"Research has shown that if a person feels his or her likelihood of being rejected for a date is high, there is a better chance he or she will ask through a text rather than a higher risk way, such as over the phone or in person," said Derek Westra, a 23-year-old BYU senior who conducted a survey on the effects of technology on communication."
Balancing the many different ways of communication is great. Texting your partner throughout the day is actually beneficial to a relationship, but when it comes to limiting the time you could spend face to face, it's time to put that phone down. A little texting here, an E-mail there and then devoting your full attention to one another when the duties of the day are over is a must. However, many of us have fallen so in love with the ease of over-electronics communication that some even have a text-only relationship! Let me share how I balance them all, and save the less personal means of communication for those I can't see on a daily basis, or for those I'm not that bonded to. When it comes to my loved ones though, there's nothing like a face to face, personal and hearty conversation.
Social media is handy, especially for the out-of-high school folks like me who don't see their old friends every day. For those who live far apart from the people they know and want to stay in touch with, social media is effective. It allows you to maintain at least a mini-relationship with old friends, and possibly new ones!
You can share likes and beliefs, opinions and jokes, or you can share hard feelings, resentment and hatred on the occasion that people do tend to be more open behind a computer than in person. Either way you're learning about others -- and interaction of all kinds with other people is vital, in my opinion.
I spend a little time on social sites, and I enjoy keeping up with my old high school friends and sharing funnies or being able to share what all we've been up to. However, this doesn't happen to be my number one preference for communicating, and I tend to think it's the least important for people in order to be social. It’s a very nice luxury, just not the most beneficial for people-relationships of every sort.
I know I'm probably the only person left on earth who has pen-pals -- via letter writing and snail mail -- besides prisoners, but hey, those prisoners need someone to write to, right? I wasn't the kid who got set up with a foreign pen-pal during school, so I took up pen-palling those who'd appreciate my letters most -- prisoners!
What I like about an old fashioned written letter is the experience, the intimacy that can accompany and just the feel of someone's thoughts from a totally different world written on something that eventually makes it into my very hands. I can get comfortable on the bed with my chair-pillow and coffee and read whatever that person wants to share. Then I can pick up my own pen and paper and give them my feelings. The benefits I receive from old hand written snail mail is the relaxation of it. No fast-paced finger typing. No noise. Simple and always from the heart. Taking time to sit down from your very busy world when you could be doing anything from relaxing in the hot tub to having your hair done feels somewhat therapeutic.
It takes effort to write a letter, get a stamp and send it out. It's personal and there's no other form of communication quite like it. Or maybe it's just the writer in me who likes to see my own and others' personal thoughts in their own personal hand writing. I enjoy the excitement of seeing a letter from my two pen-pal ladies. They always give me insight into what different worlds we live, and it gives me the chance to sit and forget all about me and give them my full attention, try to give them something they may otherwise not have had, even if it's only a written friendship.
However, just like with social sites, this method isn't my most favored when it comes to communicating with my partner. I must admit though, a hand-written note here and there is very nice between two lovers, and we've relished over our sweet hand-written letters over the years. It's one thing we'll never stop doing -- just leaving a sweet letter to one another that hints just to what our plans for later are, or to give a quick "guess how much I love you" -- but it's certainly not the way I want to communicate the most. Notes are wonderful, just like clear tape, but like tape, notes do not always suffice. A face to face "I love you" is more intimate when you have the opportunity, and even better, you can always add a hug when in person! In my opinion though, letters are better left for quickies, or your pen-pal.
Texting is convenient and a nice feature to have, don't get me wrong. While I do tend to prefer old fashioned ways of communicating, I like an equal balance of them all. Texting is something I reserve for quickies, you could call it. Like when I am meeting a friend, or my partner and I are at work and we're sharing "I love you sexy's" or when I want to know if my parents need something from Wal-Mart. But when given the chance to experience a loved one face-to-face for a lengthy, heart-warming conversation, texting will never measure up.
The phone call. This is the method I use to communicate with those I hold dearest to my heart such as my grandmother, my partner, mother and sisters. While my mom prefers texting, I find that speaking on the phone and hearing my loved ones' voices is more comfortable. It can be soothing in a time of grief; it can be the next best thing to sharing a happy tear shedding in person. I mean face it, you really can't hear grandma's excitement rise to the verge of tears when you give her your latest good news if you’re texting it.
Visiting in-person is what I do with my next door neighbors and my grandmothers. I know that I'm always more than welcome there, and just showing up with a smile or home-made journal just for that person, it brings them joy. Both my grandmothers and my neighbor are close in age, and these days, a youngster showing up just to have coffee and ask how you are is a blessing. I mean, I'd have never seen the loving, immensely grateful expression on my neighbor's face when I showed up at her door with a home-made journal just for her or the time the journal was a kitten instead ... or the poodle. I can't get a hug from my grandmother via text message, and she certainly can't supply me with inspirational books handed down from her own mother via text!
As for my love life, my partner and I are personal when it comes to choosing our communication methods. We use our phones for talking and texting each other when we're away, but we've decided that in-person communication will always be our first choice rather than falling into the easy, convenient and impersonal texting. I feel that if the phone or internet was our basic means of communication, we would kind of fall away from the intimacy experienced with in-person, face to face communicating. I suppose no matter what new means of communication becomes available, there will never be anything quite like being right with your loved ones.