Undoubtedly, technological advancements have drastically shaped the way
we interact with networks outside our immediate range, but they have affected
exchanges with one another in a personal and physical manner. Instant
gratification: it is a term that is used repeatedly when referencing our
society today. College graduates demand well-paying jobs right away simply
because they have a degree, cooked meals are expected to be produced in
minutes and we inherently understand that a world of information and interaction
is available with a few quick swipes on a touch screen. Technology requests
limited investment and provides a wide range of reward; a reward of many
shallow relationships with a wide range of people. It causes us to forget
that meaningful relationships require cultivation; they require investment
and effort that may be uncomfortable at times.
Relationship counselor Zach Brittle notes that often “technology
invites us to avoid intimacy and we accept the invitation” without
thinking much of it. A simple “like” on a picture creates
an alert that momentarily absorbs our attention from the rest of the world.
Harmless by itself, yes, but compile that into tens maybe hundreds of
times a day and things start to add up. We avoid eye contact in waiting
rooms and instead bury our heads into the screens of our phones. Possibly
doing something of importance, but probably just checking email or observing
what the rest our social network is up to even though there is a world
of stimuli just beyond the illuminated screen in our palms.
This is not to say that technology is inherently bad; it can be used to
strengthen interaction, rekindle passed relationships and stay updated.
However, moderation is key.
Here a few basic practices that can remind us to engage our surroundings
and perpetuate an interaction old as mankind, “honest to goodness
flesh and blood intimacy.”
-Return items borrowed without prompting
-Give small gifts
-Present spontaneous invitations for face to face interaction. Accept them
when they’re presented to you!
-Exercise together, outdoors with no headphones if possible
-Talk on the phone rather than text
-Ask for advice, give advice
-Take walks with people
-Designate “screen less” time frames throughout your day or week
-Watch live performances, comment on the strengths and weaknesses with
These are just a few suggestions, but remember that the social nature of
our race has contributed to what we are today. Embrace the interactions
that surround you!