Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Technology Trouble

I've come to realize something as technology has started taking over the world. It is destroying communication, people, and relationships. Most of you are probably thinking that I am a hypocrite. After all, don't I use cell phones, iPads, laptops, "apps," and search engines on a regular basis? Don't I prefer to text people rather than call them on the phone? You bet! And that is the problem.

For those of you who know me, you know I've never been much of a phone-talker. I generally get flustered, forget my words, or interrupt the other person awkwardly because I'm never sure when he/she is finished. One of my best friends is like this, too. We've talked about the fact that we prefer to text each other to avoid the awkward talking dance that encompasses us when we are trying to figure out how to make a conversation flow naturally. Texting has become one of my main forms of communication. I am better on paper than I am out loud and I always have been. Unfortunately, I feel like this is kind of destroying me as a person. Allow me to elaborate.

When I try to remember life before texting and the social media, it is hard to remember how I got by. How did I invite my friends places? How did I get asked on dates (well wait a minute, that never happened so I guess that's why I don't remember it)? How did I communicate with my friends? How did it feel to never worry about Facebook notifications or how many messages I had in my inbox? Honestly, it's getting harder and harder to remember a time when I actually had to communicate face to face with anyone. I rarely call my own mother on the phone. We text. And my sister? Texty texterson. My friends? Well, I can just get in touch with them via Facebook! No need to sit down and have an actual conversation!

Do you see my point a little bit?

Let me go a little bit further with this.

I was talking to my cousin, Ashley, yesterday about love and relationships. We were discussing our "troubles" and commenting on the woes of our good friends and family. When I got home last night, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason so many relationships go down the toilet these days is because there is no mystery anymore. Think about it. Girl likes boy. Girl finds boy's Facebook profile. Girl requests to be friends with boy and boy accepts. Girl frantically clicks through every photo of boy on his profile to check, rather than ask him, for potential girlfriends. Girl instantly loathes any female in the presence of boy in Facebook photos. Girl starts a story in her head about how boy led her on and probably doesn't even like her. Girl gets furrowed brow and decides she doesn't need boy and rather than talking to him, she will stalk his Facebook and see who he communicates with. Boy, meanwhile, has no idea any of this is happening since girl is going through a mental breakdown over a few harmless photos. Girl and boy may date, but it never works out because girl is so absurdly jealous by everything put up on Facebook. Because girl can communicate with boy via text message at any point during the day, she flips out when boy does not return messages in a split second and jumps to all the wrong conclusions. He must be with another girl. He must not want to talk to her. He must not actually want to date her. Screw 'im! Boy and girl get in fight later about "lack of communication" (how ironic) and boy walks away wondering how he could have done something wrong when he really did nothing at all.

You know this sounds familiar.

Think about when our grandparents courted (yes, courted) each other. What life must have been like to not have a permanent and instantaneous connection to a potential lover. If a boy liked a girl, he asked her on a date. The girl would have to go through the process of getting ready for the date without speaking to the boy until the moment he picked her up. How exciting that must have been! Getting ready for a date, allowing your heart to race in anticipation for what you might discover about the other person. After going on a date, the boy (or girl) would have to decide if another date was in order. Right then and there. Or they would have to call one another to set up another one. During the day, neither one would be communicating constantly. Boy and girl would have no idea what the other had been up to (scary and exciting all at once), so if there were a second date, there would be plenty to discuss at the dinner table. What did they do that day? Where did they go? Who did they meet? I can't imagine this type of interaction ever occurring anymore. Why? Because technological advances make it almost impossible. Unless you and your partner make a conscious decision not to use technology with one another during the day, this scenario can never exist.

I'm not saying technology isn't great or that it isn't fun to post photos on Facebook or to "check in" when you've arrived somewhere spectacular (I'm guilty of it just as much as you are), but there was a time when people had to rely solely on the art of face-to-face interaction to decide how they felt about one another. Marriages are ending left and right these days and I'm sure part of the reason is due to a lack of good and true communication. You can't say you communicate with your significant other if you are watching Facebook throughout the day. You can't say you know how he/she is feeling just because you got a few texts every couple of hours. You can't get jealous about pictures that have been posted if you haven't asked the person any questions about his/her life.

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I guess I was born in the wrong era. If you don't give yourself a chance to truly miss someone, you might miss out on an opportunity. Spending too much time with one person can often be maddening; everyone needs a break. So why do we refuse to take one?

And is it hypocritical that I am posting my thoughts about this issue on a blog, which is a tool given to me by the power of technology? Of course. Unfortunately, it's the only way I felt anyone would "listen."

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