Nowadays, we have the ability to be connected to others at all times. This is no secret. I'm no exception, either. I know I'm certainly guilty of getting sucked into refreshing over and over on social media and staying actively involved in a conversation with someone the entire day.
A simple observation of this may just end with a shrug, accepting the changing times and advancement of technology. The power of smart phones and social media has done great things for us, no doubt. However, I've noticed patterns throughout the past few years that concern me a bit about how this is affecting all of us.
Back in the day, friends and people in relationships were not able to communicate 24/7. Going to school was exciting in and of itself because it meant folks were able to go out and see the people they care about, and if they wanted to enjoy their company afterward, they would spend time together in person, then parting at the end of the day. They would converse face to face, no distractions, no feelings of missing out, looking at other friends' posts on social media… Just two people engaged in what was happening in each others' lives. When we go out now, it's hard to ignore the urge from time to time to see what others are doing or text another friend, even if we have a friend right in front of us. It pays to be present with those you're with, and this is an important thing to remember.
The damage this "constant communication" culture could be doing is evident. We are so used to being stimulated by something all the time, entertained at every minute. Whether it be by Netflix, social media, texting, it's now pretty standard to be occupied most of the time.
This leads to almost forgetting how to be bored. This is the main thing that seems to lead to problems in our relationships with people. Whenever a friendship or romantic relationship seems to become a little less interesting, a tendency to want to drop it or distance ourselves can come about.
It's no wonder these relationships can become so uninteresting so quickly - through constant communication, we learn about each other at too fast a pace to even learn to truly appreciate a person. Missing someone is part of this process.
In a romantic context, just think about what people did in the past, even before phone calls were an option. People would write to those they loved, recounting the details of their days and excitedly anticipating their loved one's responses. After phones became commonplace, even then, there were once "norms" after a date that said you should wait a few days to call the person you were seeing. Flash forward to now, and we often don't have this period of time to miss a person. Constantly being able to reach someone can lead to taking their presence in your life for granted, and this is incredibly damaging to a relationship.
Though the development of our technology has helped us make some great strides in communication, especially with long-distance friends, romantic partners, or relatives, it's also good to take a step back and not get too wrapped up in the world that lies within our phones. I'm still learning to do this too.
We were not built to learn everything about each other in a few months time, nor were we built to overstimulate ourselves with knowing what everyone in our life is doing at all times. Take time for yourself, focus in on the people you're with, and get to know the new people in your life slowly. It could really do some good.