Can you hear me now?
Over a 90-minute time span two weekends ago, my father and I had a conversation via text messages that could have provided more dialogue, details and interaction in a three-minute phone call than the nine or so messages sent back and forth. But there we were, texting.
On Friday, a friend sent me 10 text messages in 6.5 hours. I had responded to none of them as I was busy working. On my way to meet up with a friend after work, I called her, wanting to talk
about the various items she sent me earlier in the day. While leaving her a voice mail, she sent a one-word text (“gym”) telling me where she was, and, I assume, why she did not answer.
When a good friend and I met up for dinner with another close friend of ours who left home in the fall for an out-of-state job, much of the evening was spent having in-real-life conversations as faces were buried into phones replying to messages, keeping up with games or checking Twitter.
The need to be connected actually is leaving us with disconnected relationships, whether it be a marriage, a budding romance, a friendship or family.
Don’t believe me? When is the last time you sat in person with a friend without any interruptions? When is the last time you called a friend just to ask how they are?
As if strengthening relationships isn’t difficult enough with technological disruptions, ending them via text messages seems just as easy as playing your next turn in Words with Friends.
A Recombu.com survey last month revealed that one in 10 people are dumped via text. The United Kingdom-based site about mobile phones surveyed 2,000. People can’t even break up in person anymore.
“Texting is such a part of how we communicate as a whole now that it is natural that this will be used for something [relationship related],” Recombu.com editor Hannah Bouckley said in an interview with the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.
We have such a sick addiction with wanting to always check Facebook, Twitter, text messages and e-mail that a new trend is attempting to reverse this sad, disconnected society.
It’s called “phone stacking,” and it is exactly what it sounds like. The idea is that those around a dinner table or at an outing with a group of folks stack their phones, keeping the devices in sight but out of reach of those tempted to disconnect from reality to enter into their virtual world.
If someone grabs their phone, they must pick up the restaurant tab.
How pathetic are we that a game such as phone stacking must be implemented so that we can share an uninterrupted moment in person with people?
Yet, it seems like such a necessary step. I often force friends to relinquish their phones during dinner or at some other outing. Nothing aggravates me more than trying to have a conversation or enjoy something with others who are busy replying to text messages or tweets.
Sadly, most folks scoff at my requests or begrudgingly place their phone into a pocket, only to sneak glances as though I’m not looking.
Technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, technology has allowed us to interact with friends like never before — through photos, online games, Facebook posts, Foursquare check-ins and more.
Without technology, I likely would not have many of the friends I do now. Heck, I met my two best friends thanks to the Internet.
But as humans who depend on others to survive, we have failed to appropriately incorporate technology with our need for interpersonal communications. In other words, we’d sooner text a friend than call, share a photo of our dinner than eat together and scour photo uploads instead of meeting in person.
Some folks have actually told me they enjoy texting over phone calls! A text offers nothing but cold text, while a phone call offers us a chance to hear the tone of our friend’s voice and engage in ways where we learn exactly what makes each other tick. Of course, not even a phone call can substitute for in-real-life time with people.
There are ways to successfully incorporate technology within our relationships, but we need to focus more on our human instinct than a text message or tweet.
twoday magazine wants to know: Do you find yoruself relying more and more on technology to communicate? How has it affected your relationships? Facebook us your thoughts.
Keep up with twodaymag’s weekly contributor, Bobby Cherry, at GoBobbo.com. Tweet him at @Gobobbo.