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Living Well - Relating

Relating in the Technology Age
Kylie G. Cole, Ph.D.

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.
~Leo Buscaglia

These two quotes about relationships seem to give differing advice. One suggests that relationships are all about closeness and the other states that some distance is desirable. In which do you believe? Is a nice balance possible?

There are some new challenges to having healthy, balanced relationships with friends, family, and partners that previous generations did not even consider. In a world where technology allows us to be closer than ever, without the benefit of face to face conversation, there is plenty of room for misunderstandings.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
~A.A. Milne

Tips for Communicating with Technology

  • Consider Type. The type of question you have should influence the type of communication you choose. For example, if your question is, “Movie, 7pm, Meet U There?” then texting is okay. If your question is, “I’m wondering where this relationship is heading?” a face to face conversation is probably in order.
  • Think Ahead. Once you post text or photos online you can’t take it back. And as much as we want to believe MySpace and Facebook are simply fun sites for friends, many employers use these sites to “research” their potential employees.
  • Take a Break. We often shoot off responses to emails and texts quickly. This can be bad if emotions are running high. If you are prone to impulsivity, you might want to check with a good friend or wait a day before hitting reply. Or worse….reply ALL.
  • Interact with People. While the virtual world has definite perks (taking online classes in your pajamas), don’t completely isolate yourself from human contact. The best way to get over social anxiety is to interact socially, and in an age when we can order pizza online so we don’t even have to talk to the pizza place on the phone, it is easy to isolate.
  • Keep your Nose Out. Some have called it virtual spying. It is quite easy to know what others are doing, and when, and with whom. If you relationships (or breakups) revolve around checking up on others and becoming upset by what you find, take a break for a while, don’t go to their pages, leave emails unopened, and don’t respond to texts. It is hard to move on from a relationship if you know the person’s every move.


  • If communication or social anxiety are concerns for you, check out the Counseling Center group program. 581-1392


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