All my career, I’ve studied what happens when the virtual encroaches on the most private moments of our lives. Having screens always on and always-on-us may be convenient, but it’s also an assault on our ability to truly take in another person. It is an assault on our empathy.
Before quarantines and lock downs, I knew—we all knew—that our phones offered so many ways to connect but inhibited deep bonds of love and friendship. We were always distracted and thinking about our next text or call. When we hid behind screens during conversations, we felt less vulnerable. That could feel like a plus, but it had its price: vulnerability is the first step towards intimacy.