The Importance of Face-to-Face Communications

smartphone and importance of face-to-face communicationAs I watched my kids text each other from different rooms in the house, I wondered how much today’s technology is changing our relationships with friends and loved ones.

With email, texting and social media, you can almost go the entire day without actually interacting with people. Why is this a problem? Digital forms of communication are highly impersonal. You lose the nuances of body language, tone and emotion that come from talking face-to-face.

Growing and maintaining your personal relationships is part of creating a balanced life. If you have trust and understanding with your friends and family, it’s much easier to find balance in other areas of your life as well. You can focus on healthier eating habits, exercising and getting plenty of sleep when you have strong relationships to help support you.

Miscommunications are also a pitfall of using social media and other technologies to have important conversations with those who are close to you. You may unintentionally do damage to your personal relationships.

Real communication happens when we listen with understanding. You have to grasp the ideas or reasoning from the other person’s point of view. Having understanding and empathy is why in-person interactions are crucial to healthy relationships.

Here are 5 reasons why face-to-face communications are a valuable part of creating healthy, long-lasting relationships with friends and family:

Reading non-verbal cues
Body language is a crucial part of a conversation. You may say more with your expression, stance and hand gestures than you say with actual words. While a person may say they are doing fine or that nothing is bothering them, her body language may tell a completely different story. To truly be engaged in a conversation, you need to see and react to the person’s non-verbal cues.

More effective conversations
In-person discussions help boost the efficiency of your conversation. Rather than sending texts and emails back and forth half of the day, you can hash out the details in one face-to-face conversation. You are also more likely to avoid miscommunication or confusion during the exchange if it’s face-to-face.

Less chance of misunderstanding
It’s easier to misinterpret the tone or intent of a text or social media post. Sarcasm and humor may be lost in translation in written messages. Some people are just less clear and fluid in writing than they are when speaking.

A personal touch
Talking with someone face-to-face is just more personal. It means more to someone who is close to you to talk in person. Even picking up the phone to have a conversation is more intimate than sending texts or Facebook messages.

Increased honesty
Talking face-to-face keeps us honest. It’s more difficult to stretch the truth or lie when you’re looking someone in the eye. You are more likely to be yourself and be more authentic when you talk in-person. Those verbal cues also let you know if someone is being evasive or less than honest.

Go with your instincts
Your instincts can help guide you when you’re talking to someone face-to-face. You can get a better feel for what they are not saying, and if they really mean what they are saying. You can be a better friend if you truly pay attention and make an effort to be a good friend.

Has email, texting and social media changed your relationships? What can we do to make personal communications more “personal” again?

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