It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, every magazine article I’ve encountered has promised better communication as the secret to success when it comes to personal, professional, and romantic relationships. The key word there, however, is “better,” and better is not always synonymous with “more.” Thanks to technology (and its three children: Smartphone, Internet, and Social Media—what kinds of names are those?), there is now a grey area when it comes to the merits of communication. Between Facebook, Snapchat, iMessage and whatever else those crazy kids are using, we need to raise the question: how much is too much?
Take the “good morning” text, for example. We’ve all done it. You want to let your boo know that you’re thinking of them—you have no intention of texting back and forth all day, that would be juvenile—then, before you know it, “good morning” leads to “how are you?” leads to “whatcha doin’?” and by the time your nightly 8 p.m. phone call rolls around, you realize you’ve been chatting all day and have nothing to talk about!
It’s not just romantic relationships either. Social media allows us to so closely track the activities of everyone in our life, that we open ourselves up to judgment and sticky situations. With the ability to share pictures from every party, girl’s night, or dinner date, someone is always going to feel excluded. With the ability to see whom your friend sends the most snap chats to, there will always be ridiculous jealousies.
Having the ability to communicate so readily and rapidly sets the bar too high. The age old phrase “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” has been tossed out the window and replaced with “it’s been 30 minutes, why hasn’t he texted back?” Not tagging your friend in a Facebook status or losing a streak on Snapchat are now crimes against humanity. Apps like GroupMe even include a feature where you can “like” someone’s message in a group chat. Now, when no one likes your message, you are left wondering why. All of a sudden, virtual communication has become an important factor in determining the quality of a relationship.
The answer to this problem may begin with social media, but it ends with changing our mentality. It is not a realistic expectation that these social media apps and websites will disappear. It is up to everyone to put less stock in virtual interactions and focus more on what happens right in front of you.