Electronic Communication and RelationshipsPosted: January 19, 2011
It seems like everywhere I read lately, the articles suggest that my generation is losing its social skills and ability to interact without a computer screen between them and the other person. If we eliminate the computer screens and mobile phones from our relationships, apparently our social skills will dramatically improve because we are forced to interact face-to-face, but why is this so certain?
Does electronic communication allow us to interact more conveniently at times when, with a little more work, it may be more successfully done in person? Of course, but this is generally with people you don’t have a substantial relationship with anyway. With individuals we have/want a relationship with, electronic communication provides a tool to enhance it. I say enhance because it definitely speeds up the progress of the relationship. Electronic communication allows us to talk when it was otherwise impossible to do so. We are technically able to communicate at any time and on our own accord. It also gives us a sense of comfort when we say things we would not ordinarily bring up until much later in a relationship. Topics such as our beliefs, sex, opinions, etc. which may seem like issues previously only covered when two people are/were extremely close to one another are now issues that can be discussed with ease at a much earlier stage in the relationship. These things often tell us if the relationship is worth advancing or not and discovering these things about people earlier is a positive thing. Essentially we aren’t “wasting” as much time getting to know people that may wind up as just another acquaintance. And speeding up the process with people we do want to pursuit a relationship cannot be a bad thing.
Electronic communication definitely acts as a crutch at times and allows people to take an “easy” way out of interacting with individuals we normally would be forced to deal with, but concluding that it is limiting our current relationships and disabling our abilities to be as intimate as we once were is wrong. The ability to communicate via electronics has only provided a gateway to improve my relationships and eliminate the ones that I am not interested in quicker.