To briefly mention the evolution of the various modes of communication, note the use of the following: the courier of western days, which included overland mail; telegraph; and Mr. Bell’s telephone. All of these endeavored to connect people located in areas too distant to run next door to visit or conduct business. Even then phone calls could only occur when there was an operator, and she held regular business hours. Since then we have traversed states and oceans using whatever means available until now, we use phones that incorporate becoming part of one another’s homes and daily lives on a regular basis many times without regard for any interference or imposition on them.
Respecter of Boundaries
Thus, if one is trying to cultivate, nourish, or renew relationships the challenge is to be aware of the best time to contact the person, and then respect that boundary. These boundaries relate to all forms of communication, and since cell phones come equipped with calling, texting, emailing, Facebook and Twitter capabilities the possibilities are endless. In some homes a message using any of these modes is unacceptable for receipt during meal times, when guests are visiting for planned events, and during family times, unless a military service member is calling from the assigned duty station.
After agreeing on a good time to contact this undeniably special person, make sure you reciprocate by giving them your undivided attention. Inattentiveness is quite obvious even over the air waves. The television commercial where a gentleman has a date with an attractive woman, and she catches him following a game on his phone, captures what it means to give someone your undivided attention. In my opinion the best contact is face to face time.
A Personal Meeting
You finally have a meeting arranged so now is the time to display how important the person really is to you. You would do well to believe for a time that cell phones do not exist. Turning off the phone does not mean you will miss an important call or message, it simply means that, like in the “old days” you will get the message when you return home, or when you are not with this incredibly important person whose company you are thoroughly enjoying. However, turning off the phone does mean “off,” not vibrate or a single beep; we are too easily distracted for that.
Of course if you have a technology addiction, it may be that you need to reevaluate your goals in life; a real, living, breathing relationship with a person, or a piece of plastic that cares nothing about your body language or what you are unable to say. You may, however agree with this individual to indulge in a Saturday afternoon of taking your dogs to the park and catching up on your texting or emailing. At this crucial point, do you actually prefer your phone to your prospective partner?
If you don’t think problems can arise from idol worship of communication devices, consider the following: your significant other is used to being able to reach you at all times and something happens making this virtually impossible, have you wondered the consequences? Even something as simple as the battery dying, entering a no service area, or if you have been in a meeting and had to turn off the ringer for an extended period of time could introduce doubts into the relationship. While being mindful of boundaries, it might be wise to discuss these problematic technological possibilities at the beginning and agree to doable solutions for the future.
Once there is a viable relationship, will texting replace talking because it is quicker and “safer,” or just because the person you cannot live without has lost their importance? As with emailing, do remember to check carefully who you are texting and reread the message to ensure it says what you truthfully intend. And by all means do not text and drive; to do so sets you up for an expensive ride.
Financial Stress and Phone Bills
If the partnership evolves into something a bit more serious and permanent, have you thought about how you will handle phone bills? Presumably you each have your own plans and have found them quite successful, but one of your companies makes an offer you cannot refuse; you combine plans in an effort to save money. Then the all too often scenario happens. One partner loses their job and almost immediately incurs an inability to pay for their calls, texts, and other phone expenses. What questions will you consider in trying to resolve the issues? Financial stress is one of the most prominent destroyers of relationships.
Communication, one of the most important aspects of relationships often suffers by way of devices meant to give ease to our lives and provide more access to each other. It was so important to the space missions that without it, no flights would have taken place. But when their use replaces interpersonal relationships it is a demeaning and tragic day. A family member asked the other day why I chose to not “get on Facebook; after all I could keep up with family better that way.” My answer was clear, “Why, so they would have another excuse to avoid visiting?” So whether communication is between family members, friends, or business associates, respecting another person’s value and boundaries are of utmost importance. What phone habits do you have that detract from these personal items?
About the author: Kendra Johnson is a phone expert who loves to write about how technology is changing relationships. She writes about everything from dating tips to the benefits of a global wireless network.