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Does Social Media Hurt Relationships

Is communicating through social media as meaningful as communicating face-to-face

Valentine’s day is coming up and should be a time to celebrate close relationships or even make new ones. Social media has allowed people to form many great relationships and brought together those who would have otherwise never met, but it may have also caused relationships to become less intimate. With so many different ways to interact though texting or online, face-to-face contact has become a much less common practice. It is much easier to simply send messages back and forth than to coordinate and actual meet up. There is no need to even leave the house or pressure to look nice for a partner when all they will see are words. According to Margie Warrell of ForbesNothing can ever replace the good old fashioned in-person conversations — where we cannot hide behind our screens and devices — in building truly meaningful rewarding and sustaining genuine (and often less than picture perfect) relationships.” There is far more to a conversation than just words. Face-to-face a person can experience tone of voice and body language. They can really get a feel for the emotion of what the other person is saying. So much is left out when all a person gets to experience are words.

It is also easier to hide in social media. There is no awkward silence to force a quick response and no need to confront real issues. It’s hard to just leave from a person sitting right in front of you, but it is simple to avoid sending another message. The other person could still be hurt, but over the internet one can more easily pretend they are not since they don’t have to see it.  Spending so much time talking over social media also reduces our ability to have real in person conversations. “The time we spend socializing online not only discourages face-to-face communication, but it also undermines our confidence at engaging in real conversations with real people about the real problems and issues that thread through our lives.” (Warrell). It may be easier to have a conversation over social media where people feel safer, but with the effort of a real conversation also comes meaning. A face-to-face talk is much more intimate and meaningful than one over the internet. Social media can still be very helpful to connect people, but nothing can replace an in person meeting.