How Does Technology Affect Your Friendships?

How Does Technology Affect Your Friendships?

Thanks to texting, email, videoconferencing, and social media, two people can communicate easily, even when they live continents apart. For them, technology is a useful servant.

However, some people who primarily use technology to maintain friendships tend to . . .

  • show less empathy for their friends.

  • feel more lonely and empty.

  • focus more on self than on others.



Empathy requires that we slow down and patiently consider another person​—something that may seem difficult to achieve with an overload of social media posts and rapid-fire texting.

In time, if technology is controlling you, responding to your friends’ messages can seem like another chore on your to-do list. Your goal becomes to clear out your in-box rather than to help a friend in need.

TO THINK ABOUT: How can you maintain “fellow feeling” when you use technology to communicate with friends?​—1 PETER 3:8.


One study found that many people felt worse after browsing through a popular social media platform. The researchers concluded that looking at the pictures and updates of others can leave a person with “a feeling of not having done anything meaningful.”

Furthermore, looking at the exciting photos others have posted can lead to negative comparisons. After all, it may seem as if everyone else were having a good time, while your own life is in a rut.

TO THINK ABOUT: When using social media, how can you avoid negatively comparing yourself with others?​—GALATIANS 6:4.


One teacher notes that some of her students seem inclined toward one-sided friendships in which their greatest concern is, “Who has my back?” * Such friendships focus merely on what one gets out of the relationship. A person could start to view his friends as apps that can be used and shut off as needed.

TO THINK ABOUT: Does what you post online show that you may have the tendency to be competitive or to focus too much on yourself?​—GALATIANS 5:26.



When technology is your servant rather than your master, it will help you keep in touch with your friends and even draw closer to them.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Love . . . does not look for its own interests.”​—1 CORINTHIANS 13:4, 5.

Note the suggestions you would like to implement, or write down your own ideas.

  • Have more in-person conversations (rather than solely relying on texting or email)

  • Put away (or silence) the phone when conversing with others

  • Cut back on the time spent scrolling through social media

  • Become a better listener

  • Contact a friend who is going through a hard time

^ par. 17 Reported in the book Reclaiming Conversation.