There are millions of articles out there about how technology and social media are ruining the art of communication. Like every other 20-something, I disregarded those articles as something written by baby boomer reminiscing about the “old times before the internet and cell phones,” but recently, I’ve noticed that some of those articles may be right. I personally have social anxiety, so communication via text is a blessing, but its also a curse. I cannot communicate with someone unless its by text. I’ve gotten so comfortable with just texting, the thought of voice calls makes me uncomfortable. If i have to make an appointment with the doctor, I will put it off for weeks just to avoid making a phone call.
Face-to-face conversations make my skin crawl because I’m so used to communicating through social media, I don’t have to worry about body language and facial expressions. I tend to stutter and stumble over my words and most of the time I either lose my train of thought or I completely forget the correct words to put in a sentence. I tend misread social cue’s on when to laugh or smile, and sometimes I over-react with my body language (such as shaking my head no too fast or laughing too long). I’m so worried about making sure I’m doing the correct body language and reading the correct social cue’s that I don’t always hear what people are saying which can result in me doing incorrect body language because I’m just taking a guess at what they said (which can be quite embarrassing if I smile and nod when someone tells me their family member may be gravely ill…).
I rely on the pauses social media communication allows so i can read and think without having to worry about normal communication skills, but since I depend so much on being comfortable just communicating via text, I do not get out and practice communicating in the every day world.
It may be easier to talk to your friends through text message, but go out and have a drink while talking about your days. It will not only make you both feel better, but you will get closer being face-to-face. Take your mom to dinner, ask your sister to play a board game with you; anything is better than constantly relying on technology to communicate.
Now if only i could practice what I preach…