This week I wanted to address a phenomenon that I’m seeing more frequently in private practice. More often I am witnessing the distressing emotional fatigue that accompanies two scenes in the online world which people often invest in beyond their own resilience. The first is online dating, where you are able to regularly chat with strangers with who you may wish to continue a close long term relationship. I’m sure you can imagine the pressure that might be placed on each encounter. Even other types of relationship goals are potentially draining when the well is perceived as infinite (and the impacts can be worse if the search is compulsive but the well is dry). Even when the only expectations you have are basic safety and compatibility of purpose, navigating these complexities can wear you down.
The similarities between dating and job searching can be amusing to consider; selling yourself into a role, editing your impression to a potential partner. You can find those similarities played out in the YouTube clips of dozens of different comedians. Today, however I wanted to talk about the influence that the medium has in which both of these searches are conducted; the internet. Increasingly, access to the internet means that we assimilate more information and sort through more choices than we were ever made to tolerate. While some of us have grown up with this tool and others have not, we still need to be mindful of its impacts.
In the case of internet dating and internet based job searching, there is one thing that is essential to consider. Whenever utilising the web for either search, be mindful that your own resilience is going to be weighed upon heavily. The internet will be a tireless partner in your pursuits, unfortunately you will be more easily fatigued. Please remember that every time you look for a job or look for a partner the emotional load is exceptionally high. For instance, projecting forward into a job role compounds everything from career considerations, family needs, comfort factor, and fear of failure.
What I am proposing here is to schedule in breaks from these searches, whether they are intermittent (one day out of three), or extended (two weeks on, one week off). There are other ways of helping cope with a high emotional load, but for reasons of urgency and to avoid making assumptions not based on research then I will leave you with this. If you find yourself frozen by alternatives, or that an interview or date is triggering your anxiety for seemingly no reason then it is quite possible you’ve reach emotional fatigue. Take a break, give yourself some perspective outside of what is urgent and when you return you will be able lead into these encounters with the best possible you.