Lexi Louis – Opinion Columnist
Effectively maintaining long distance relationships is important. Sometimes our connections can move to different places or travel, and we need to know how to communicate with them. There are many different ways to accomplish this. There are different types of digital communication, and there are other ways to send messages too. Some of the strategies of communicating digitally are text message, email, social media, phone calls, and video conferencing. A traditional way of communicating is sending letters. The five types of communication are verbal, nonverbal, written, listening, and visual communication. With long distance communication, we use some of these more often than others.
When we digitally communicate through text message, email,and social media there are certain benefits. We are able to send the message instantly and there is no delay. The Knapp’s Relationship model shows how relationships grow and stay and also how they end. In the escalation model, the steps are initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating and bonding. In the terminating model, the steps are differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding and terminating.
The terminating model shows that if we don’t communicate with a long distance relationship, it can be misconstrued as avoiding. This can damage the relationship. At the stagnation stage, communication is limited. During the avoiding stage, the connections intentionally avoid each other. It is imperative to prioritize communicating with long distance connections in order to reduce the risk of a misunderstanding. With these types of sending messages, we use written and visual communication. We can attach pictures and imagery to our messages on social media and we are able to add a caption to it. We are also able to attach pictures to our text messages and emails. I think that the Knapp model is important because it shows what can occur if we don’t prioritize and give attention to our connections.
When we write text messages, emails or social media posts we gain practice with writing. We learn how to effectively communicate clearly and without confusion. Our digital messages usually last forever, so we are encouraged to put effort into them. We also learn how to convey a meaning through images with our posts. Phone calls usually use verbal and listening communication.
A benefit of making phone calls for maintaining long distance connections is that they are more personal. We are actively listening to the other person speak, and we can hear their voice. When we make video calls, we usually use verbal, nonverbal, and listening communication. Some benefits of making video calls are we can discern messages better, there is less uncertainty, and we can read more types of communication. With a video call, we can read some non verbal messages. Some of these are facial expressions, posture, gestures, eye contact and voice. We can tell if the other person is actively listening, and we can tell how they are feeling. I think video calls are the best way to digitally communicate with our connections.
A traditional way of communicating is sending letters. This provides a secure, convenient way to communicate when our Wi-Fi isn’t working, or we need to send a private message. Letters and digital messages use written communication. Based on how we perceive a situation or an individual, one form of communication may be ideal to another.
Some may say that digital communication harms face to face communication. Although face to face communication is ideal to maintain social skills, digital communication is necessary and beneficial to maintain long distance connections. Traditional communication can be used too, but it isn’t as instant as digital communication.
Some may say that digital communication lessens our vocabulary skills. Although we can be quick to send messages and sometimes use abbreviations, digital communication can encourage us to improve our writing. Because our messages often stay online forever, we may be inclined to improve the quality of our writing.
If a long distance connection has moved away, it can also be beneficial to visit them. This will make it easier to talk with them. Some other strategies and things to remember when trying to keep a long distance relationship is to keep in touch as much as possible, send them stories, and know each other’s schedules.
Sometimes connections can move away or travel, and we need to find alternative ways to communicate. This may be through digital communication such as text messages, phone calls, video conferencing, emails, and social media. Each of these types of communication have certain benefits, and depending on the situation one may be beneficial over another. We can also send letters to allow for more privacy. It is important to show the other person we care about them so the relationship doesn’t terminate. The Knapp’s Relationships model displays how the process of acquiring relationships and ending relationships works. These are some of the ways we can maintain long distance relationships and why digital communication is so important.