Technology is embedded in so many aspects of our daily lives, impacting how we work, spend leisure time and connect. For many of us, digital communication is the primary way we engage with others. Social media platforms can be extremely beneficial for helping us to stay informed about the lives of friends and family members around the world.
At the same time, ‘liking’ a friend’s Instagram post can feel like positive interaction, when in reality, it is not deepening connection. It can be so easy to become passive in the way we engage with technology, leading to endless scrolling and increased feelings of loneliness. Throughout this article, we will look at ways to optimize technology for enhancing connection and nurturing important relationships.
4 Tips for Using Technology to Strengthen Your Relationships:
- Schedule regular Facetime or Zoom sessions. It may feel like you are up to date with friends or family through their social media, but remember- people are generally posting the milestones and highlights of their lives, while foregoing more difficult experiences and emotions. Be intentional to check in with the people you care about over Facetime or Zoom (if you are unable to meet in person). Take the time to share about how you are really doing and feeling, outside from what you may choose to share online. Be careful not to allow social media to take the place of meaningful conversations and sharing updates about the ups and downs of life.
- Start a virtual book club or podcast club. Invite several friends to meet virtually to discuss a book or podcast- and if it goes well, consider making it an ongoing thing! Creating this space provides the opportunity to go beyond the surface and deepen connection as you discuss meaningful topics.
- Bond over online games. Try sharing in an online game with your friends as a bonding opportunity. This could look like playing a video game with a group of friends over a chat platform such as Discord. You may also consider hosting a virtual Jackbox night. The app Houseparty is also a great option, as it provides both video chat and an assortment of party games appropriate for a group.
- Download apps that promote vulnerability and connection. While there may be pressure on certain social media platforms to post the most exciting or polished photos, there are apps that allow you to simply come as you are. Longwalks is one app that provides daily prompts for reflection and facilitates authentic conversations with others. You may find that you feel closer to those in your life as you share transparently every day and support each other.
Technology can at times provide the illusion of connecting without actually requiring us to connect. It is certainly possible to utilize technology in ways that enhance meaningful connection and deepen relationships with others, though it does take intentionality and effort. Consider what small steps you may take in order to prioritize true connection as you engage with technology.
By Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.