Is your smartphone a weapon of mass distraction?
Is it the third person in your relationship?
Do you have a better relationship with your smartphone than your partner?
I hope that you didn’t answer yes to any of these questions but if you did, read on…
People ask me all the time what is the foundation of a successful relationship and I say that I can sum it up in 3 words. They probably expect me to say “I love you” but I actually say communication, communication, communication. I’ve worked with thousands of people in my career and every single relationship that has gone wrong, whether romantic or platonic, failed because of poor communication. Fact! People don’t know how to communicate well and smartphones are killing communication even more.
Technology can actually bring us closer to a person on the other side of the world and further away from the person sitting in front of us. We are actually so distracted by notifications on our phone that we are struggling even more to be present with the person in front of us, whether they are our partner, children or friends. It is actually a lack of respect for the person we’re with and can quickly erode our relationships, especially romantic ones as it begins to feel like we are competing with a third person in our relationship and vying for our partner’s attention.
In the late ‘70s, Professor Albert Mehrabian spent years researching what rich communication looked like and came up with the following pie chart to demonstrate his results. So before you send that text message or Whatsapp, consider his research and how your communication is being received.
Are you as surprised as I was when I first saw this chart? You probably thought that words were much more important in communication than 7%. I did. I had no idea that body language or physiology was the most important part of communication and without it, we leave so much communication behind.
So why does this matter? We now spend so much time communicating with people via text message, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook Instagram and other social media with only words. There is no tonality and certainly no physiology so 93% of the communication is missing, which can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and pain. I’ve worked with many people who were ‘dumped’ by text or on Facebook and were devastated by the pain of the breakup coupled with the humiliation of how it happened and this had to lead them to suicidal thoughts, so it is a very serious situation.