In today’s world we are more distracted than ever before. We see it everywhere we go, from train stations to college classrooms. People everywhere have their heads down towards their phones, ingesting social media posts, news updates, and text messages at every chance they can get. It’s not rare to see someone walking with their nose in the phone, which is why we seldom make contact with strangers and rarely say hello to passerby. We are a society that has gone from building lasting relationships, to one that can go days without seeing another person in real-time.
This fast-paced technology has allowed us to access nearly everything all with the convenience of our phones, and while that has offered us countless ways of staying connected, it also sets us back in many other ways. When we are constantly looking down at our phones, we miss out on moments that we will never get back. Parents have missed out on their child’s first steps because they were too consumed with a group text, and young adults have missed out on forming lifelong friendships, all because their eyes were focused on a phone instead of connecting with others.
While it’s easy for us to connect with others nearly anytime of the day or night via phone or computer, it’s nearly impossible to get others to meet face to face. Although, a quick text or email allows for more convenience, this lack of face to face time is putting a damper on our ability to build much needed connections with others. One of the things we gain from meeting with others in real time, is the nonverbal cues associated with in-person communication. Approximately 80 percent of all communication consists of nonverbal cues such as hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions. Without these cues, can we really get a sense of what others are feeling? When we text message or email someone, we subtract a major communication cue, which is voice tone. Our feelings may be perceived entirely different when we convey them via email, which is why this type of communication often gets confused somewhere along the way.
The worst part about this lack of connectivity is the feeling of loneliness that we end up having. Sure, our friend list on Facebook may be in the thousands and the amount of numbers in our phone may be maxed out, but do you ever feel like something is missing? Humans naturally thrive in environments where they can receive support, accountability and encouragement, which can only be discovered in face-to-face relationships. Maybe it’s time for you to check in and see if you’ve recently had real life visits with friends or family members. If not, you may find a boost in your mood by getting together to connect.
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