Technology has opened up the world when it comes to communication. We can have conversations with people all the way at the other side of the globe. Keeping in contact is so easy. The more technology makes it easy to stay in touch, it seems like people are not really being in touch the same way. Let me explain.
The biggest thing I have noticed is how two people could be sitting beside each other on the couch and not engaging in conversation with each other. Instead they are engaged on their laptops, tablets or mobile devices. Chatting with other people; on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BBM, WhatsApp or text messaging. It’s great to be able to stay in touch but we also have to learn how to interact with the people who are actually in front of us.
According to Brett P. Kennedy, in an article for Psychology Today, “Technological gadgets are our communal security blankets of the 21st century.” That’s right. Security blanket. There are children who are attached to their security blankets, teddy bears and certain toys. The separation anxiety they get is similar to how adults are when they are away from their technology. We’ve become so addicted to our devices that the idea of putting them down seems so foreign. Kennedy often has clients that are not willing to log off.
If you want to build better relationships with people start by taking a break from your technology. If you’re going to a dinner party, I suggest leaving your mobile phone in your purse or in your coat pocket. That way you’re not looking at it every moment it beeps or vibrates. The other option is to simply turn the device to silent. So you won’t even be notified when you get a message. Then you can have a healthy uninterrupted evening.
In romantic relationships it can also be a killer. I was in a relationship a few years ago with a man who was addicted to his BlackBerry. It was a real problem. He was always chatting with people, playing games, reading emails and on Facebook. It was a distraction and I often joked that I was in a relationship with a man and a BlackBerry. It was awful. No matter how often I told him he couldn’t seem to shake the addiction. Eventually he saw how it was a problem and began to leave his phone in the car, in his jacket or even at home when we went out. He realized that it was harming the communication in the relationship.
If you want healthy relationships with friends, partners or family one of the first steps is learning to take a break from your technology. You may feel a sense of anxiety at first, wondering who’s texting, messaging or calling. But you will find it a peaceful experience enjoying your time communicating with and truly listening to the people who are right in front of you.
Resource: Psychology Today