Virtual Relationships

Going to college during your freshman year can be pretty tough for some people. For many of us, this means leaving your friends that you have made throughout high school back home, depending on if you go out of state or not. When there’s a lot of distance between you and your group of friends, it can be hard keeping in touch with everyone. Thankfully, because of smartphones and laptops, that distance seems a lot smaller because of the ability to talk to them in an instant; but, despite the convenience, that doesn’t mean it’s that easy to stay in touch.

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Programs like Skype, GroupMe, and Facebook Messaging do wonders for giving you the ability to talk to any of your friends at any given moment. If you every want to stick with your old group of friends from back home, group messaging lets you keep everyone in the loop with each other, but if you want to keep in touch with each one individually, instant messaging and video chatting lets you do that as well. These things are perfect for being able to check in on everyone every once in a while to see how life is going for them.

But the problem with using technology as your primary source of communication is this: it’s not intimate. When you’re just reading text on a screen, it can be hard to miss intended emotions that the writer meant to convey, or misinterpret a comment made the wrong way. Sure you can use gifs and emojis to add something to these texts, but in the end, it does not compare to personally talking with each other face-to-face. Video calling adds that face-to-face interaction, but there’s still a slight loss of body language and the physicality of the conversation.

This is why long distance relationships can be hard for couples; the loss of physicality and intimacy is a huge negative. And if you’re someone who relies on those traits of physicality in conversation, it can be hard for just friends too. Texting is great with friends who live where you do, because it’s with people that you may see on a daily basis. But when there’s distance, it becomes a bit more difficult.

In some cases, it may not be that big of a deal. Personally for me, I have a lot of friends that I’ve met online, and stay in touch with online via a group voice chat room. It’s great touching base with them every once in a while, and I don’t find much of a need to talk to them in person, since I’ve only heard their voices in the first place. But eventually, we all used GroupMe and could stay in contact even more, which gave us the ability to share pictures with each and get to know each other more on a more personal level. But again, this may not be enough for some people.

This isn’t to say texting or video calling isn’t effective in the way you can communicate with each other, it absolutely is. It just makes staying in touch with others a bit more challenging. But, if you’re able to see these people every once in a while, that makes it all the better.

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