How The Internet Stole Our Relationships
It is one of the best ironies of life – the very thing that is connecting us to millions of people around the world is also taking killing some of our most intimate and valued relationships. But we cannot blame this solely on the internet. We are responsible for the hollowness many of us feel where our relationships and friendships are concerned. We are lazy, there is no sugar coating it. We had rather spend time chatting to strangers we have no emotional or mental attachment/connection to…than sit down with our friends of 10 years and deal with the fact that there are cracks in the relationship. We had rather sit down and flick through other people’s pictures and status on Facebook in order to get the 411 on their lives, when the 411 on our lives stinks like dog shit.
I am not against connecting people with people on the internet. For crying out loud, the person on the other end could be the key to you discovering some part of your destiny. However, we are using that as a smoke screen when we really need to sit down and deal with the shit on our door step.
What happened to the days of letter writing, when you sat down, took your time, thought about what you wanted to say and then wrote down the words that came from your heart. Okay, some of us faked it then and even lied but at least, you wrote the letter. Do you remember that feeling of getting a love letter in the post from your man or lady who may be living across the ocean, and how you caressed and romanced the envelope time and time again after reading the letter. You know, the one you put under your pillow and slept like a baby with a smile on your face the whole time, well, that is until he or she pissed you off again. How about your pen pal, the one you have never met yet you share ideas and experiences in your letters or the school mates you kept in touch with after your school days.
Now we have the internet, it is helping us connect but some of us are still as lazy as ever. We don’t bother to reply to people’s emails sometimes and when we see them in person, we don’t even acknowledge that we got their email. Technology has given us mobile phones, emails, text messages, voicemail…how else do people want you to communicate with them? Knock them on the head and then go down for GBH?
If there is one thing journalism has taught me, it is to get back to people in time because nothing waits for you especially when you stand to gain more than the other person. I have noticed in some cases, if money is involved, we will get back to people in time or if it is work/business related, we don’t joke about with those. However, when it comes to our relationships, the ones with people we claim and profess to value, we treat them like they can wait. Well, keep doing that and one day, they will be gone. Reminds me of a very close friend I used to have. I loved her then and I love her now but things changed the day she said something that made so much sense. I had been busy for a little while and heard nothing from her and so one day, I asked her if she had moved on and she said, no, that was not the case…this is what got me…’even when we talked a lot, you were the one that called.’ That for me was like, okayyyyy. Thanks for letting me know. So, I took a step back just to see if anything would change and it didn’t. In as much as I loved/love her as a person, she is sweet, a gem but I could not continue like that. A relationship is a two-way-thing and if it happens I am the one who always calls and talks, then I am in the wrong place. I felt selfish on some level because she always did the listening but on a different level, felt cheated because I had shared so much of myself and didn’t know much about her or what was going through her mind. This relationship would go on to become the benchmark for learning and approaching others. Now, I know how to keep my phone the way it is. If it does not ring for a month, that’s fine by me. If emails come to mind, I will send. If it is text messages, I can do that too but I do not chase after relationships anymore. That was the biggest lesson I learnt from the experience.
Now, do not get this wrong or twisted, we owe it to ourselves and friends to invest time into our relationships, something I am still learning. The effort we put into it should be effortless. However, any imbalance in my opinion is not good or healthy because one party will one day feel left out. I know we live in a world that is always on the go and we are all busy but for crying out loud, technology has simplified everything, yet we are still so damn frigging lazy.
While I won’t say go and send 100 emails a day or start chasing after people, do keep in touch with them. Keep the traffic moving or that relationship is going to end up on a-dead-end alley and you will have no one but yourself to hold accountable. Go on, make more of an effort to keep the connections going. But if you recognise a relationship is an extra luggage, then drop it gently and remain civil and the ones you cherish, treat them right.
Funny, there was a time when I would go over my monthly minutes and pay extra for my phone bill, sometimes to the tune of £100 or more. Lately, in fact for the last one year, the max I pay is £20/£30 and that is if I have used my mobile phone to call Nigeria directly. There are months when I still have credits of over 100 minutes left and it just gets wasted. How time changes things right? But I have no regrets. Life is in seasons and cycles and you must adjust to the one you are in, in order to embrace the next one you are about to enter into.
The current connections I have, I may not always get it right but I do the best I can to keep the traffic going. So, I speak to myself and anyone who reads this, keep the relationship traffic moving. Not bad for a girl, who can shut down and shut you out…what can I say, people change 🙂
On that note, stop using the internet as the junction for all your meet-ups, get off Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace and any other socail networking website you are having an internet love relationship with. Call the friends you have not seen for a while and go out, spend sometime together and talk, you know, woman-to-woman, man-to-man. Do something old fashioned and hang out 🙂 If they live far away, get on the phone.