Developing Meaningful Relationships In A Technological World

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Developing Meaningful Relationships In A Technological WorldR2-D2, WALL-E, and Marvin the Paranoid Android are all depictions of technology at its cutest. These lovable characters stole the show and our hearts–making many of us long for a robot chum of our very own. With no hope of acquiring an android friend in the near future, we have opted, instead, to cling to our cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Yes, these technological devices have become our constant companions. And, unfortunately, our actual human relationships suffer.

How can we live in a technology-driven world, while developing and maintaining close, meaningful relationships with the people around us? It’s all about achieving balance and using technology in a way that fosters our bonds rather than shatters them. Here are a few tips to accomplish this.

1. Become familiar with the “off” switch

It wasn’t all that long ago that the human race could spend hours away from their phones without giving it a single thought. We went out for dinner, went to the movies, spent hours shopping–and never worried that someone had been trying to reach us. And the people that we ate with, shopped with, and watched the movie with had our full attention.

The people that are physically with you, today, deserve the same consideration. So, turn off your phone and leave your tablet at home. Focus on the people that want to spend some actual face time with you.

2. Practise delayed gratification

Many of us remember a time when you had to wait until your photographs were developed before you could share them with friends. Sometimes, this involved waiting a week or more. Modern society, however, has grown much less patient. In fact, we regularly interrupt our most precious moments to send photos, texts, and tweets to our adoring audience–preventing us from ever truly enjoying the here-and-now and the people in it.

Instead, try to master the near-lost art of delayed gratification and share your “news” after the event is over and everyone has gone their separate ways. And, learn to determine what events are too special to be shared.

3. Remember that nothing beats the real thing

There is nothing wrong with sending someone a virtual smile, hug, or an “lol.” But nothing beats a real smile, a warm embrace, and the actual sound of laughter. If your friend needs cheering up, take her to lunch–without your phone. If you haven’t seen someone for a while, set some time aside to re-connect. In person.

An online chat has its purpose, but nothing beats being able to look someone in the eye and form a genuine connection.

4. Take your “gaming” offline

Online gaming is another fairly recent phenomena. In the “old days,” humans played games together. Family room shelves were filled with board games like Monopoly, Life, and Clue. And adults met to play poker, euchre, or bridge. Families kept connected and friendships were forged.

Instead of spending hours glued to your laptop, trying to achieve the next level, defeat a faceless player in Katmandu, or build a bigger virtual farm, invest that time in having fun with your loved ones.

As Pastor Ed Young Jr. reminds us, “technology is a mirror that shows the world who we are.” So use your technology wisely and put your loved ones first. And stop hugging the Roomba.

How has technology impacted your human relationships?

Image courtesy of photos.com

Kimberley Laws
I am a freelance writer, avid blogger, illustrator, and aspiring novelist who thinks the world is a terribly funny place filled with bizarre things to observe--and, of course, comment on.
Kimberley Laws

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