The Devolution of Interpersonal Relationships

The advent of technology has provided a means for fluid communication on a global level. There is the ability to share ideas and develop them within this vast network of contributors. While there are great worldly advancements from the creation smartphones, it has become apparent that there has been a shift in the way communication occurs within interpersonal relationships. There have been drastic changes our approach to exchanges with others. In other words, direct and in person communication has been replaced by secondary and tertiary means of contact, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and texting. Rather than speaking in person, one might send a text message or organize meetings and events on facebook devoid of real contact with those intended to receive the messages. The troubling question becomes, how does technology alter the quality of communication and our interpersonal connections with others?

Nowadays, many conversations begin online starting with our casual search through public profiles. Initial exchanges from Facebook profiles replace first impressions ordinarily by guided by body language, emotional cues, and facial expressions. Problematically, we seek genuine connections with people we are unfamiliar with by limiting ourselves to only photos, status updates, and listed personal interests. Rather than using instincts to gauge behavioral cues, we are allowing ourselves to make judgements based on online content and text messages. On occasion, texts are supplemented by emojis which may be an expression of one’s personality or alternatively an exchange intended to be deceptive. As a consequence of relying entirely on an individual’s online identity, we genuinely are clueless when it comes to recognizing tactics of manipulation. In other words, text messages make it difficult to know the true meaning of what is being written.  

Before the rise of smartphones, first time encounters took place in person not via the internet. Sadly more often than not, friendships and relationships exist solely through online contact, not by going out on dates or following a system of courtship. Because relationships begin and advance so quickly online, they also dissolve just as rapidly. This is a consequence of failing to take the time to speak to someone in person and engage in activities that reflect common interests.

In order to improve our relationships with others, we need to make our first encounter occur in person rather than online. Thereafter, only speak over in person or over the phone. You will have great relationships only if you make that in person communication consistent. Problems occur when you remove that quality time and replace it with responding only through social media and text messages. All in all, stop texting, instant messaging, or posting on Instagram, and start speaking.

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