3 Areas Of Life Where You Must First Disconnect To Actually Connect

by Kelly Weatherwax

The art of communication can be traced back to when living beings were first put on the earth; it allows us to develop and grow properly.

It is how we interact with one other, how we express ourselves and how we put ourselves out there into the world.

It is important to remember that even though not everyone hears you, someone will always hear you.

There are various levels of communication and, thanks to technology, a number of platforms to communicate on.

You can share your thoughts, opinions, feelings or just basic knowledge to the world with a few clicks of the mouse.

But, this begs the question: Is technology stunting our interpersonal communication skills and rather just helping us to communicate with the Internet?

Let's examine this question in the scope of the following areas of our lives:

1. Relationships

In the past, we would meet new people or indicate interest in someone simply by introducing ourselves or "asking them out." Yes, that was once a thing.

That has changed; now, the initial interaction of meeting someone transpires on an app with a few pictures and pick-up lines.

We no longer get the deep connections we crave because we are interacting with screens rather than people.

We see the "..." more than we see someone's facial and body reaction to our stories, questions and answers.

Everyone is naming these dating cultures and trends that technology has caused, but no one is doing anything about it.

We are pointing out our culture's flaws, but not putting down our phones or even enjoying nice meals without them.

We should know it is okay to interact in person — better yet, it's preferable.

Our phones and technology separate us from reality to the extent that we often miss the cravings of human interaction and good conversation our brains insist upon to stay sane.

The next time you're on a date or getting to know someone, stop scrolling through your newsfeed and notice him or her: his or her body language, reactions and other little quirks you miss by putting a screen in-between one another.

Because when you pay attention to the little things, they become the big things and will make your connections deeper.

2. Professionalism

It is no secret that technology has changed the professional culture and helped push forward the more casual, laid-back industry trend that is sweeping offices of large companies and start-ups like wildfire.

You no longer need to wear a suit to work at most companies, and beer and wine are readily available for employees in the lounge rooms that also include arcade games.

The culture of the common workplace has evolved, so has how we communicate in the workplace. Bosses these days want to be "cool," "laid back" and thought of as pioneers of Generation-Y and its culture.

This leads communication in the workplace to take on a more casual tone as well, where we add colleagues on social media and communicate through instant messaging systems.

It is easy in these situations to forget that you are being watched and tracked, especially on work networks. What you communicate in these instances can alter your career path negatively if you are not careful about what you say.

A large issue with adding colleagues or professional connections on social media is how we communicate grammatically; it's as if people log onto Facebook and immediately forget everything they learned in school.

Not only is the grammar sub-par, but what we post and like on social media plays into it as well. I have witnessed individuals being fired or warned by management for what they post online.

We are communicating with the world through social media and forgetting that when we communicate with the world, we lose all basic privacy. There is no limit, no matter the privacy settings you set, to who will see it.

The pictures, opinions and feelings you post online is you communicating to the world how you want to be portrayed.

It is important to remember how you portray yourself is very important if you are a member of the professional world or hope to be one day. Post wisely.

3. Family

Have you looked around the restaurant when you were out to dinner recently? Probably not because most people are glued to a screen.

Parents out to dinner will keep their toddlers and young children entertained with iPads while they text or play games on their phones until the food arrives.

It is a little sad to be honest. Dinner used to be a time when families could reconnect and talk about their days and now, that connection is being replaced by popping bubbles on an app.

When I was growing up, my family was always together — and I am not just referring to immediate family. We would set beach dates, cookouts, family reunions or just a nice weekend visits, religiously.

My family was always getting together because the only way to know what was going on in each other's lives was to either pick up the phone and dial or get together; one usually led to the other.

Not only was my family physically communicating at every possible chance, but we would also write letters and send pictures to our relatives we couldn't see as often.

Today we have lost that connection and communication with our families because we see everything and communicate more readily through social media.

You may be asking yourself what my point is because you'd think social media would make it easier for us to communicate, thus we would be closer. I beg to differ.

When our lives are displayed on Facebook for everyone to see, they may scroll, comment or like, but is that leading to a conversation?

Is that going deeper than a nice, "Oh you've grown up so nicely, congrats!" I don't believe it is.

We feel as though we know everything that is happening in everyone's lives from their posts to the extent that we forget to ask about the details.

Therefore, we lose that deeper connection that was once just so easily made.

There are so many areas in our lives where technology has transformed what is now normal, but that does not necessarily mean we need to let that take away our basic communication and the way we are able to form and nurture relationships.

I sometimes find myself so involved in my phone and what is happening in other people's lives that I find myself ignoring the people in the same room as me and instead, selectively listening to them.

Being in the present moment and deepening our connections it is important. Remember, to connect, we sometimes need to disconnect.