Personal relationships with receiving and giving support are good for your health

“ Personal relationships with receiving and giving support are good for your health. They change your life experiences in great ways you cannot anticipate.” Bill Chesnut, MD

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Cleveland Clinic Wellness Newsletter.      March 12, 2016
Reach out and text someone? When you’re offering support, face-to-face contact can’t be beat.
Whether you view the Days Before Texting as the dark ages or as the good old days probably depends on your age. Teens and twentysomethings are mystified at how people socialized in the analog days (“Mom, did you ‘call and make plans,’ as you put it, before or after being chased by a saber-toothed tiger?”). But people of all ages are sliding along technology’s slippery slope. For instance, a national survey of texting behaviors in adults ages 50 to 64 found that they averaged more than 11 texts a day, but fewer than 9 calls. And overall, U.S. smartphone users are sending and receiving five times as many texts compared with the number of phone calls each day.

There are a lot of benefits to digital communication, from streamlining logistics to staying in touch with children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and far-flung friends. When reaching out to a friend in need, though, kick it old school if you can. Face-to-face support is much more effective than digital support, suggests new research. Alas, we are still social animals. You’ll never be able to order up Friend 6.0 from the tech store! Remember that the next time you need someone to lean on. Instead of seeking support via social media or texting, plan to meet a friend at a café for good old-fashioned face-to-face time (and not FaceTime!).