Being emotionally intelligent is a skill that many people claim to have but few actually know how to use. To be emotionally intelligent is to be aware of other people’s emotions. Going deeper, it can include your empathy towards someone else’s emotions, your self-awareness and one’s social skills. In a typical social interaction (in person), it can be quite easy to key-in to someone’s emotions. Standing in front of the person, there is body language. One can tell if someone is happy, upset, afraid or angry.
Eye contact is also another huge aspect to homing in on someone’s emotions. With straight eye contact, one can tell is the other person is being truthful. Someone who often looks down and away could be considered a liar and afraid to show their face. In all, physically being next to the person can visually give you clues on how the person you’re interacting with is feeling. Voice tone also plays a big role in interactions. How loud or soft someone is determining their level of stress or energy. What words they emphasize or say in a certain tone can also tell what emotions the person may be feeling. Essentially, I’m trying to get that in-person interactions help cultivate and improve emotional intelligence in many people. However, technology changes the game drastically…
Technology has created a medium where these face to face interactions no longer exist. A quick text can be sent to a loved one meaning one message when in reality, it was meant to be taken in a completely different manner. However, how would that person know if the only communication they’re receiving from their loved one is a series of words in a text. It’s hard to key in on their emotional intelligence. Too often I see this happening around me every day. People are constantly on their phones, communicating to many via text messaging or picture chatting. While picture chatting (like Snapchat) can show facial expressions, they are still images or quick videos on how someone is feeling. With an in-person interaction, the human brain is constantly in a state of analysis, watching how the interaction goes based off of the various elements as described before. To simply put it, technology driven interactions are not healthy for emotional intelligence.
Those who want to improve on their emotional intelligence for the better of themselves and others would not turn to technology for a majority of their interactions. Technology creates a barrier between two people, who otherwise could have a great conversation with immediate feedback if it were in person. While technology has helped society in a multitude of ways, it has snuffed quality social interactions to mere text messages filled with multiple meanings and miscommunicated messages.