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The Importance Of Face-To-Face Communication In An Age Of Social Media

The explosion of social media in our lives has changed the way we communicate forever. Face-to-face communication has taken a back seat while snapping, chatting and gramming continues to thrive.

Two decades ago, it would have seemed impossible to ‘like’ photos of our friend’s latest meals or send a free message across the world in an instant.

But, as social media continues its rapid expansion, it’s becoming clear to those in the know, that it can’t replace the enjoyment we get from actually meeting our loved ones.

As Mad Men actor Jon Hamm recently said: “Nowadays, everybody interacts via social media. There is this idea of, ‘I have friends on Facebook, I have followers on Instagram, so I’m connected.’ But it’s not a real connection. Just because somebody ‘liked’ or ‘poked’ you or whatever the f*ck it is, it’s no substitute for face-to-face communication.”

So why should we put down our screens and meet up with our friends more?

To make a real connection

The simple fact is that while social media is an easy way to connect with someone, only by spending time with friends and engaging in face-to-face communication can we really make a connection with them.

That’s partly because we rely heavily on body language to communicate. Typically, up to 55% of our communication is nonverbal.

Everything from the tilt of a head to the flicker of an eyelid can tell us something about the person we are speaking to — something impossible to tell over a quick message!

To build relationships with people, we need to be physically with them. We need to be able to read their expressions, the way their body moves and the hidden messages their actions hold.

So the next time someone wants to speak to you, make sure to meet up with them. Face-to-face communication is the only way you can really understand what they are saying.

Face-to-face communication is good for our health

Unplugging from social media and spending time with your family and friends is also hugely beneficial for your health.

That’s because having contact with loved ones is one of the triggers that encourages our bodies to release oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone.

An increase in oxytocin works wonders for our mental health. It’s thought to help you relax, improve trust and reduce stress.

Furthermore, it’s also possible to experience physical health benefits such as lower blood pressure and even improved digestion.

A study from the University of Pittsburgh’s School Of Medicine also found that among young adults, higher levels of social media use can actually lead to an increased feeling of social isolation.

The researchers behind the study gave three reasons for this:

  1. Social media was replacing real-world interactions such as meeting up with friends
  2. Users felt like they were missing out when looking at events they weren’t invited to
  3. Users became envious of other people’s idealised lives presented on social networks

So, while light social media probably isn’t going to hurt you, it is about time to put down that screen and create some memories with your friends.

To keep our real friends close

We all value our true friends. The ones who will be there for us no matter what.

Scientific investigations have shown that no matter how many friends you might have on Facebook, you will probably still have the same number of very close mates.

A recent study by the anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar found that, despite people having a large number of Facebook friends, most could only rely on a handful in a crisis.

The importance of cultivating those close relationships through meeting up to share experiences is undeniable. Your best friends are the ones who are there for you offline as much as they are online.

The benefits of face-to-face communication: A conclusion

It’s clear to see that Hamm speaks the truth: being ‘friends’ on social media is not necessarily a true connection.

True connections and real friendships come from shared experiences. They come from chats over coffee, sharing a bottomless brunch or reminiscing over pints in pub gardens.

So next time you are on a ‘liking binge’ consider setting up a Loose Ends account to actually meet up with your mates and enjoy all the many benefits of face-to-face communication.

Simply download the app, find your friends and create a Loose End.

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