Research shows interacting with people can improve your sense of belonging and overall happiness. In today’s world, your friends and family are just a phone call, text, or email away. While it might be easier than ever to stay connected, don’t let the ease of digital communication replace your in-person interactions, or both your happiness and the health of your relationships could take a hit.
Unless you’re using a video chat service, when you talk to your friends digitally, you’re missing one big thing: their smiles. Studies show when you see someone smile, your brain releases the same chemicals it does when you smile for yourself—the ones responsible for happiness.
A recent study by the University of Michigan found face-to-face communication to be the most rewarding type of interaction, linked to both social enjoyment and positive mood. And other research suggests this type of interaction cuts the risk of depression in adults by half. So if you’re looking for a mood lift, make time for lunch with a friend.
In-person interaction sparks a multitude of psychological and biochemical events that nurture trust and empathy, giving us a sense of belonging when we talk to someone face-to-face.
How we say something can be more important than what we say. Research shows that when a person gives off mismatched verbal and nonverbal messages, recipients almost always believe the non-verbal message over the verbal one. By having more face-to-face interactions, you can better learn how to read nonverbal cues and improve your own verbal cues.
When you meet up to talk with someone in person, you’re showing them that you value them. They’re worth your time to drive out to see them, and they are showing you the same in return. When we feel valued, we feel better about ourselves. And when we feel better about ourselves, we feel happier.
Planning to call a friend or send an email? Invite them out for coffee or schedule a video chat. You’ll both feel the difference.