Whether it be Snapchat, iMessage, or anything other than face to face contact, we have access to many technological channels of communication. In many ways- it’s amazing. Connecting with family members and old friends near and by is awesome. Thanks to Facebook and other social media networks its easy to do so, but like most things, there are downsides.

In utilizing all of these advanced channels and mediums of communication, we slowly lose the capability to truly connect.

For one, eye contact. It seems trivial at times, but eye contact is something that many people aren’t capable of due to technology. There is no need for eye contact when your words are transferred via phone or computer; the convenience is wonderful, but when you’re sitting down at your first big job interview and fail to look a superior in his or her eyes, you will suffer.

The tricky thing about technology is that some people choose to send messages about things that should be discussed via phone call. Means of communication via technology take away our power to confront one another as we can all hide behind our screens after sending a risky message. Essentially, you can be someone you’re not when sending messages as it’s much easier to send something at the touch of a button as opposed to speaking to someone face to face.

When we are stuck in awkward moments of interaction, we lean on our phones as a crutch. Something I’ve observed is how often we take out our cell phones in the midst of an awkward situation, or a bland conversation. It’s as if we need to break the silence by adding more silence, I guess. Regardless, it’s impolite and a quick way to escape as opposed to working to reciprocate or respond verbally.

Small but important-- we lose opportunities without our communication skills. Whether it be on a train or in class, the likelihood of a friendly hello has become slim to none. Due to the sickening thought of a potentially awkward encounter, most people don't even smile at one other unless they see a familiar face. The love of your life could be sitting next to you on your daily commute to work, and you would never even know it.

We are losing our vocal power when we abuse our interpersonal communication skills, and entering a downward spiral. We gain nothing from avoiding confrontation, or escaping conversation, and there will come a time when our lack of communication skills work against us in larger ways than we think.

Challenge yourself. Look up, respond verbally, and make something of the conversation. A simple hello could change your whole perspective.