Virtual substitutes no match for real face time

By Lisa Maria Boyles

A friend said she was sorry she missed our girlfriends’ Zoom happy hour the other day.

“I’ve been avoiding Facebook for a couple of weeks now… Not sure why,” she said, by way of explanation.

“I can relate,” I replied. “I think we are all so oversaturated with technology/virtual connections/and social media/news that we’re pulling back a little.”

“Exactly!” she said.

But what if you can’t really pull back?

Everything is virtual right now, almost two months into our shelter in place to flatten the curve, slow the surge of COVID-19.

No more work team meetings, no real happy hours or lunches out, no church on Sundays. It’s all moved online.

It was novel, at first (like the virus). But I’m so over it now. And I’m not the only one.

A Google search for “Zoom fatigue” brings up almost 69 million results.

From Forbes: “We are already exhausted from the upheaval in our lives from the pandemic and while connecting over video chat seems like a way to relieve the isolating aspect of working from home there’s actually a disconnect happening. In an interview with BBC, Gianpiero Petriglieri explained that being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat.”

It’s real and it is exhausting.

I am grateful for all the ways we can stay connected. I do marvel at how quickly we adapted and shifted. I still get to see the faces of my colleagues, my girlfriends, members of my church.

I miss seeing all the people I value and care about face to actual face, in the same room.

But until we get to whatever our new normal will look like on the other side of this, have some grace with yourself and others if the virtual realm isn’t exactly as satisfying or as productive as the real thing.





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