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The Upside & Downside of Communicating through Technology

people on their phones

Technology can be an asset or a liability in relationships. Texting particularly has its benefits. It is significantly easier to shoot a quick text than take the time to call; you can communicate more often; and you can send a text message while you are doing other things (but never while driving!). The trouble is that because texting is so easy, we do it instead of talking. Conversations that really should be in person or at least voice to voice get short-changed because texting is more comfortable. It takes more effort, vulnerability, and time to call or meet in person. Yet effort, vulnerability, and time are all things you want in a friendship. It is harder for a friendship to really grow and remain connected when you primarily communicate by text.

Communicating through social media is also common. We post and update about our lives to our general audience. It is efficient, allows us to stay in touch with more people, and allows us to share details of our lives that we would probably not mention in conversation [for example, what my meal looked like last night, how I'm feeling at a specific moment, the odd experience in the grocery store checkout line]. Being able to keep up with so many people so easily can be enormously attractive.

Communicating well in a friendship makes all the difference. Good communication deepens friendships and helps you recover from problems in the relationship. If you want a friendship to grow, be vulnerable enough to have face-to-face and voice-to-voice conversations, listen well, ask more meaningful questions, and talk about issues in the relationship.


For more on healthy communication among friends, check out the Intentionally Friends chapter in the Relationship IQ Leader's Manual.