Isolation is one of the main reasons cited for the decline of conversation in America. With more people than ever choosing to communicate remotely, we are missing out on opportunities for human connection. Why are Americans losing the art of conversation, and how is remote communication affecting our relationships both professionally and personally? And how can we change?
There are many reasons for the decline of face-to-face conversation in America. One reason is that we have become more isolated, both physically and emotionally. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, “the average American now has fewer close friends than he or she did two decades ago.” We are less likely to live in close proximity to one another. Post-Covid, we are leaving densely populated cities, and choosing to work, alone, in our bedrooms.
This is not freedom! This is bad.
We are losing the ability to relate to one another. We are losing the ability to empathize.
Empathy is “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes.” It is essential for human connection, and it is something that we are losing as we move away from face-to-face conversation.
When we communicate remotely, we are more likely to misunderstand one another. We can’t see each other’s facial expressions or body language, so we miss out on important nonverbal cues. This can lead to miscommunication and conflict.
And conflict is on the rise. In 2018, the American Psychological Association found that Americans were more stressed than ever before, with work being the number one source of stress. One way to reduce stress is to build strong relationships with our co-workers, but when we communicate remotely, we miss out on opportunities to bond with our colleagues.
We are also missing out on important opportunities to connect with our families and friends. Social media can’t replace the human connection that we get from face-to-face conversation. When we communicate remotely, we are more likely to talk about superficial things, instead of the deep, meaningful conversations that help us to connect on a deeper level.
So how can we change? How can we move past this impasse, this terrible present?
The first step is to recognize the problem. We need to be aware of the effect that communicating remotely is having on our relationships. Once we are aware of the problem, we can start to make changes in our own lives.
We can make a conscious effort to have more face-to-face conversations. We need to recognize that “remote” work is not a solution to anything. It is a Band-Aid, at best. We need to find ways to connect with our co-workers, our families, and our friends.
It won’t be easy. We are up against a lot of obstacles. But if we don’t try, we will only end up further apart from one another. And that is not a future that any of us want.
So let’s start today. Let’s have a conversation. face-to-face. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it is time that we start to reconnect with one another. We owe it to ourselves, and to the future of our country.
Content by Audere Magazine; Image by Pexels.