How to Build Meaningful Relationships in a Disconnected World

How to Build Meaningful Relationships in a Disconnected World

This is the age of information — where dissemination is rapid and accessibility is right at our fingertips. Communication has been made easier and possible with just a few taps on our smartphones.

This is the age of information — where dissemination is rapid and accessibility is right at our fingertips. Communication has been made easier and possible with just a few taps on our smartphones. Ultimately, you would think that an increasingly interconnected world will somehow make us feel more connected.

In 2018, a national survey by Cigna of more than 20,000 Americans ages 18 and over showed that most U.S. adults are considered lonely. This was further backed by a YouGov report that found 30% of Millennials (ages 23–28) always or often feel lonely.

However, according to statista.com, “the power of social networking is such that the number of worldwide users is expected to reach some 2.95 billion by 2020, around a third of the Earth’s entire population.”

In the time of the internet where social media applications are widely accepted and excessive, why, then, are we feeling more isolated than ever? Why are we progressively disconnected from each other?

A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania found a causal link between time spent on social media with decreased well-being.

“Here’s the bottom line: Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness.”

— Melissa G. Hunt, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Social psychologist Sherry Turkle, in her book Alone Together, argues that “our relentless connection to the digital world is actually driving isolation.”

Furthermore, a 2013 study by Hanna Krasnova and a group of researchers examined the impact of envy on Facebook. The study concluded that “lurkers” who spent time looking at everyone else’s content, while not posting any of their own, felt especially dissatisfied. This behavior led to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and anger.

“Never in human history, our brains had to work so much information as today. We have now a generation of people who spend many hours in front of a computer monitor or a cell phone and who are so busy in processing the information received from all directions, so they lose the ability to think and feel. Most of this information is superficial. People are sacrificing the depth and feeling and cut off from other people.”

— Dr. Edward Hallowell, American psychiatrist

Conclusively, social media has made making connections hollow. When everything could be literally and metaphorically filtered, and information on our feeds expertly curated, there is no room for deep and meaningful relationships anymore.

psychology social-media mental-health emotional-intelligence relationships artificial intelligence

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