We are more connected to each other than ever before through texting, social media, and video chat. Yet, so many people still feel lonely.
Friends who used to spend time together in person are often opting for hanging out online.
Is this a good thing? Here are some ways that technology may actually be harming your friendships.
You may not appreciate your friends as much.
If you see someone in person on a regular basis, you feel a void if he or she goes somewhere far away.
You may feel sad and alone. But on the flip side, that void is one of the best ways to confirm that your friend really exists. Just imagine if he or she left for a year and came back and you said, “I didn’t even notice you were gone!”
In your friend’s absence, you can sit and appreciate just how much he or she means to you. Hopefully, that also leads you to pray for this person. Prayer is the best way to unite with another person, and it doesn’t require physical proximity.
You don’t put as much effort into communicating with a friend.
Texting can never beat a hand-written letter. With a letter, you are sharing something that is uniquely your own — your handwriting. And it takes effort. It’s a labor of love.
Texting is less so. First, sending a text isn’t actually your work, but the work of tech billionaires. They are the ones making it easier for you to send your message.
When we text, we fool ourselves into thinking we’re the ones doing something. Unlike physical handwriting, a text doesn’t show as much of your personality since you’re not styling the letters.
The other problem with texting is that you have communication without collaboration in a common work. What do we mean? When you’re with another person, conversations bounce off each other in real-time. With texting, you may wait hours (or days) for a response.
Nothing beats being in the same room with someone.
When you’re in the same room, you’re seeing the other person in the flesh. On a video chat, you’re just viewing a representation of his or her likeness. You’re looking into a camera, not your friend’s eyes. A technological middleman has come between you and the other person.
This is not to say that texting and video chats are bad. They serve a purpose, but we can’t let them replace in-person conversation. We are each made in the image and likeness of God. Let’s enjoy that likeness in each other often, without a device coming between us!