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4 Ways To Use Technology To Draw Closer To Your Significant Other

4 Ways To Use Technology To Draw Closer To Your Significant Other

Anytime technology and relationships are brought up in the same sentence, it’s usually a statement denouncing our gadget obsessed generation as antisocial. While it is true that between our smart phones, tablets and computers, we are changing the way we communicate, this needn’t always be for the worse. Here are four great ways to use technology to improve your relationships, especially with your significant other.

1. Install Avocado, an app built for couples

avocado
    Avocado

    is a web and mobile app (available for Android and iOS) that was developed by two former Google employees. Avocado allows couples to privately share messages, photos, shopping lists and cute doodles. In addition, you can easily send your current location to your significant other and be automatically notified when their phone’s battery level is low.

    According to the app’s developers, “whether you’re in the same room or continents away, this couples app helps you and your boo stay connected anytime, anywhere. And just like home, it’s a private space for the two of you to share a life.”

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    Avocado password protects and encrypts your data, keeping all your shared sweet nothings safe and sound.

    2. Set up a shared budget

    budget

      In many relationships, money issues are the most common source of conflict and tension. Many of these issues are entirely avoidable if both parties communicate openly about financial decisions. One easy way to accomplish this is with a shared budget. While there are an abundance of budget options available, here are two that will likely fit most couples needs.

      The first is a simple and free solution, a Google spreadsheet. With this option, you are free to build your budget as you see fit. If you are willing to learn a little bit about basic spreadsheet formulas, you can easily automate the totaling of your line items and see exactly how much is remaining in each one of your budget categories. Your spreadsheet can be shared between you and your partner, with your changes updated in real time and stored securely in the cloud, accessible via Google Drive in both the browser and on your smart phones.

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      If a spreadsheet seems too basic for your needs and you would prefer something with more powerful budgeting features, check out YNAB, short for You Need A Budget. YNAB is a full featured desktop budgeting app which, through its cloud sync feature, allows each member of your family to add transactions to the ledger from their mobile apps. YNAB is $60 to purchase, which may seem a little steep, but, with its laundry list of advanced budgeting features, is well worth the price.

      3. Share your calendar

      calendar

        Make sure that you and your significant other are always on the same page when it comes to your schedule by setting up a shared calendar. The easiest way to do this is through Google Calendar‘s powerful sharing feature, which allows you to set up to 75 different people as collaborators, each with customizable levels of access. Simply go to the calendar that you want to share, or create a new “family” calendar and click the down arrow next to the calendar’s name and select Share This Calendar and type in the email address of whomever you would like to share it with. As simple as that, you now have a family calendar, stored in the cloud, that can be accessed from the browser and on your mobile phones.

        4. Start a couple’s blog

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        journal

          Every couple has a story to tell, why not tell yours together on a couple’s blog. Free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger make it possible for couples to chronicle their romance, publicly or privately. Starting a blog will simultaneously bring you closer together and allow you to build a record of your time together that you can look back on fondly if the relationship progresses…. or delete in anger if things go south, but you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

           

          Technology is fantastic when it comes to improving your communication and sharing data, but don’t forget to pull your face out of your phone every once in a while and spend some low-tech quality time together with your significant other.

           

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          Featured photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2019

          What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

          What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

          When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

          Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

          It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

          While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

          Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

          What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

          How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

          It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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          People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

          “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

          In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

          Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

          As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

          When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

          It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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          What are Interpersonal Skills?

          Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

          In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

          From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

          For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

          Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

          How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

          There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

          There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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          Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

          I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

          Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

          “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

          Don’t overlook introspection.

          While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

          Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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          When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

          Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

          “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

          The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

          The Bottom Line

          You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

          Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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