Thanks technology, for my high expectations for communication.
According to many people, technology is failing us. It’s replacing face-to-face interactions with ones that are superficial and lack effort. But recently, I've found myself feeling failed by people who don’t use technology to communicate.
Think about it- you’re probably more likely to hang out with someone who lives close to you, and technology makes that not necessary. Your closest friends could be miles away, but as long as they're communicating with you, the friendship works.
But often, if someone doesn't communicate with us over the phone, we assume they don't want anything to do with us, despite having an amazing time together in real life. It's knowing they're on the grid, knowing you could shrink the distance between you two through technology that's so exciting. But it only is if they choose to use that to their advantage.
In other words, a bad communicator will leave you on open, ignore your calls, wait days to answer a Snapchat or text, or leave you on read. Now, that’s when technology isn’t failing us, but rather it’s the person choosing not to use it that is.
So I know communication is key, in a sense that you need to communicate how you feel to someone, so they aren't left in the dark guessing what you're thinking. But even though technology makes communication easier, it also can make it more frustrating. We can see if someone chooses not to respond. Compared to face-to-face interactions which are usually back and forth (unless you're just rude). It's not like you'd ask a question in real life and not receive an answer, most likely anyway.
Technology lets us put people on hold. It encourages those who don’t want to think about us, to simply not. "Out of sight out of mind" might not seem possible with how many ways we can reach someone now, but quite frankly it's still easy. And it hurts even more.
Because back in the day, you didn’t have to worry that you texted someone and they didn’t reply. Yes, you were left wondering when they’d pick up their answering machine or call back, but it's not like you could see their username on Snapchat and see that they opened it. There was no notification or read receipt. So yeah you might’ve thought the worst, or you might’ve just been more patient.
But technology and its ability to show us who’s choosing not to prioritize us makes it just more difficult to grasp when someone doesn’t like you/ you’re being ghosted/etc. It's like you have to be reminded of it, whereas back then when someone never called back you could at least try to forget until maybe you saw them around and the feelings of rejection resurfaced.
What I’m saying is, technology lets us communicate. But it also encourages people to not communicate. Sometimes people think, “oh if I leave them on open they’ll get the hint.” So there’s no need to call someone up or plan to meet up. With the ability to simply put someone on hold, see their question and never provide an answer, we are less likely to be honest with others.
Because how we use our phones lets us let people know we aren’t thinking of them.
I think if we have the technology we might as well use it. For all I know this person “ignoring” me is really just that bad with his phone. But that says more about him as a person than it does about communicating through a device.
So when can we stop making excuses for bad communication skills? It's not the phone that's failing us- it's the person. Someone on paper could be so different in person. Someone on the internet can be so different in real life. But if you want your relationship to grow in the modern world, all that needs to be cohesive. It is essential that you use technology to communicate.
Because even if you’re attentive to me when we’re together it doesn't matter. If you’re leaving me on open or waiting hours to open a message, all that cancels out every moment of eye contact you've ever given me.
I'm thankful we're able to text people when they're not with us or see a picture of their face when we're missing them. But sometimes I'm not so grateful for technology. It's created such high expectations for communication. I expect those who care about me in friendships and relationships to reach out frequently, because I know they can. And when they don't- that's when I question all the face-the-face communication.
I don’t care if you’re an in- person communicator, because if you cared, you would communicate that you do more than once a week- you would suck it up, pick up your phone and send a text. That's all it takes.