By Amanda Gabriel
Elm Staff Writer
With today’s technology, the world truly is at our fingertips. Smart phones enable us to search for almost anything and get in touch with almost anybody in seconds. Although these improvements may prove advantageous for a great deal of situations, I believe that technology is harmful to relationships because electronics make us impatient and hinder our ability to communicate.
If you are pursuing a relationship or you are currently in one, I would bet that your main form of communication is through text messaging. Does texting make communicating faster and easier? Yes. However, if we examine this concept more in depth, there appear to be underlying consequences. Texting makes us impatient because we are conditioned to desire responses almost instantaneously. When a significant other takes longer to respond between messages, we start to ask ourselves, “What’s going on? Is something wrong? Why isn’t he/she answering me?” These questions can lead to insecurities and situations in which you begin to second guess yourself, when in reality, the other person is probably just busy.
Moreover, electronics accelerate relationships. We are able to talk to one another so quickly and therefore we get to know each other faster, and the outcome is damaging. There is no room for mystery, curiosity, or the exploration of emotions. There is no way of telling the tone of a text message either, and this can lead to miscommunications. The only way to truly get to know someone is in person because you learn to read their facial expressions and gestures. Personal touch is replaced by emoji’s and haha’s every other sentence. Technology takes all of these things away from us and makes it easier for us to deceive each other since there is no way to tell if the person on the other end is lying.
In addition, technology affects the way we interact with others. Instead of waiting until you see your partner in person to tell them news, you most likely call or text them. Over time, we have become conditioned to use technology to communicate over personal interactions. As a result, talking in person can become awkward or there may not be anything to talk about at all if you divulge everything over the phone. Break ups and fights now occur through technology as opposed to face to face; and when people are face to face with their significant other, many people cling to their phones to fill the uncomfortable silence created by them.
As technology only continues to grow and become more prevalent in our daily lives, how do we learn to decipher when it is helping us and when it is hindering us? In my opinion, the use of technology should be limited. Only use technology as a way of communicating when necessary and attempt to interact in person more than over the phone. Not only will personal interactions bring you closer to the other person, but they will also give you a better understanding of them. That way, when you do text, you are able to use past experience to bring context to the conversation. I predict that if we keep allowing technology to run our world and our relationships, our way of life will be irreversibly altered for the worse. However, if we begin to reverse these effects and interact face-to-face more often, then we will slowly be able to eliminate these consequences.