Trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship, whether it be friendship or something more intimate. Many intimate relationships today are sparked by either a text or Facebook message. Right away we get the sense that the old-fashioned intimacy and closeness is lost. So, what exactly is “old-fashioned”? Face-to-face interaction, especially when it comes to dating. In the short film Noah, Noah, the main character, asks a girl he meets on chat roulette, “What’s your Facebook name?” Instantly, we get the sense that Noah is interested in the girl and wishes to get to know her on a more personal level. This may not be so obvious to older generations, but for my generation this is the new way of connecting and communicating with other individuals. In my opinion, a relationship and intimacy can never be fully established without face-to-face interaction. Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson support this when they say “in a face-to-face relationship, one of the most powerful predictors of liking another person is having sheer proximity to that person” (189) in “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships.” Proximity isn’t only a predictor in the likelihood of a person of the opposite sex, it’s science as well. It’s a term called the Mere Exposure Effect, I learned it in my AP Psychology class in high school. What it basically means is the more we’re around a person or something, the more familiar it becomes so we develop more of a liking to it. Gillian Fournier says “Just because we see a stranger occasionally does not make them any more trustworthy…we just feel like they are because we “know” them.”
Fournier brings up a good point in mentioning trust. In my personal experience, trust can either build or destroy a relationship. I’m sure for several of us who have dated out there have experienced “trust issues” at some point. I’m a strong believer that trust is built through intimacy and closeness, which there is a severe lack thereof in “Cyber Dating” or dating that doesn’t involve face-to-face interaction. Texting or cyber messaging is a great tool for interaction in a relationship. It is a tool for a relationship, not an actual relationship. It makes an individual extremely reliable when he or she can answer a call or message quickly, or send us an update for when they’re not available. Reliability builds trust, which sets the foundation for a healthy, loving relationship. Cyber dating is not a relationship, it is a tool for a relationship.