Do you remember the days when you would go to the park and meet new kids and instantly become friends with them? You would play in the dirt for hours, ride bikes around the neighborhood, and constantly beg your parents to go over to play at their houses.
But now with the rise of technology and the increase of digital screens in households, children, teens, and adults are more likely to make friends online. Technology has also changed the way friendships work.
One night my father was telling me about his high school experience and what he did with his friends. He told me of all the shenanigans they got into and all the fun activities they did. They would ride to school games with a couch in the back of the trunk, have parties after football games, hang out and study for tests and projects while spitting skittles into a bowl, and talk for hours on the phone after school.
As I sat there listening to all his stories, I thought about the similarities and differences between friends today and in the past. Friends still hang out and talk for hours, and they still have parties and go to school events. But there are many differences as well. Friends constantly interact with each other over text and various social media platforms. There also seems to be a decline in face-to-face communication outside of school. Cellphones are a major factor.
It seems that when cellphones became more prominent in day-to-day society, teens significantly encouraged the use of these devices. The older versions only allowed phone calls, but it helped teens communicate more effectively and get to know each other more personally. Now, with the current and most modern versions of cellphones, phone calls have significantly declined as texts, social media posts, and instant messaging have rose in popularity in its place.
What we as a community have seem to have forgetten, is that it is so much easier to call someone on the phone and be able to hear others voices. Hearing the tone of a voice helps people determine the actual meaning behind the words and not cause any sort of miscommunication. In face-to-face communication, you can see nonverbal language as well. In today’s world, we are left with only the words we read via text message and aren’t able to rely on the tone of voice or nonverbal language relayed in the message. Miscommunication is much more prominent over text, leading to arguments faster.
So the next time you want to really get to know someone, call them or sit down with them and have meaningful discussions. If they aren’t available at the moment, use texts as a way to schedule time with them. Shoot a text their way and ask when you can talk to them. Take time to have meaningful discussions with those around you. You might actually find out that you have more in common than you thought.