The Benefits Of True Face-Time

Given our recent social media discussion, this follow-up post outlines what makes face-to-face communication especially important. For those of you that have kept your nearest and dearest relationships up via text , consider these thoughts an invitation, not a criticism! With so many ways to maintain relationships we can forget the benefits of real “face-time” before Apple made it their phrase.

1. Face to face time encourages greater empathy

John Steinbeck, a great American novelist says: “People are felt, not seen after the first few moments.” This quote reiterates the power of empathy. Empathy connects, soothes, helps forgive and restart- you name it. It’s the glue that makes relationships work. Empathy makes people feel understood. Experiencing a person’s presence, helps you tap into empathy. If the person is not present to you and exists only in photographs or messages, it’s difficult to feel, sense or intuit the relationship in the same way.

2. Face to face time encourages improvisation

Technology allows us to edit, tweak and change our correspondence. We can be extra careful when it comes to our initiations and responses. In real “face-time” things are less predictable. People blurt out, interrupt or upset you with their tone. It does a relationship good to whether these kinds of irritations. In the same way that resilience has a great deal to do with adaptability, relationships that have endured more curveballs and have still “rolled with it” are more resilient as well.

3. Physical Touch

Physical touch matters. Without breaking down the neuroscience, researchers know that physical touch activates the hormonal response associated with happiness and emotional attachment. In short, physical touch sends the message that you belong and that you are important. You can’t touch through a screen.

4. Body language is telling

Some body language experts argue that non-verbal communication is more telling than verbal communication. Even if you are skeptical, think of the mounds of cues we miss when we use technology. There is so much more intimacy, depth and connection that can be developed when body language “speaks.”

5. Boundaries are easier to intuit

As we’ve discussed, boundaries are an important part of human interaction. Frankly, they’re just easier to intuit when you are face to face with someone. For example, it’s hard to tell if someone is intrusive or manipulative unless you spend time with him or her. When I worked with abuse victims, they inevitably reported to me that something felt “off” or “wrong” in the presence of their abuser. I refer to this kind of sense as a gut feeling. You can’t listen well to your intuition or gut responses if one on one time is not established.

Challenge yourself: Next time you are tempted to vent your frustrations to your friend over text message call her up and see if you can swing by. Make this your primary way of connecting for a few months, you’ll likely be surprised how much your relationship deepens.

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