If you use technology as much as I do, you’ve probably experienced the following scenario: you text someone or post a comment without thinking on someone’s Facebook wall and there’s that one person that takes the interaction completely out of proportion. The worst case scenario is if this person is your significant other or someone you’re really close to and it changes your interactions with them in real life. When is enough, enough? When should real life take precedent over texting or Facebook?
One-on-one interaction is lacking in today’s society. With cell phones with built-in internet, texting, Facebook, Myspace, Instant messenger, this world has become a place where I see people looking at their phones and laughing because the person next to them texted them. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been that person and sometimes it’s fun being ironic. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology (I mean, I write blog entries), but there’s just something missing when texting or Facebook messaging someone is the only mode of communication with them. From personal experience, I’ve messed up budding friendships because misunderstandings have occurred through text messages. Just recently, I wanted to have a serious conversation with someone I had just met, but I ended up texting her instead of talking to her in person. It became hard to communicate with her in person because we didn’t know each other well enough one-on-one. That’s a serious issue – interpersonal communication is something that should be stressed to the younger generation because even people as young as high school and college students are spending far too much time on their cell phones or laptops and less time interacting in person.
Some tips to keep communication “real”:
1. Spend less time texting and more time talking on the phone – the voice inflections are just as important as body language.
2. Limit your time communicating via laptop/computer. Spend time out with your friends hanging out and talking (but don’t text the whole time!)
3. Enjoy the moment. Don’t ignore the friend in front of you just because another friend texted you.
4. Don’t talk about serious topics over text message. Save those conversations for over the phone, or preferably, in person.
5. Don’t take anything too seriously over text message or IM. The only real way to know how someone meant to say something is to ask them on the phone or in person.
6. The only way to get to know someone well is by spending time with them in person. Texting and Facebook messaging give you a false sense of “knowing” someone – if you don’t know their voice inflections or their body language, how do you really know if you’re that close?
One last thing to remember is that before cell phones and computers, how did people get to know each other, become friends, date, get married, etc.? We need to get back to the roots of communication to truly know where we stand in the world. Hopefully if people actually get to “know” others and don’t let technology be a crutch, we won’t have to revert to The Matrix for reference someday.
As a last thought, here’s a humorous example of how Facebook can throw a “wrench” in real life relationships: