We all want to feel connected, but how close can hundreds of "friends" really be?
Facebook and other similar social media sites have become the modern day Christmas card letter that paints the most appealing and glamourous image of oneself and family. It is very easy to create an ideal virtual picture for others... and then start believing the fantasy. It is also possible to miss your real life while you are updating, a tragic side effect of social media sharing that will not lead to the happiness you desire.
As a Christian relationship coach, I believe the key to a healthy relationship is to stay in the present moment, connected to who you are with and participating in the activity. I was recently at a football game with my husband and we invited two acquaintances to join us. One person was definitely into the game and the other stayed glued to their cell phone the entire time. Another time during church, the person sitting next to me was on Facebook throughout the sermon. The glare from the phone and the constant updating was very distracting. If you choose not to be in the moment, why bother showing up at all?
If you are glued to your phone everywhere you go, here is an idea of what you are communicating to those around you:
Constantly updating communicates a lack of respect.
There is absolutely no doubt that smart phones are highly addictive. From texting and driving, to constantly checking email and Facebook statues of others, to making sure one did not (gasp) miss a text, we are turning into a society that is training our minds to become attention deficient. Placing a higher value on social media chatter and gossip shows a lack of priorities.
If left unchecked, it is possible to forget how to have an intimate, meaningful conversation (in person) with your loved one. During my relationship coaching sessions, I teach clients the importance of mutual respect and open communication within committed relationships and friendships. If you cannot give someone you love and care about your undivided attention, you will suffer the consequences of choosing technology over friendship and emotional intimacy in love.
Multitasking is a myth.
Gazing at a smart phone places you out of the moment with your loved ones. You are not participating in what is going on around you. Habitual checking only conveys the message, "You are not that important to me" to the other person. Eventually, friends and loved ones will believe they are not high on your priority list. It is the unspoken actions that speak the loudest.
Encourages superficial relationships.
The needs and desires of your heart cannot be met through a sense of popularity or importance through social media. True validation of the person God made you to be comes from personal, intimate relationships: most importantly with God, with your significant other or spouse, family members and good friends. The more you focus on these small but significant habits of building networks of superficiality, the less fulfilled you will become and mistakenly believe more likes and acknowledgements from friends will fill that void.
As a relationship coach, my experience with couples shows everyone wants to feel important and loved. All technology has positive aspects as well as detriments. There is absolutely nothing wrong with social media sites and using those connections to stay in touch with those you want to keep in your life. The key, however, is not to collect thousands of friends, but to wisely use your time and efforts that benefit your quality of life.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Get the free report: Is He the Right One? and learn about coaching options Nancy has to offer.
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