Tenderness vs. Technology – Why your phone could be making you feel disconnected and what to do about it.

By Cierra Martin

The twenty first century has completely reinvented what it means to “stay connected”. Over the last fifteen years, cellphones have become one of the most quintessential items grabbed before leaving home or even leaving a room. With the necessity of keeping your device essentially plugged in at the hip, a rising amount of people appear to be left drained, almost as if he or she was transferring their own “battery life” to their phone in order to keep it alive. Why is this?

The urge to know if someone is going to text them back or not.

Whether it be a family member, a best friend, or significant other, odds are at one point in time you were left feeling disappointed by not receiving a text or call from a someone. It’s a perfectly normal feeling. When you feel ignored, it is natural to allow yourself to feel down about it. However, allowing one self to take a personal hit each time someone doesn’t respond to a message or acknowledges content of yours on social media can lead to disillusion of the mind. No one likes to feel as if they are not important. As humans, it is our natural instinct to desire affection and companionship from others. With the efficiency of communicating through cellular devices, elevating a cellphone into becoming a necessary foundation in any relationship may seem ideal. Consequently, establishing a relationship with a person based on texts and calls is more likely to result in more heightened negative emotions when the other cannot maintain the pace of communication.

What many tend to forget from time to time is the evolution of communication itself. Reflect back on the process of finding information when you wanted to know something about someone over thirty years ago. If you wanted to know where someone was you couldn’t simply check their Facebook status or recent tweets in order to figure out where they were or what was going on. Although it seems outdated now with the presence of social media at the tips of our fingers, when put into perspective you may find an incline in appreciation for the ability to have instant communication even a possibility.

According to an analysis conducted by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Boston University utilizing divorce rates by state according to Facebook as well as a separate survey conducted per social media interference with relationships, many state that they feel the dependence on communication via cellular devices and social media have been linked to the failure in their relationships. People tend to feel drawn to wanting constant communication for a simple fact: it’s available. Having the presence of this communication at the ready and has often been discussed as one of the top pet peeves of significant others in relationships, as well as within familial and friend relationships. The psychological impact the feeling of rejection instills upon a person has been noted to lead to petty arguments and fights each person can most likely identify with having at one point in time.

“Why didn’t you answer my text earlier?”

“Why haven’t you called me back?”

“Why is it that you didn’t like my picture on Instagram?”

All of these can easily be avoided by a simple piece of advice: don’t worry about it. Stressing yourself out over such seemingly insignificant problem seems tempting in the moment, however when looking back on it you probably want to kick yourself for being so angry. Although feeling unimportant to those you care about most is upsetting, the fact of the matter is that YOU have the power and ability to do something about it or to let it go. Finding equilibrium between dependencies on updates on someone and disconnecting yourself from connection itself may seem to be unrealistic living in the digital age. If you are someone who craves texting or calling throughout the day, talk to the person about it. Acknowledging that you feel disconnected and or ignored when he or she doesn’t respond immediately to you is a positive step toward crushing the potential misconception that he or she doesn’t care. Talk about how important it is to you that you feel it is necessary to have communication a part of your life. If he or she does not agree or finds your requests to be a lot, try to find a compromise such as calling once a night or texting during only free time.

What if you’re completely drowning in even thinking of having a relationship based on constant contact? It’s okay. The progression of technology has advanced at a rapid rate within the last decade alone. You are not bound to a contract stating you have to take part in having the newest, fastest phone or create a Twitter account of your own. Ways to stay connected without feeling like you’re not participating like the majority of those who own these devices can be found by searching within yourself. You are the only person who has the ability to know yourself best. You have the choice to be as involved or uninvolved in the movement of mass connection through cellphones and social media. If you are content with the amount of connection you have to those close to you with the amount of communication you participate in currently, continue on.

On the other hand however, with the amount of different means of communication available at this time, it’s a good idea to utilize it. Taking advantage of the technological advancements present can be a fun and efficient way of knowing what is going on in the lives of people you care about. Whether it is through messaging, tweeting, Facebook statuses, or even sharing photos on Instagram, taking part in the celebration of high-speed connection can be enjoyable. Although some may claim it is unnecessary being that this technology wasn’t around over thirty years ago and people got along fine, it’s important to be accepting and open to how societal norms are changing; Even if that means liking your sister in law’s picture of her new puppy on Facebook.

The revamping of communication has proven to be a wonderful perk of living within the twenty first century. Creating and sharing between those you care about has become easier than ever before. Despite becoming the root of petty arguments over not responding fast enough or not liking your photo of your new haircut, the key to feeling connected in the lives of those you care about is merely to use phones or social media to the extent that makes you feel happy. So try not to take it too personally next time your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t respond to you after two minutes!



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