Online vs. Face to Face Communication

Online CommunicationThe internet and social networking have changed the way we interact with people. I am new to Facebook and find the whole process intriguing. There have been many positive sides to online communication but we must be careful not to only nurture our relationships online.

You may feel connected with your friends who post frequent status updates but you are most likely missing out on the most important information. Even most social over-sharers will not post when they experience a soul crushing rejection or experience. Until you can get face to face with them and ask them how they are really doing, it is unlikely that you will be able to fully relate to them.

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Because people have a tendency to share positive news online and minimize the mundane or negative it can affect your view on normal life. You may wonder why your friends always seem to be going on trips, doing fun family events and achieving amazing things. But when you stop to realize you are only seeing the best of their life you can have a more realistic view on how your daily life measures up to theirs.

Interactions online tend to be brief and to the point. You may be up to date on what your friend ate for lunch and the last time she went on a date with her husband but you aren’t connecting. Friendship is more than just keeping tabs on one’s daily life, it is about supporting and encouraging each other’s dreams, hopes and wishes.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Facebook but be aware that it doesn’t fully represent the average life. Schedule time in for a face to face meeting with your friends and family to connect on a deeper and more personal level.

Benefits of Friendship

There is no question that nurturing your relationships in person or in cyber space is very important. A recent longevity study revealed that people with a number of close friendships live on average 7-8 years longer than those that don’t maintain the strong social connections.

When you ask people about their priorities they often mention their family and friends. Yet somehow these priorities are often ignored or postponed as they have no immediate deadlines. It may help to know how important relationships are to your overall health to motivate you to make your relationships a true top priority.

One study found that people with the most friendships decreased their risk of death by 60% over a 9 year period. Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a woman had the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. A lack of a close friend is equivalent to the risk of smoking!

Finding time to nurture our relationships with our children, our siblings, our friends, our parents and our significant others will enrich our lives. Spending time with people we truly care for that support and honor us will increase our energy levels. Women tend to embrace their relationships with other women and these connections can often be mutually enlightening and energizing. Make sure you make time for these important connections and try to make as many of them as possible face to face.  At the end of the day nothing is really more important.

Do you notice a difference between online and face to face communication? What are the implications of our increasing online communication and decreasing face to face communication?

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