Is the digital communication influencing and contradicting our relationships?

Email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Tinder ….. — all these social networks are an endless opportunity for connections in the digital world — but this is bringing new problems in the way we interact in our relationships and sometimes it can be a permanent distraction from real life issues without leaving space for solving topics face to face or focussing on necessary activities.

There are many fields for misunderstandings and wrong interpretations if the communication is overwhelmed of online messages. In my opinion these platforms are useful for short messages like “good luck”, “love you”, “happy to see you” or to give short and clear informations, but nowadays we often tend to lead long conversations and difficult topics via WhatsApp or mail. More and more people are often uncomfortable with face-to-face confrontation, so it’s easy to understand why they’d choose to use WhatsApp, mails or messages. But these messages are not able to transmit any empathy and there is an enormous lack of interaction and it brings often more confusion than we realize. For transferring information efficiently, the Internet is excellent. For transacting emotionally sensitive or satisfying connections, it’s not. I personally have made very bad experiences with these behaviors — private and professional — and I also tend to react by mail or WhatsApp when there is no other opportunity for a personal exchange. But in the meantime I´m convinced that this behavior is destroying relationships. Especially people with good communication skills and analytic behavior are tend to bring the own opinion on the table and they have the feeling of “I need to do this, I have to explain…!” Over the last three years I have made very different, but mostly very bad experiences with this idea of way solving a conflicts.

In some companies it´s forbidden to write about difficulties by mail and the team is constrained to talk personally about these topics. I think this is a future oriented way to come back to more personal exchange and to have people again more in the focus. We are all very different and we need respect for our personal needs! But how can we handle uncomfortable discussions in relationships? Many people are avoiding confrontation and the arguments going on electronically. But this way is often connected with destroying the personal needs for clarification and understanding and the outcome is worse.

Relationships are affected by online communication and we need more rules to balance the electronically way of interaction. Our effect on one another is much more intense when we meet in person. When a friend is going through a rough time, nothing substitutes for in-person communication. A gentle smile or a heartfelt hug has far more power than the cleverest emoticon to lift another person’s spirits.

And we need space for discovering the real people behind the “online personality” — we are not what we are writing and posting! And sometimes we need a break from all these online distractions to find the real purpose in our lives! Maybe this is one of the most challenging tasks in a world of endless opportunities and distractions. For most people it´s easier to avoid conflicts and to move directly to another social platform getting new approval — but without deeper meaning ….

It´s time to change our behavior? Do we need new rules for our digital communication?