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The Loss of Intimacy

December 12, 2008

I’ll be the first to admit that I love technology. I covet gadgets like crazy and I search too many blogs in search of the latest greatest toy. 

Lately though, I’ve been finding the internet and cell phones and having the internet on cell phones to seriously detract from the intimacy of my relationships. First of all, I’d like to say that I do think technology can enhance and cultivate relationships, but too much of it can lead to disaster. 

I often find myself just texting someone to ask if they want to go to dinner [I live on a college campus]. I find myself e-mailing or texting my mom to ask her something that only a mom can know. It’s a matter of ease. With the internet we have no need to really work at maintaing relationships. All we have to do is hit the ‘Send’ button and we feel like we’re staying in touch with people. Again, I want to make a full disclosure that this is often true and good, but too much of it in substitution of real conversation and face to face meetings can lead to just as much harm as benefit.

The high-speed world has also made it much easier to avoid conflict or reveal things about ourselves that we normally wouldn’t. I know multiple people who have broken up relationships with a text message or an e-mail. They didn’t have the gall to sit down and talk to each other in person. How often do you resolve conflicts with your phone or your computer? We lose our courage when we’re physically with someone, but get us behind a digital mask and all of a sudden we have all the confidence in the world, ready to spout our opinions and feelings to anyone who will listen [i.e. LiveJournal, blogs, etc.]. As I mentioned above, we also tend to reveal more of ourselves when we can just write them and send them and we don’t have to see immediate responses or facial reactions. There was an article in the USA Today a couple days ago that said almost 40% of high school girls have texted nude photos to their boyfriends, and almost 60% of high school boys admit to seeing one of these photo messages. Isn’t that disgusting? 

The high-tech world has without a doubt made relationships easier to maintain…on the outside at least. To lose that face to face contact though is so detrimental. I’ve been challenging myself lately to call people more often and at least hear a voice. Or stop and talk to someone and ask how they’re doing instead of sending them a message in the middle of class. Challenge yourself. Unplug yourself. I have as hard a time of this and you do, so a little grace would also be nice. 

Work on maintaining intimacy. Don’t use the internet or your phone as conflict resolution. Don’t use technology to get out of talking to someone face to face. Don’t use the wireless world we have gotten ourselves into as an excuse to live inside an online community instead of the real thing. 

Think about it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. pochp permalink
    December 12, 2008 3:06 am

    jeremy– I have seen advice like this before but it’s good to be reminded.

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