Technology and the media play more of a role in relationships than most people may think. While it can bring people together, it just as easily creates distance. I wanted to experiment with how removing certain forms of technology would affect my personal relationship, so for one week my significant other and I decided to only call each other, no texting, and to give up social media completely. It sounded simple at first, but became much more complicated as circumstances changed.
In the beginning of my current relationship, social media seemed like a way for us to grow closer. Before we ever even met, I would scroll through his Instagram photos and he would comment on my pictures. It sounds crazy, but it made meeting him in person for the first time so much less intimidating. I felt like I knew a little more of him because I understood his internet life. Of course, he became so much more than I ever realized, but social media provided a helpful start for me getting to know Bryan. Even now, as we are coming up on one year of dating, it is nice to scroll back through my social media accounts, see how we have grown and remember our “greatest hits” from the past year. Even though this makes social media seem important to the relationship, giving it up actually turned out to be not too difficult for Bryan and me.
Instead of it being hard for us to abstain from checking our Facebook feeds, we found we had more time to be productive, which is so important in college life. I woke up the first morning of giving up social media, and when I would usually be scrolling for at least an hour, I was making oatmeal and picking up the unfinished book on my bedside table. Before bed, I was journaling instead of sharing with the world about my day. I found all of this to also calm daily anxieties. I was no longer constantly comparing my day to that of those I follow, but instead taking care of my own mind. On the relationship side of it, Bryan and I soon felt like our relationship was becoming more personal. We did not feel like we had to share every portion of our relationship to social media. In this way, we were no longer trying to compare ourselves to other couples or worry about what people thought of us.
Bryan and I met in high school through mutual friends, but we actually went to different schools. We both had crazy working schedules back then, so texting was immediately important to us because we could not see each other as often as we do now. This created a habit of overly consistent texting. Once we moved to Charleston, I began to notice how often we really did text, and how this was something I wanted to change. Once we decided to give up texting, I realized how hard it was to not text every thought that came into my mind. This is how it is in most relationships. We have all texted our every move or just have had pointless small talks, whether with a significant other or best friend. After a week of no texting (well…some texting), I realized how much more exciting my relationship became. I would wake up and be so eager for when my “good morning call” would come through. I began making lists of all the things I wanted to tell him when I saw him next. When we were texting constantly, I would see him and we would run out of things to talk about. It was not because we were losing interest, but because we were constantly sharing EVERYTHING going on through our phones. But in-person conversations connect you differently. They create a different kind of relationship that is more genuine and balanced.
Overall, technology and social media have the power to make or break a relationship. Learning how to balance the right amount of each in your personal life can help create a path for more genuine relationships. In person communication and sharing is so important in modern relationships because of the increase in the number of social media outlets. Take some time out of your day for one on one talks with your significant other or best friend and you will see what a difference it makes.