I don’t know about you, but I feel like technology is destroying our relationships. We’ve forgotten how to communicate raw emotion without emojis or memes. We resort to impersonal forms of communication because it’s easier, or more efficient, or less serious. We can’t help but stalk someone we like on Facebook or Twitter to get a glimpse into that person’s life before we actually have a solid conversation, because what’s small talk if you don’t already know everything about their life? And the biggest of all mysteries in a relationship: texting.
Texting has to be the most evil of all technologies when it comes to miscommunication in relationships. While I think that most conversations should be had in person, it is still nice to send or wake up to a good morning text, or simply keep in touch with your significant other throughout the day. But when it comes to solving issues or expressing deeper sentiments, texting is not the way to go. No matter how politically correct or grammatically accurate you are, there are ample opportunities for your words to be misinterpreted. You might be able to do damage control after an autocorrect mishap, but there is no other way to capture the truth of how you are feeling, the inflections in your voice and sentiments of your words by way of text message. If possible, it is always better to talk in person or by phone.
Also, just FYI, the “Sorry, I didn’t get your text” phrase is a cop-out. It’s one that I myself use on the regular. So to friends and family who might have been on the other end of that line — I apologize. If anyone can attest to having phone problems, it’s me. Before my glorious upgrade to the iPhone 6 (my baby), my cellular device would die on me at no less than 78 percent. Through its baseball-in-window shattered screens and all, I still received text messages. Yes, I would read a text and forget to respond, or simply choose not to. But no, my phone does not randomly decide to filter out certain messages so that I don’t “get them.”
Many times in relationships, the easiest way to avoid conflict is by saying we didn’t “get” that message — that way it’s nobody’s fault. I say that it’s OK if you don’t want to deal with a situation in that moment, or don’t want to talk to that person.
But ignoring a text might not be the best way to handle it. As cliché as it sounds, honesty is key. A simple response letting that person know you’ll talk later could be the best way to say you’re not in the best mood to respond or you’re busy. You’re not neglecting the situation, but you’re devoting a time to deal with it later.
Also, is being FBO (Facebook Official) still a thing? Well, it shouldn’t be. I mean, for those who want to put their relationship statuses on their social media, go for it. I do believe that relationships are private matters that eventually become more public in time, but the amount of publicity should be up to the couple. Back in the olden days when Facebook was more than a place to store photo collections, it seemed like a couple had to publicize that they were officially together to validate the relationship. But since when does advertising a relationship make it true?
Let me ask you this overused metaphor: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Depending on your philosophical approach, it does indeed make a sound. The same concept applies to relationships.
Should it matter how many people know about the relationship to make it valid? It’s not up to friends or family or Twitter followers to dictate where, when or how your relationship status should be broadcast to the world. Also, it makes the breakup that much worse on both ends.
On the note of publicizing relationships, I feel that this too can create a war zone for onlookers. So often, we see couples posting cute photos and kissy faces, and we either gag or gawk at them, wishing we too could be on that level with our significant other or wishing they would get a room. We immediately compare our situation to the ones we see others promoting, whether or not we are in a relationship ourselves. We desire what they have or point out their flaws. In these situations, I feel like it’s hard to remember that we only broadcast on social media what we want others to see. The cute dates and gushy posts are only part of the couple’s story, not the full picture. We have to remember that every relationship has its ups and downs, so we need to stop comparing and contrasting, otherwise we’ll think of all the things we could or should have and stop celebrating who and what is already in front of us.
I think technology and social media have benefitted our society in many ways, but sometimes we abuse the system. It’s great to keep in touch and celebrate the important people in our lives, especially in relationships. Just know when it’s time to close your Instagram, stop scrolling on your timeline and put down the phone.
I say, between my extensive knowledge of Taylor Swift lyrics and my love for Aziz Ansari calling out relationship faux pas in stand-up routines, I’ve got all the answers to your burning questions about love, life and the pursuit of happiness. Let me know what you’d like for me to address in my upcoming columns by sending questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting at @askogonna.