Have you ever noticed the difference in how we communicate compared to 15 years ago? With the advent of mobile devices, our correspondence has undergone a radical shift and it continues to evolve. The intimacy of face-to-face conversation has given way to Facebook, email and texting. Modern technology is not going anywhere but there are ways to make it work for you.
If you want to speak with a loved one, it can be easier to text instead seeing them. Text messages and email afford us the luxury of multitasking on our own time. But when we converse with technology, we lose the essential meaning of our communication. Texting is the best example. If I send a friend a playful or sarcastic text, he may not receive it in the spirit I intended. He may be in a bad mood and feel that my message was rude. It is important to understand how our communication is interpreted depending on the emotional temperature of the individual.
Physical contact and phone calls will always be superior in terms of relationship building. We can read each other’s social cues, such as body language, vocal tone and cadence. These are unconscious methods of relationship building that will stop the desensitization of communication via technology.
Computers and mobile phones are not going anywhere, so we must work with them. On top of opting for phone calls, aim for your correspondence to be authentic and intimate. Try using Skype or Facetime so you can see the person you are talking with. I always say that you should date technology but not marry it.
If you really want to make someone feel special, send a friend or loved one a handwritten letter. Save emails for business. There is nothing more memorable than a note written from the heart.
Technology has its benefits. We can telecommute from the Bahamas if we wanted. Multitasking is the new norm, which means we get double the work done. But there is also a cost. When we are constantly connected, our stress levels are elevated. We are overworked and frustrated. Can you even enjoy the Bahamas if you are chained to your iPhone?
The deep rest of a true vacation no longer consists of traveling abroad. We could get the same effect if we turned our phones off and leave them in a drawer at home.
My hope for the future is that we will start seeing more devices to help us compartmentalize our lives. Smart phones will only get smarter. It would be ideal to have technology that caters to different personality types. A banker and an artist do not need the same type of communication with the outside world. We should only be as connected as necessary.
In order to live a long and full life, we cannot be available 24/7. Put boundaries on your friends and even employers. Your best work will never be done at 2 a.m. Your rest is important. Slowing down is essential.
Turn off your device so you can tune into your life.