How Covid-19 has changed the way we Communicate

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Humans are gregarious being: We can’t be isolated too much because we need to socialize. Since the coronavirus started and spread around the world, many aspects of our lives, including the ways in which we communicate, have changed. Let’s recapitulate for a moment and see how much it has changed the way we engage in conversations or interactions in order to stay connected.

This pandemic has brought the future more recently than expected. 

As family and social meetings have been made impossible, we had to turn to other alternatives, with scheduled video calls in the first position. From birthday parties to work conferences, almost every single kind of contact with others had to be changed so as to ensure everyone’s safety. 

What would the situation be if this pandemic would have happened 30 years ago? 

Experts say that if this crisis appeared 30 years ago, depression rates would have increased immeasurably and many would have died because of loneliness and lack of health care for other conditions.

Luckily, that is not the case because we live in the era of technology, which has helped go through these tough times taking care of ourselves while still staying in touch with our loved ones.

This upsurge in calls and video calls is due to the fact that people want to stay connected even if they cannot physically meet them or help them when they need it. This is because humankind needs to socialize with others in order to feel human.

Saved by the screen

Under normal circumstances, we tend to turn to friends or family when there is a sense of crisis or any other abnormal situation that disrupts our daily lives. Since many of us are cut off from normal social interaction, we are opting for voice and video calls to replace our normal communication.

Even though it has been a while since communication over the phone or the internet began, it has now become the only option for communication with others.

Not only are we communicating with those who we are used to, but also, many have found out they are even reconnecting with old friends they haven’t spoken to for years. 

This pandemic has allowed us to have something in common to talk about because this has put us all under the same circumstances and the same danger. This has brought on a collective sense of worrying about others the same way we would do for those who we care about the most. Empathy has entered the picture.

What’s the impact, particularly on those who aren’t comfortable chatting on the phone or over video?

If you’re not a “phone person”, how should you handle the current rush to connect?

“Phone anxiety is an offshoot of social anxiety disorder, which is one of the most common anxiety disorders,” says Jean Kim, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington University who has written about phone phobia. “It’s characterised by people feeling fear in social situations; they have a flood of automatic negative thoughts and are self-critical.” 

Some people get thrown by different social cues on the phone, she says, while for others being out of practice because of the ease of text and email can also lead to anxiety when using a less familiar form of communication.

However, many of those who suffer from “phone anxiety”, are still trying to leave that aside in order to connect with others and interact in a meaningful way as contact with others is made impossible and they don’t want to stay disconnected.

It is time to put anything else aside and adapt to the circumstances if you want to stay connected with your loved ones.

Not everyone wants to adapt...

There are those who are tired of receiving calls. These individuals are the ones we should worry about the most because, as they are crawling to their shell, they may isolate themselves and start to feel lonely, which may cause serious health problems.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem: setting boundaries.

One strategy for those receiving an overwhelming amount of calls from people of different kinds of environment is to carve out specific times for different activities. You could stick to work hours to get calls from work, and establish a certain hour to receive calls from family or friends. This way, you can avoid uncomfortable interruptions and annoying amounts of calls.

The key is to be organised and know and communicate your boundaries so that others don’t neglect your time or space.

Before this virus erupted, we may have taken our daily contact with people for granted and been the kind of person who was “terrible at keeping in touch”. All of a sudden, many are realising how important  it is to stay connected with others.

Communication is an interesting topic to discuss. Necessary as it is,communication allows us to be human and stay in touch with others even at times when physical contact is made impossible. 

Interested in studying communication and how it works? Visit Online Programmes and discover the top-quality Programmes in Communication or related topics offered by top universities in South Africa.

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