As Christmas approaches and we take time to reflect our close ones, relatives and friends, it can often be a time of self-reflection and feelings of 'how we'll do things differently in the new year'.
It's perhaps no surprise that a recent survey by Arnott's has found that on 27% of Australians are interacting regularly with their loved ones in person - which to be quite frank is just not acceptable. That means that only one in four of us are hugging, arranging meetings, picking up the phone to call or merely popping round for a cuppa to say hello.
Whilst it's true that technology has provides a platform where people can be contacted 24 hours a day, the quality of those interactions are certainly questionable from my perspective! For many, gone are the days where you would pop by your friend’s place unannounced for a cup of tea and a biscuit. In our fast-paced world, we count tagging each other in a meme, or sending an emoji, as a ‘meaningful connection’.
When it comes to the point where Australians are contacting each other more than ever through their mobile devices, instead of having meaningful, face-to-face interactions, we need to take a good hard look in the mirror!
In the moment
While 82% of Aussies say spending quality time with friends and family brings them meaning in life, only 27% of Australians are interacting regularly with their loved ones in person.
Half (50%) of Australians believe that the use of mobile phones and social media is the culprit, dissuading them from having more face-to-face interactions. Yet during these coveted interactions, 49% of Aussies say face-to-face meetings are often ruined by someone being distracted by their mobile phone.
While 86% of Australians contact their loved ones at least once a week using a mobile or digital device, with more than a third (35%) doing so daily, only one in four (25%) say those interactions are meaningful, with a heartfelt text only being sent to someone they care about a few times throughout the year.
Connecting at Christmas
Not surprisingly, Christmas is still known as the time of year for coming together with friends and family, and Aussies seem to agree. More than two thirds (77%) of Aussies declared that spending quality time with friends and family is the most important thing to them during the silly season and half of those (48%) stated that if they could receive one gift at Christmas, they would choose meaningful time with family.
Beyond the traditional Christmas seafood spread or BBQ, catching up over a classic cup of tea and a biscuit is still one of the most popular ways for Aussies to connect, with nearly a quarter (17%) doing so regularly.
The importance of togetherness
The new research has been released off the back of a social experiment by Arnott’s, which asked people to come together to replay their text message conversations to each other face-to-face. The heart-warming results of these funny, sometimes awkward or even emotional exchanges, uncovered that when you get people to stop and think about how they’re interacting with each other, they realise the significance of meaningful connections.
Here at Parenting Social 101 we encourage our wonderful readers to take a moment and pop into their friends unannounced (within reason, we're not taking a 2am 'cup of sugar' call, ha!).
Take the time to truly nurture the relationships with those that mean the world to you! After all, it is the season of goodwill!