Of friendships, communication and happiness…

The modern communications brought the increase of connectivity tenfold, if not even more. Back in the day, socializing required to actually go in person and pay a visit to your acquaintances. Alternately, you would be making the effort to call your friends, many times while trying to find a quiet room in a noisy house.

Now we have instant messaging, video calling and many more. Various communication channels are always open in all sorts of situations. All we need to do is formulate a thought: once ready to send it, the interlocutor is a few taps away.
Thousands of people simply make use of these instant communication means, no questions raised. There are also many who wonder how it all affects our relationships and even our sense of fulfillment or our general happiness.

Modern connectivity and friendships

The value of friendships is never stressed enough. From children’s literature to the most detailed scientific studies, we receive the message that friendships make our lives complete time and time again.
Although making good friends doesn’t come easy, we are drawn towards meaningful relationships during our lives. Even when bad experiences make us less open, less trustful, we still long for that ideal image. We dream of a group of good friends that would understand us, and make life seem more pleasant, even in its most difficult moments.
If interested, you may see here, for example, a few benefits of friendship that appeal even to the most down-to-earth of people.
The modern communication channels can greatly serve in maintaining already existing friendships.
Of course, it is an obvious fact that applies to most of the friendships, and exceptions are allowed. People also appreciate the quietness and silent presence of some of their friends. Memes, pics, instant messages, video and audio sharing may not fit in this picture. However, with modern communications, you can send your message to your recipient, to access it whenever he/she feels like it. You may have a convention of giving each other the time to react whenever you want to, when exchanging messages.
True, when you communicate with someone face-to-face, you can interpret the body language, the vibe, and the unsaid things that are in the air. This is a thing that intermediated communications cannot provide.
This is partly why making new friendships on Social Media or via messaging can be difficult. The conventions vary from group to group, and some may feel “lost in translation”. There are no fixed rules. You have to pick it up as you go along, no direct interaction pointers being available, either.

Do we “feel” our interlocutors in the modern communication environment?

When we combine face-to-face situations with communications at a distance, we are able to make a mental portrait of each one of our friends. Whether we know it or not, we become able to tell what the same thing means for different people. We interpret signals. Pauses, content of all kinds, online and offline reactions, all gain meaning in the context of that profile mentioned above.
Throw in the fact that people may change – and it’s mayhem again. But then, that’s life, and it is part of its beauty.
Although we may not literally “feel” our interlocutors, we learn to compensate. We develop a sense of the new social conventions. This fact is illustrated even by the questions people ask each other when adjusting to this new environment.
For a detailed picture of how we could communicate better, see this article. It shows 7 essential skills that may improve our sense of connectivity and belonging.

Attainable happiness may mean knowing how to choose, or even when to take a break

The “always on” trend may prove to be a strain on close relationships. Sometimes too explicit communications can negatively impact feelings. This can also put a lot of pressure on relationships – and make happiness less attainable.
A study mentioned by Time considers the responses from 2,201 participants. It’s a couples’ study, so it may only reflect part of the whole image. People can be also happy outside a couple. Nevertheless, each one has a most important friend – be it the same with her/his meaningful other, or just a great friend, our favorite family member, a mentor, a model in life. We all have that someone we represent a lot for, one way or another.
So we may take a look at what the study results reveal, and extrapolate. Besides healthy communication, knowing the other person and mastering key life skills (“being able to hold a job, manage money, etc.”) play an important role in the general happiness of the respondents.
Profound knowledge or just showing that you pay attention counts a lot. The materialization of the willingness to give place in your life to another person is important. Its manifestation becomes verbal or externalized only when necessary. No need for redundant gestures, as long as the essential ones are in place.
In other words, the right word at the right time may win over countless memes, texts or calls. It’s up to each one of us to find the right balance for our individual relationships.