Successful Relationships in a Social Tech Era

Successful Relationships in a Social Tech EraIt is no secret that social media has revolutionized the world; the way we communicate, interact with one another, and gather information. In fact, nearly one in four people worldwide use social networks and the numbers continue to rise. According to a recent report by eMarketer, between 2012 and 2013, social network users from across the globe are grew from 1.47 billion to 1.73 billion – an 18 percent increase. Yet, despite the level of connectivity social networks have provided humanity, they have also created a real sense of disconnect in relationships – e.g. surfing Facebook at the dinner table instead of talking together as a family. So how can one combat this growing dilemma? Here are three practical ways to maintain genuine relationships in the modern technological era:

Take a time-out
We’ve all seen it; family, friends, or work colleagues congregating together for dinner, a meeting, or just hanging out, but instead of them enjoying each other’s presence, select individuals are lost from the conversation. What’s wrong? They are surfing through Facebook status updates or texting a friend via What’s App. Not only is it rude, it keeps deep, meaningful relationships from developing into all that they could be. Just think if a husband came home from a long, laborious day of work anxious to spend time with his wife only to find her consumed by what is happening on Twitter or Pinterest. The solution? Take a time out from your smartphone and your social media networks. Engage with your spouse, your boss, your kids, your parents, your friends. It is simple. Devote 1 to 2 hours of quality time with those you love without looking at your phone, iPad, or computer. In addition, when you are in the presence of others even for a brief few minutes, respect them by giving them your undivided attention.

Face-to-face conversation
Most of us have experienced the difficulty of having in depth conversations through text messaging or chat. Not only do they take a long time to communicate one’s point, there is a really good chance a person may be misunderstood, which could lead to an offense. Plus there is only so much that can be said via a text message, Facebook post or a photo uploaded to Instagram. In many situations, a person cannot perfectly portray his point of view without talking face to face with the person – his emotion, his body language, and his tone of voice are lost. There is nothing that replaces direct, in-person communication. If this option is available, make every attempt to speak to the person face to face. It could save you a lot of time, energy, and damage control in the future. Nothing says, “I love you,” or, “I care,” more than speaking to another human being face to face.

Resolve conflict in person
If you have lived on earth for any amount of time, you have, no doubt, been offended by someone on more than one occasion. Instead of going directly to the person to resolve the issue, people these days get on their social media networks and share how so-and-so ticked them off. The person might not have even been aware that they did anything wrong. Then the one who accidently offended hears about it through the grapevine or reads it on a social network for himself or herself and an all-out war of words ensues. Even friends and family are sucked into the battle. What could have been resolved through a little humility, an apology, or talking with the individual in person, has now escalated to World War III. Never use social media to get even with people by jabbing them or telling the world what a friend, family member or co-worker did to you. Instead, go to the individual directly and work things out. It will save you a lot of grief, offense and frustration in the end and will ultimately save a friendship.

There is no doubt social media has transformed how we do life and interact with each other. Yet, if we are not careful, these good things can wreck relationships. In the end, following these three simple principles will enhance and strengthen the bond you have with one another for years to come and will offer wise counsel to keep you from doing something foolish.

Have you found yourself relying more and more on devices to communicate in recent years? How do you think this has affected your relationships? Email us at [email protected] and let us know!

Cory Nickols is a freelance writer, and serves full-time with Destiny Rescue in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Cory can be reached at [email protected]

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