you can get to know intimately, and for the long haul?
The dating engine that could
Not to toot our horn and stamp our feet, though Dateworks is the professional matchmaking agency here and we are well schooled in this particular arena. If you’re waiting for a sign for a serious commitment, we are the platform for that leap! Entrust in us to place your wellbeing, your requirements for your life partner and your time, above all else. We possess invaluable experience at successfully matching couples for the long term. Many of our clients only regret one thing: not prioritising their love life while the winds of change blew out their flames. We don’t want that to happen to you, do we? With the second half of the year coming upon us, think seriously about what you have achieved so far, and what you want to gain before the year is out. Our doors are always open to serious singles!
Granted, every kind of relationship has its ups and downs. There are differing opinions and debates between friends, family members, business associates, and of course, between you and sweetie pie. Life naturally goes on in a series of discourse and discords. We aren’t preprogrammed Stepford wives and husbands in some perfect little suburbia. So how do we identify that toxic person in our lives and render them ex communicado?
Your inner circle is wary of them
There isn’t a clear, consistent line of communication between you and this person, and you can’t put a finger on what feels off about them. Your close friends aren’t keen to be around this person, and even mummy dearest isn’t too pally with them. Your closest circle of family and friends know you best, and their subconscious is inevitably letting you know that this person isn’t good for you.
You are the target in their blame game
Let’s say this person is the newest inductee into your group. All are having fun and this particular someone does or says something that makes the smile slide off your face. It doesn’t feel right. You exchange a look with someone else. Note this: a toxic person is seemingly blameless. This person will project their own faults onto you. You’re always late. It’s your fault for ordering all the good food, now I’m gonna get fat! You, you, you.
You’re being emotionally blackmailed
An insincere person makes use of your time, your presence, and how they stand to gain from you. Do you feel drained after every meet? Do you feel that this person withholds their affection and availability depending on what you can do for them? Say you can’t go to a social event, this friend may ignore your calls, or show you the cold shoulder until you change your mind. Their love is conditional, and based on conditions that can be downright ridiculous. A healthy relationship is when two people understand that availability varies over time. They communicate openly as two adults.
So you’ve pointed out this person in your life. Perhaps you did try to address the elephant in the room, and this person needs to be weeded out. We say it’s time to eliminate the toxicity of it all and return to a clean slate. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair, has a simple 3-step guide that might help.
1. Create distance
Distance yourself from that person remotely i.e. via text, email or a letter. This allows you to be completely open with them, and also tell them about your further intentions. This will seem difficult, but just make a mental note to yourself that if you meet up face-to-face, you will probably get sucked back in and find yourself unable to be completely free of them.
2. Keep it simple
You don’t need to justify your actions by explaining further. More talk, more debates! Be very definite about your message. You don’t want to leave open ends when resolving the friendship. More importantly, this enables you to take back control.
3. Cut all communication
This is the final and most important part, as you need to keep the breakup clean. After all, a clean slate is what you are after, am I right? Your friend will attempt to contact you initially. Hold onto your hairnet, for your feelings will get buffeted about like laundry in a windstorm. Because if you do give in and respond, you’ll be sending the okay that they can take over once again.
This toxic friend situation is more commonplace than people realise. We certainly hope that that helped you to identify this someone and let them go. Life is a short enough journey and time is a precious commodity. Say sayonara to the bull hockey today. Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better doing just that.
In our experience at Dateworks, our clients generally end up in flourishing relationships with others who aren’t their type. Here, we focus on his and hers personality traits that match. Because after the age of partying and power marathons is over, don’t you still want fulfilment through touch and conversations - affirming to the world why you two lovebirds fell for each other in the first place?
A study that was reported in the Washington Post indicated a high percentage of straight unmarried couples tend to break up within the first year. Relationships fail because people remain in denial with themselves regarding what they can and can’t tolerate in that particular coupling. Every relationship generally goes through a three-panel conclusion that helps you determine if you want to be with your partner for the long term, or not.
I’m not talking about those 5 Cs that plague the existence of every man in Singapore: credit card, condo, cash, car and country club membership. Who came up with those ridiculous prerequisites anyway? It’s time for believers to remove the minting plates over their eyes. The demand for materialism eventually leads to a sinkhole, because superficial wants tend to give a stranglehold to any affection that occurs naturally to matching personalities. The 5 Cs that I’m referring to, actually go towards improving the interpersonal connection you have between you and your loved one. These 5 big ones are the checkup, the confession, conquering of fears, complimentary behaviour and canoodling. Allow me to explain.
When it comes to sex, men are more straight forward about it. They want to get it on at the start of a relationship, in the middle of it, and after many years of it. They just want to “do it like they do on the Discovery Channel”. It sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Why can’t we women have the same strength in desires and fulfil them as easily? A Florida State University expert surveyed the sex drives of men and women and intimated that women’s libidos are more “fluid”, meaning their desires are more sensitive to nuances in their environment and context. So you aren't getting enough of bed-minton, we know just how to raise the activity levels in your weekly agenda!
The dynamics of a healthy relationship work best when each partner maintains an open intent about loving themselves and each other. Though not all days are sunshine and rainbows, each union feels natural, teasing, having mutual contentment but never having to feel overextended by any one party to please the other. In the extended theory for Maslow's hierarchy of needs, he included his observations of humans' innate curiosity beyond their basic needs. He termed them “physiological”, “safety”, “love and belonging”, "esteem”, and “self-actualisation”. These are the stages human beings are generally motivated to move through.
So a certain pairing has been decisively concluded this time. Not to make light of a situation that may have been very dear to you, but an ending is an ending. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects that led to the demise of this relationship, moving forward is the next logical step. It’s easier said than done, that’s true, but however difficult it will be, moving forward helps us heal and face the unknown future. To start to heal, we first need to pinpoint the reasons or hurdles that are in the way of your recovery.
Here’s a buzzword to carry you through any foreign experience: openness. An open mind lays your way to new discoveries. So decide today you will open yourself up a little and meet one stranger per outing. When I say stranger, I don't mean jump the next casual stroller at the intersection. It can be someone you haven't been formally introduced to through your current network of family, friends and colleagues. Perhaps you’ve been invited to regular media gatherings and have not attended one yet? Get with the programme and gift your smiles to likeminded individuals.