About a week ago, an article crossed my feed on the wonders of technology and how technology has affected life in general and relationships.
Though something possibly trivial considering the era we live in, I wholly understand where the article was coming from as I am experiencing the effect of technology on my relationships.
Being a techie, being connected to my e-mail, social media and news feeds at all times is rather important to me, and so my smartphone is always connected, always on and always charged with battery life; I either have a power bank with me, or make sure my car is equipped with a charger. I believe this is the case for most people; whether studying or employed, leaving home without one’s smartphone is like leaving home naked.
However, the amount of connectivity our smartphones provide takes so much away from human connectivity and interaction to the extent that we sometimes forget how to interact, be hospitable and converse in socially acceptable ways. Though we may refuse to accept this, denial can only breed more children who are introverted in personality and deficient in character as they grow into adulthood as people who are inept at connecting with others.
Being in a relationship, which calls for always needing to be connected, there are certain fundamentals that I have needed to learn:
- People > News Feeds. Whoever I am with at the moment, whether at my initiation or not, deserves more of my time than my feeds, which will remain stored on my gadgets until I am ready to access them, after having spent time with the person. Yes, I may keep an eye on whatever notiﬁcations that come in, but I can choose to take action later.
- Language Competency. With countless services ready to relay messages for you and say for you what needs to be said, words have been abbreviated and shortened to unrecognisable jargon, robbing us of the proper use of language. I make sure that any form of text I send to people is done properly in order to preserve competency when typing or writing and to avoid using fragmented language and making spelling errors.
- Technology Can Wait. Technology will continue to morph into faster, smarter, more integrated, more highly capable versions with or without my participation. However, people, individuals and relationships require nurturing and a personal touch if they are to grow and mature. Failure to give relationships the attention they deserve will only lead to their deterioration and the loss of a connection.
- Live In The Moment. As clichéd as it may sound, being completely present in social situations prevents you from being robbed of memories and experiences that may only occur once in a lifetime. Spending time with the people important to you should be given priority over living life digitally, on a screen.
- Respect. Choosing to be disconnected from technology and focusing on people creates an environment of respect in which people feel that they matter to you, and do not come second to your digital life. Certain moments should be kept sacred and undisturbed by technology such as meals with family and time spent with your signiﬁcant other.
I love technology and everything that comes with it, but letting it take prominence over my relationships with friends and family is something that must not happen. If that happens, I would begin to lose the essence of being human, which is to interact with others and experience life in connection with my peers and the rest of society.
About the Author
Randall Tan is a millennial with a penchant for observing human behaviour and is curious about the mechanics of social media. He writes on matters that he experiences in his relationships and his observations of what he feels affects relationships.
Randall graduated with an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Data Sciences and Business Analytics.