5 Tips on How to Make Emotional Connections When You’ve Grown Up in the Digital Age

Our generation has grown up differently;Communicating through strings of texts;Emotion-less and constantly.

How does it affect us as humans? How does it affectour relationships?

Rather than the face-to-face, human interaction our parent’s and grandparent’s generation grew up knowing, our generation has been texting, calling, and interacting with each other via social media. It’s removed. It’s emotion-less. It’s hard to fully convey. And it’s happening 24/7.

Maybe it hasn’t affected you,but my guess is that it has. Growing up in the age of mobile devices and social media has desensitized our generation in many ways. With our phonestied to our hands, and never more than a reach away, we send communications all day long – rapidly firing off messages of whatever is on our mind.

While communicating is extremely important in developing strong relationships, these rapid communications can also be harmful to us in many ways, such as leading to decreased productivity, internal reflection, and even influencing our moods or current state of mind. It’s exhausting. But communicating with people all day long is the new social norm. You gotta’ keep up right?

As much as we all love social media, there’s definitely some larger underlying affects at play. Whether you’re posting to get your daily fix of comments and likes or endlessly scrolling through a feed of happy photos, lit vacations, and fit bods – seeing this influx of “totally awesome” moments can make us feel worse than when we originally got on.

So how do we move forward and build healthy relationships when our self-esteem is already hurt? Or if we are constantly worrying about the opinions of others around us, questioning: “Am I good enough?”

From communicating in person, texting, or engaging with others on the ‘Gram– here are some tips about how to make emotional connections with your crush when you’ve grown up living in the digital age:

  1. Everything in moderation

    The most important ingredient of making an emotional connection with your crush is communicating. And since we’ve grown up constantly texting, calling, and posting a status to our feeds – shouldn’t that make us masters? Wrong. Too much communication can be just as harmful as not enough and that’s because we need time to process emotional information. While too little communication can result in low morale and confusion about expectations, over communication is just plain annoying. It takes time away from our actual day and it puts pressure on us to feel the need to respond.

    Taking a step back and allowing time to pass in between communications can help you process your feelings and be true to yourself. Plus, building trust takes time. Enjoy getting to know yourself and others that are with you in the moment.

  2. Hang out in person

    In the digital age, it’s easy to have conversations with your crush and hardly ever see them in person. But unfortunately, written communications lack another important part of developing deep, emotional connections and it’s all because of body language. A New York Times article states that the total impact of receiving a message is 55 percent nonverbal, 38 percent vocal, and only 7 percent verbal. The article continues to reveal that body language is an outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition, with each gesture or movement being a valuable key to the emotions a person is experiencing at the time. By hanging out with your crush in person, you can communicate more effectively through the use of your body language – as long as your open and receptive to expressing your emotions. If you’re not yet ready, that’s okay. Having a conversation about why you might not feel ready can help ease the pressure and promote the feelings of trust you need to get to this next step. In the meantime, using emojis to help convey your emotional expressions through a written form of communication or text can be helpful. But be wise and choose carefully. Remember, we all have our own interpretations of emojis and their underlying meaning.

  3. Find fun activities to enjoy together

    One of our personal favorites! Finding shared activities that you both enjoy can help release endorphins such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – the chemicals in your brain that play an important part of regulating your mood through boosting happiness and releasing stress. Plus, finding hobbies to do together can help promote new conversations, build trust, increase laughter, and improveoverall connection.

    An article from Symbis.com states it also helps boost intimacy. “When you spend time with your spouse, you’re creating memories and good feelings together that will spill over into other areas of your marriage. No matter what’s going on in your life, you have these times set aside, when you and your spouse will simply be doing an activity you enjoy together. And when the going gets rough, you’ll have those good times to lean on and look forward to.”

    So, grab your pets and go for a hike, visit a café, or cook dinner together. All of these activities will help you and your crush’s bond grow stronger, while getting the shared benefit of spending more time with your pet.

  4. Turn towards your partners bids of affection

    First discovered by doctors John and Julie Gottman at their couple’s research firm in Seattle, WA called The Gottman Institute, bids of affection are the fundamental unit of emotional communication. An article from the Gottman blogexplains, “They can be small or big, verbal or nonverbal, and are requests to connect with each other. They might take on the form of an expression, question, or physical outreach and they can be funny, serious, or sexual in nature.”

    Okay, that makes sense, but here’s what’s so shocking behind emotional bids of affection: The Gottman Institute found that the difference between relationship masters and relationship disasters was that masters turn towards each other 86% of the time, while disasters only turn towards each other 33% of the time.

    In short, The Gottman Institute recommends to, “Bid often. Master the art of the tiny moment. Reach out to show you care. Send a good luck message before a meeting. Leave an encouraging note on the fridge. Kiss your partner when they walk in the door.” If bids are consistently ignored, we internalize the experience and keep track of how many bids are accepted or rejected. In the end, partners who are constantly rejected begin to feel frustrated and are more incentivized to criticize our partners, which pushes them away and results in reduced trust and resentment.

  5. Be honest, sincere, and open when it comes to negative emotions

    Everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time, and it’s perfectly human. But both millennials and gen z’s have increasing troubles with feeling okay with it and it’s for a couple of reasons.

    Growing up in the digital agewith social media and being removed from expressing nonverbal communications, such as texting, has greatly impacted our ability to accept and express negative emotions. This ties back to the idea that we constantly only see snapshots of people’s emotional states on social media feeds such as Instagram and Facebook. And 9 out of 10 times those emotional states are happy. At a time when depression and suicide are on the rise – currently 300 million people worldwide are suffering from depression – this is concerning.

    We can also hide our negative emotions through technology, putting up a wall that protects us from revealing our deeper frustrations and conflicts that lie within.

    Fortunately, the better we can understand our negative emotions by reflecting internally – such as talking with a close friend, journaling, or going for a run to clear our heads –the sooner we can bring self-awareness to understand our feelings and why we may be upset. After understanding the deeper reasonings, we can change our habits to reduce these moments of stress or set boundaries to help us feel better. It’s all about learning what works for you as an individual and then being true to yourself. Our partners or friends can be the perfect people to help talk through this or discuss our inner feelings. It just takes being honest, sincere, and open to allow others inside your current state of mind – because in the end your partner and friends that surround you just care about helping you feel better!