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In a world of using technology for social networking and other forms of cyber communication, many of us are hungry for physical contact. As humans, we crave connection and can get that somewhat through electronic means, but it does not necessarily feed our soul. As we become more physically and emotionally disconnected in our society, we risk losing a part of our humanity and those aspects that make us enjoy our lives.

Showing affection, touching, and eye contact seem like normal parts of living but can cause significant discomfort and send some people running for the hills. Unfortunately, there are a number of people who feel more confident communicating behind a screen then they do in person. Others struggle with receiving physical or emotional attention or affection from others. Instead of facing their discomfort, some choose to remain hidden away from others and locked behind their technology to communicate safely, comfortably, and alone.

Connecting with people who are likeminded and enrich our lives is important.

It can provide friendship, comfort, support, love, and assistance when needed. People can celebrate with us when great things happen and help to pick us up when situations are rough. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have good people around us for companionship. As we get older, it becomes more apparent how short life truly is.

There are people we care about who die unexpectedly or experience life changes where they may move away from us. Other times, relationships simply fade away or get put on hold due to circumstances. For whatever reason, we may not call, text, or make plans to meet up with people in our lives.

So many opportunities are lost when we don’t take time to spend with people in the physical realm. Sitting across from someone having a drink and laughing can be so much more enjoyable then typing “LOL” on a screen or sending your most recent favorite meme from Facebook. Looking into someone’s eyes as you touch their arm can be more fulfilling then a video chatting exchange. Without true connection and affection, many of us risk feeling lonely, isolated, and unloved.

There are absolutely times where electronic communication is an amazing substitute for being in someone’s physical space. Sometimes geography or timing are significant barriers that can stop people from connecting with each other. Thankfully, there are amazing, high-tech tools at our disposal that can help us overcome these challenges.

If getting in front of someone physically isn’t possible, think about how to make the electronic engagement as meaningful as possible. When you send messages, it is important to think about the intentions and emotions behind the words that are typed. As we translate feelings and ideas electronically, think about why we are doing this and what we are attempting to convey to them.

Chatting with someone online or expressing that we strongly care for someone is more than just a digital transmission of data. It is about passing on messages that are important to us as we attempt to connect with another individual, and it should be valued, not mindlessly sent. Think about your intentions instead of just responding without much thought.

Many people also feel that technology is causing a rapid decline in our ability to socialize effectively in person.

We can’t act like some people do online. It is not socially acceptable to walk up to someone and show images of your junk. You can’t block someone in the real world because they annoy or antagonize you.

Unfortunately, some people find online behaviors to be more comfortable than ones that are common in the physical world. Some have difficulties talking to people face-to-face, but also may be losing the ability to engage with in-person behaviors like flirting with others and picking up when someone wants to engage with us or wants us to go away. It is important that we know how to engage with people and work on connecting with them. It doesn’t matter if it is surface-level conversation or the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Being able to carry on an ongoing communication is extremely important.

Maybe we weren’t raised with being in a super affectionate home where hugs and kisses were part of our usual lives. Some families struggle with saying that they love each other or have gone through traumatic situations that stop them from showing vulnerabilities. Regardless of how we grew up, think about how we want to be treated as well as treating others.

It is important that we tell the people in our lives that we love and care about them. It doesn’t have to be a super-dramatic exchange with lots of strong emotions, but it is important. You can keep it simple. Just reach out and express what you are feeling. We don’t risk much by actually telling someone that we like them or giving them a big bear hug.