Has Technology Affected the Art of Conversation and Our Interpersonal Relationship Skills?
There is no question that technology has changed the world. The days of pulling over to look at the map to see where you are going, faxing information to those with whom we do business, and leaving voicemails to make contact with individuals all seem to be relics of the past. Communication is now instant, often with expected instant response, and information is at our fingertips with just a few keystrokes on our computers or smart phones. The ability to increase our knowledge has grown exponentially. The opportunity to interact electronically is now at our fingertips. However, at what cost has this advancement in technology been to our art of conversation and development of interpersonal relationships?
If you wanted to speak to a friend or family member before smartphones, you walked down the street, got in your car or met up at the local coffee shop or restaurant for a conversation. For those minutes you interacted with each other without disruption. You were truly interested in what each other had to say and were intimately involved in each other’s lives. Sundays were reserved for family dinners. We sat around the table in the evenings for our evening meals. Family outings involved interacting with each other on a personal level. While technology has brought so much to our lives, in some ways it has stolen those things that we held most dear.
Think about it. Picture the last week in your own homes. How many times were you sitting together on the sofa, having dinner, or in friends or family’s presence and the majority of that time was spent on your smartphone? How many times did you actually sit and have a conversation, asking about each other’s day or had an in-depth conversation about what was going on in each other’s lives? How often has our interpersonal relationship been with an electronic device, rather than those that we care for and love? For me, I think about this a lot and find myself guilty of all of the above. This caused me to examine the effect that this has had on my art of conversation.
There is no question that technological devices have become addictions. However, they are now ingrained in our lives and have become the tools that we need to accomplish so many things. Breaking that addiction has become difficult. Having better relationships with our devices than those we love has affected not only the art of conversation, but the interpersonal skills that we desperately need to regain the respect we need for each other as human beings, so that we can move away from the division that we experience daily.
While technology has served us well in our current Covid world, it seems that finding time for a break from the technology in the home, and outside the home in a post Covid world, is more important than ever. It will not only benefit our close personal relationships, but the way we see society as a whole. Good robust disagreement with facts and truth are healthy and building blocks for strong relationships. Relying on often incorrect information that spreads like wildfire through technology serves as a detriment to this effort. At this point in our lives, I believe that we can all use a scheduled technology break during our weeks. Take a walk together, share what is going on your lives, revive the art of conversation and enhance your interpersonal skills. That in itself may be the starting point for a better world.