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The Ultimate Guide To Dating In The Digital Age

Dating

Dating in the digital age is no walk in the park.


It requires that you keep your feelings at bay and your eyes wide open instead of wide shut and zeroed in too closely on the illusion of potential. Dating in the digital age means sliding into DMs instead of chance meetings on the train after work commutes, or blind set-ups from mutual friends. You rarely get the opportunity to invest before you swipe left for something shinier and more new. So many options, so little substance.

It also means time spent constantly wishing we still lived in times where someone would ask you out on a date on Friday and not wait until Saturday to say something came up. Simple things.

But, since longing for the simplicity that my grandparents once knew in their courtship is pointless, I decided that if the dating game wouldn't change, I'd just have to change. In order to better equip myself to navigate the sometimes bleak waters of dating in the digital age, I connected with a dating and relationships coach to gain some insight in the confusion of it all. Here's what I picked up:

Watch and Learn

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Dating and relationship coach, and author of The Don't Before I Do, Emily Duboise says, "In the early stages, what you see is what you get. In this era, doing a soft stalk of each other's social media is part of the early stages of courtship. It's just expected, and can be quite useful in the early weeding out process. You can tell a lot from someone's page. It's a display of one's own personal brand whether we know it or not."

Social media in many ways has been both a dating blessing and a curse. While we're in this age of hyperconnectivity, it should be easy to find our Prince Charming, but no. On the one end, I'm always wondering which of the dudes sliding in my DMs like Grand Rapids have girlfriends they've been keeping below sea level. And on the other end of the spectrum, I'm on emotional standby at all times to support friends that finally come to realization that they've been kissing toads in search of their prince charming.

No one wants to find out that after months of "dating" or clinging to the potential of someone that in all actuality, you're the side chick. Or that he's just not that into you. I don't know which is worse honestly.

Communication Is Key

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Whether we take heed or not, the red flags are always there. "If he's liking, sharing, expressing interest in posts that degrade or bash women (i.e. half-naked Instagram models or singing the tune 'Women only want men for ____,' he's probably not for you sis," Emily said. "If he is adamant about keeping his page private from YOU that's a red flag. A man should have nothing to hide. And if the only form of communication is through DM, and later he's deleting messages later those are red flags."

It's Not Bittersweet If You're Just Bitter

Dating can easily have you go from crushing to feeling crushed. Stalking him on social media is all fun and dating games until he posts a picture with another girl and now you're wondering where you stand. To avoid coming off bitter and broken, here are some ground rules one should set for themselves while dating in this social climate.

"I tell single women all the time: Every meme, quote, post should not scream, 'I'm single,' 'This why I ain't got no man,' 'Men ain't sh*t,' etc. Your profile should be fun, light, and exemplify that you are beautiful, you are enjoying life, and simply interesting. Men should be so intrigued by your page that they'll want to learn more, and won't think twice about hitting you up, especially whether or not you have a man."

Self-Preservation Is Everything

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As an exercise, I volunteered myself for a kind of social experiment. I bought roses for myself and, a few days later, I grabbed them while dashing out the door. I spent the day giving those dozen roses to a dozen beautiful women I encountered. One to the woman working in the parking garage at my office building, another to hostess at the restaurant where I had lunch, so on and so forth.

It's too easy to forget about loving yourself when we've been made to believe we need a partner to feel whole. You should be so full of love that your cup runneth over.

We don't have to search outside of ourselves for the love we so desperately seek when we have the capacity to give love unconditionally. When it comes to social media, and looking to a potential bae's page for reference, look at the women he does post on his page, pay attention to his mannerisms and if how he displays himself to the world is aligned with your own self-expression. Is he worthy of your time and energy? Or would he leave you feeling half-full and emotionally exhausted?

"Dating [in the digital age] is all about seeing if you like the person and want to spend more time with them. It's not about changing them, and molding them into someone of your liking. YOU decide, based on the information you are gathering from his page, whether or not it's going to work for you. It's ok to say 'no' and move on. Your conversation would be: 'I'm looking for something different,' not 'Why are you posted up with all these different women?'" Emily said.

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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