In a study published by the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Peggy Liu and her team discovered that people who reached out to others by phone, text, email, or note were surprised at their positive impact.
The word engagement is on the minds of many people these days.
One of the reasons might be something you never considered before.
The more efficiently connected we are through technology, the less connected we become personally.
Think about texting, for instance. Texting shortens the time to tell someone you are running late.
At the same time, text conversations remove a lot of the strength of personal connections. We are now connected through a kind of shorthand communication. It’s even worse when there are more than two people in the conversation.
This newish habit has occurred over a short period of time and is fueled by the ability to text quick answers, questions, or notifications. This has been a big advance in using time productively.
But… think of a recent text conversation. Can you remember ANY of it?
There are hundreds of studies showing that humans need connection. Somehow, we are losing that ability fast, and I’m talking about the adults in the room.
Dave Burton, the Founder of LifeSeeds camp (lifeseeds.org) , told me recently that one of the side effects of this is that kids can no longer identify their emotions. They get an emotional reaction from something that happened but can’t identify it.
Think of the ways we used to connect that are now beginning to disappear: handwritten notes of appreciation and thanks, phone calls, – even dropping by to say hi is going away.
Building strong personal connections becomes more difficult if we lose or discount the more personal communication methods.
Dr. Liu’s study invited participants to thank, send a note of appreciation, or call someone to say hello to someone they knew. They kept a list of people they contacted. The results were surprising to the participants. The impact of that short communication acknowledging them in some way had a positive impact that lasted.
If you are over a certain age you might agree that it might be pretty hard to build a relationship by texting. Consider this: it’s also hard to build and grow one without caring enough to take the time to connect in a personal way.