So Close, Yet So Far

Posted on February 20, 2018

There is no doubt that we have become more connected globally, with the advent of the Internet and smart phones bringing the convenience and the possibility of calling and even speaking through a video on the go. The thing is, the effects we prophesied years ago has come true: with the reliance on speaking through text or on the phone, we seemed to have lost the subtle art of talking face to face.

Speaking to another person face to face is unlike speaking to them on the phone in that it is not only the exchange on words and sounds. No, it is the observation of body language, subtle changes in expression that conveys a change in mood, a tone that speaks volumes about the other person's mood. Above all, the article highlights the importance of empathy through these various channels.

Empathy, measured via empathic accuracy, has decreased drastically over the years, especially since social media was introduced in 2001, as mentioned in the study by the University of Michigan conducted in 2011. As people on social media always post only the best things about themselves, people too tend to mask their true feelings by putting on a facade when talking face to face. When we engage in speaking through calls or texts and are unable to see a person's face directly, we become less trained to pick up on the hidden cues in expression or body language that helps us to see through these "masks", and are thus unable to communicate effectively with others and are more prone to misinterpreting the meaning of words.

Speaking to another person face to face in real life also provides another benefit in the sense that we are less susceptible to distractions from other sources, unlike when we are talking on the phone and multitasking by doing other things, like watching TV. Even video calls do not compare to talking to the other person face to face. Multitasking has been known to affect one's ability to focus, which would be the content of the conversation in this case.

Children suffer the most in thee aspects because it is in their early years that children really pick up their skills that will help them in their later years. Humans are social creatures, and communication is key to our survival. Have a little more real talk today, and practice that essential life skill of effective communication!


Category(s):Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance

Source material from PsychCentral


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