Whether we like it or not, technology appears to be taking over. People are seriously attached to their cell phones, ipads, ipods, etc. (fill in your favorite type of device). It is hard to have any conversation, casual or otherwise, without a vibration or beep from some sort of electronic device interrupting.
I can and do understand and appreciate that technology has allowed us to easily communicate with our friends, family, and partners. But, there is a line between COMMUNICATING with others and CONNECTING with others. Connection helps us understand each other and it helps us create and maintain stable and healthy relationships!
Recent research indicates text messaging is used in romantic relationships for positive and negative communication. I think it is great that technology can help us send messages of affection and interest! But it seems like we may be missing some of that in the face to face moments too- maybe because our face is in our phones! But, texting can also be used to broach confrontational subjects or hurt our partner’s feelings. Not so great! Relationship issues need to be discussed in a face to face conversation so that the intention of the message is clear, nonverbal cues are available, and misunderstandings can be avoided.
We teach in our relationship education classes how to communicate feelings to approach hard subjects or to express difficult emotions. We call it the “WIN Formula.” Check out the details below:
W-When this happens (explain the situation briefly)
I-I feel (again briefly explain how it makes you feel when this situation occurs)
N-Therefore, I need (explain what you need from them)
So, you can see how this technology obsession can impact any type of relationship, maybe for the good but maybe for the bad. Take a moment to reflect on how you use technology in your relationship. Then think about how you can integrate more face to face time into your relationships and use the “WIN Formula” instead of texting issues to your significant other!
– Julianne McGill
Coyne, S.M., Stockdale, L., Busby, D., Iverson, B., & Grant, D.M. (2011). “I luv u ;)”: A descriptive study of the media use of individuals in romantic relationships. Family Relations, 60, 150-162.