I don’t know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with my technology. I happily leave my phone at home when I am out in the woods, for instance, but then wish I had it with me to take photos of beautiful views. I try to make rules for myself about when and where I am allowed to look at it, but it’s still my alarm clock, and although I rarely need an alarm to wake up with these days, I need it to wake me up when I have somewhere to be. I love the convenience, and hate that I’m so dependent.
When I was in Colombia in February, you’ll recall that I didn’t speak a lot of Spanish and was also travelling alone. The only “company” I had was when I could use wifi to chat with the boyfriend, my assistant, my editor, and anyone else who would interact with me.
The whole experience of only being able to type to communicate for the entire time I was away got me thinking:
How have relationships changed with technology?
How well can we possibly communicate with only a tiny keyboard and rampant auto-correct?
This led me to investigate new ways of being with my phone and the relationships in my life (something I have also pondered here).
To start, I went to Tara’s Play Group, (a private Facebook group you’re invited to join!), and asked:
“What are the last three texts that you and your sweetie exchanged?”
What I found was a lot of what I expected: Folks forgot their lunches. Some couldn’t find a place to park. Some were encouraged to shop for things that would bring joy. Many plans were made to consume food. One couple was shopping for dog beds.
There were also proclamations of love with expletives for emphasis. But on the whole, the text messages were hardly love letters.
I considered how relationships looked 10, 20 and 50 years ago. My grandparents didn’t text, they would make plans (and keep them); my grandfather would call on my gramma to see her. My parents relied on notes left on the kitchen counter to communicate when they couldn’t manage to connect in person. I would write notes on loose-leaf paper, fold it carefully into an origami square, and slip it to the high school boy of my dreams as we passed in the hallways.
The reality is, technology is a huge part of our current relationships and it’s here to stay. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s splintering our conversations with our loved ones into a bunch of disconnected updates.
Maybe we need to think about being more intentional with our communication, and consciously notice how it fits into our lives. Just like with the inevitable shifts that come in relationships over time—from the ooh-la-la-in-love stuff to the mundane and settled—our technological exchanges seem to shift, as well. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get a say in it.
The reality is, technology is a huge part of our current relationships.
One action item I am taking on is to really notice my partner and the people with whom I communicate. Instead of the usual equivalent of a non-verbal grunt over text, I am taking time to notice and see. I am telling my Mister that I loved watching him play with the dog this morning and that I really appreciate that he made me coffee before leaving for work. I’m starting to write actual letters to share news, instead of drafting an email or a short text.
What do you think: does technology have a negative impact on your relationships? What will you do to be more present while also using it?
Its time to get real, like sexy real.
Tara Caffelle is a Relationship and Communication coach. She is passionate about creating connected, almost-uncomfortable-to-watch relationships that are based in Sexy Communication and Big Lives worth rolling around in.
Tara is based in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver and offers custom-designed coaching programs. To claim your free 90+ minutes and see what might be possible for your own super coupledom (or persondom), find a time here.
Have a question for Tara? Have an idea for a Hump Day conversation? How about just some thoughts about this thing called life? Let us know here. We’ll answer back. We promise.