Technology has massively improved our collective ability to communicate, but if we’re not careful, technology will ruin relationships. While technology allows us to keep in touch with faraway friends and family and can help us “see” them via video chatting, it can also help us ignore the people in the same house, neighborhood, and town. Making plans, checking in with your partner or finding a date is as easy as sending a text message. However, is using technology to make plans or to express affection as good as talking in person?
The digital strides we’ve made may allow us to stay in touch with everyone, but they can harm our real-life connections. Keep yourself in check by making sure you don’t let the following four actions become bad habits to the point where technology ruins relationships.
1. Paying More Attention to Your Devices Than to In-Person Conversations
Everyone has been guilty of this at some point or another. You’re at home with your partner hanging out or you’re at dinner with friends and you can’t stop looking at your cell phone. Maybe there’s work drama playing out over email. Maybe you “need” to check this week’s fantasy football picks or maybe Instagram is beckoning. Whatever the reason, looking at your phone while you’re spending time with other people is not only rude, it signals to those you’re with that they’re not really all that important to you. Don’t dismiss your friends and loved ones. Instead, learn to detach from your device when you’re together.
2. Keeping Up With Friends Only Through Social Media
Facebook makes it so easy to stay in-the-know about what’s going on in your pals’ lives. But simply “liking” or commenting on friends’ statuses and photos certainly aren’t enough to keep a true relationship going. For acquaintances, digital correspondence is fine but you shouldn’t congratulate your best friend on her engagement via wall post. Make the effort to reach out to your friends over the phone, or even through email. If time is tight, wait until you have a few free minutes before reaching out.
3. Bringing Your Phone to Bed
Technology ruins relationships in the bedroom and there’s nothing less sexy than bringing your phone to bed. When you’re scrolling your news feed, engrossed in the mundane world of social media, you’re signaling to your partner that you’re not interested in having sex. (If you’re not, this is a great way to avoid it.) However, if you want to be intimate, put your phone away and make your bedroom a tech-free sanctuary for sleep and sex only.
4. Comparing Your Relationships to the Ones You See Online
To compare is to despair. It’s all too easy to take in the photos and posts you see on social media and assume that everyone else has a happier relationship, life, and family than you do. It only seems that way because most people don’t post pictures of their fights and frustrations. They don’t take pictures of their messy bathrooms or the dirty dishes that have been in the sink for three days. While social media is a way for people to share their lives, know that what they are sharing is curated—you’re seeing the best of the best. If you start feeling down about yourself and your relationships while viewing social media, it’s time to take a long break from it before technology ruins relationships.