Experts in the field of education, family psychology and couples counseling have told us for years how the lack of communication between family members, spouses and friends was leading to increased anxiety, depression and loneliness. But phones, the Internet and social media sources have become such a way of life for everyone that giving them up is inconceivable.
People looking for love have turned to social media as well, being frustrated with their lack of choices in potential partners. A new website is thinking ahead for those single women who have become bored with the lack of quality in potential matches on internet dating sites. This website is all about helping you secure a relationship with an invisible boyfriend. No, he won’t show up at Grandma’s for your family dinner, nor will he meet you for a drink after work, but he will send you good night messages, sweet texts throughout the day and his will be the first text you get in the morning as you begin your day.
This may look benign, and in a world of chaos what’s the big deal about an invisible boyfriend? The big deal is we’ve become so isolated and alone in our lives that we feel the need to “need” one. When your life has become so virtual that you’re no longer meeting real friends for lunch, enjoying real dinners talking with your family, or going to real social events where you’ll mingle and talk with people who share the same interests as you, your life becomes narrow and self-absorbed. This increases depression, anxiety and a deep sense of depression. The one quality all humans need for emotional well-being is human connection and touch. When you begin relying on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for affirmation, validation or a sense of belonging and feeling loved, you’re hooked and real relationships are what suffer most.
The obsession for validation becomes a vicious cycle unless you consciously put a stop to it, which means limiting your time each day spent looking at your phone or the internet.
- Social media’s purpose is to connect you to others, but don’t allow yourself to become overly reliant on them to nourish you in ways they can’t.
- Find at least two good friends you can commit to and be honest with. Part of social media’s seduction is the ability it provides you to hide behind a screen without risk. Real friends want you to be real.
- Begin reminding yourself that perfecting your look or status doesn’t mean you’re loved. A like is not real. Being a good friend, showing up instead of standing someone up, and being able to share your less than perfect selves, builds strong relationships.
- Seek out and meet up with “old friends” because they share a part of your history and are able to bring you back to reality quicker than “new friends.”
- Find and engage in a real project where other real people will be involved and share common interests.
- Remind yourself that meaningful relationships demand a degree of vulnerability. You have to get out from behind your screen and reveal your true messy self in order to be loved.
You can’t blame social media or an invisible boyfriend for society’s increased isolation, depression and anxiety. It’s simply that the human heart hasn’t caught up to the advancement of technology. Your heart needs connection. Connection comes from listening to someone, someone listening to you, feeling cared for and touching one another. The internet cannot do any of those things with the same capacity as your voice and eyes. Your partner needs you, your parents need you, your friends need you, your kids need you, and you need the human vulnerable and imperfect connection with them.