Today’s world of digital communications has made it so easy to connect with hundreds of people and call them “friends”. In an age of social media, even perfect strangers can become closely familiar in a very short time.
When technology becomes such a huge part of our lives, it can start having an unhealthy impact both on our loved ones and us.
While it’s easy to connect with people initially, maintaining these connections while trying to keep healthy boundaries has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, without some self-imposed social engagement rules.
Has modern tech become too invasive? Have smartphones and social media made it more difficult to maintain a relationship than in the past?
The smartphone is the ever-present third wheel in a relationship.
Go out to a restaurant in the evening, even an upscale one, and there’s a good chance you’ll see couples spending time together. It will be a sure bet that one or both parties will interrupt their conversation to take a call, text, tweet or snap pictures using their phone. Sometimes both of them will have heads down using their phone rather than holding a personal conversation.
The enormous omni-presence of digital communications and especially social media has made internet addiction far more palatable, especially for a generation growing up in a time where being always available – always on – is the norm. Two people may find it easier to connect through the internet than they do sitting at the same table.
The impact of technology doesn’t just fall on those in the dating scene. The ease of digital communication has blurred the lines between our personal and professional spheres too. Employees these days can find themselves taking work calls at home or checking social media updates while on the clock. These distractions don’t have an impact just on our work ethic but on how we manage our time to be with those who are important to us.
With the steady march of smartphone apps and news feeds blending into our daily culture, the time can’t be turned back. Relationships may not reach their full potential as a direct result of lack of attention and poor judgment as to what is truly important.
The good news is that as humans we still have the power to recognise a potential problem and address it. Even with the distraction of the modern world, there’s still 168 hours in a week and plenty of time that can be set aside and this starts with personal interactions without a phone within reach.
Three tips to get you talking, not texting:
- Turn off phones on dates or when in a business meeting.
- Arrange a routine that includes dedicated time free from technology.
- Limit the time you spend on social media.
If you must take the call remember your manners.
If you are expecting a call, say so beforehand. Even better, divert your phone to voicemail. Explain to your date or family that you may have to answer your phone during dinner but you will keep it brief.
Excuse yourself and move to a quiet area away from other guests or the family dinner conversation. Limit the digital distraction to no more than five minutes and explain to the caller that you are with your date or family.
Set an example and show respect for your loved ones by demonstrating that they are important to you.
Remember, the power to change is entirely in your hands with a few simple rules.
More in our Resources blog: read about the four predictors of divorce, plus the top seven principles for improving a marriage.
If you feel that you are experiencing challenges in your relationship or marriage, contact Strategic Psychology to inquire about relationship counselling. You can see our psychologist as an individual, or get couples therapy.
We can help you reconnect with your partner and provide tips on how to get back to being a happy couple.