Friday, September 13, 2013

Does Facebook Make Long Distance Relationships Harder?

Here was a thought I had a while ago. Modern tools and social media has made it easier to interact with friends and acquaintances over long distances, but has this made relationships better or worse? I think it’s more the latter, at least for some cases. If it’s used properly, then it can improve them.
With social media, there’s an idea that it’s “easy” to talk to someone whenever. There’s also that idea that you should be able to expect a reply to a message within a day or few hours. I guess when people check their accounts 5-20 times a day, it sounds reasonable. However, people also feel like the responses should be faster, because we can see when they are “online”. It’s not always true, but there’s that idea there.
I remember when I first got facebook many years ago, I was excited to be able to talk with old acquaintances. However, that excitement would get me too carried away as every time I saw certain people online, I would initiate a chat session and get mad if the responses took too long. The problem is that when you “chat” with someone every day, you run out of things to talk about. Then it’s just an annoyance rather than a pleasant experience.
Now, I’ve limited my facebook usage and chat sessions. I may have a long chat session once in a while, but once in a while is okay. In that case, it’s like catching up. A year or two ago, I began to place a stronger limit in which I was only on for 20 minutes a day. That worked for a while, until I realized that I used facebook as a means to obtaining quick answers that could use some detail. However, I would admit that I felt better. When I was on all the time, I felt lonely and depressed.
So how does this affect long distance relationships? I’ve read various things online and listened to different people and their experiences. Basing off those, and what I have said above, I think the problem is space. When a relationship starts, we naturally want to talk with that significant other a lot and get to know them. However, there needs to be room to breathe and time to digest the information. We require space to partake in the other aspects of our lives.
I’ve mentioned before that long distance relationships appeared to have been more successful when we did not have instant communication. When it was based of letters and occasional conversation, the love blossomed. Perhaps the reason was the time delay and it was accepted. This granted time and space for us to fulfill our obligations and also to pull material from. We could linger on our experiences and longings.
Of course, maybe there’s just something about receiving a letter. I still get excited when I find one. A good letter can take away the annoyance of a whole box full of junk mail and bills. So maybe it’s just personal. But when I talk to others, I find a common consensus that receiving letters are enjoyable. So I think there is something in there. Whether it’s what I have concluded is another question.

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