According to this 1995 commercial, "American Online is making it easier for people to live, work, and play." In part, this is true. Ordering roses for our spouse, checking the weather, arranging family vacations, and watching the news is much easier with the internet. Of course the internet can also be a stumbling block. According to one website, "61% of teens feel confident that they know how to hide what they do online from parents and 71% of teens have actually done something to hide their online behavior." Perhaps that is expected. Teens are sinners; they need to grow in maturity; they will do things online that we, as adults, know should not be done.
I wish I could say this misuse of the internet was limited to teenagers. Unfortunately, it is not. We, as adults, can inappropriately use it as well. While the alive and violent issue revolving around the internet currently is pornography (it is a billion dollar industry), that is not the misuse about which I am writing. It is something much simpler - email.
Email is a great resource. It saves us time and energy. We can quickly get our point across to our recipients and move on to the next issue. You can send YouTube videos, sermons, prayer requests, blogs, and a host of other information. However, I believe there are certain things that should be allergic to email -- disagreements and conflict resolution. Don't believe the lie - email is not the best option to discuss your disagreements and conflict, no matter how clearly you think you convey your thoughts. Someone is bound to be offended. Facial expressions and tone are absent from email. We can come across too pointed and angry, and any time we simply feel the need to "get something off our chest," I guarantee we are not in the mindset to send email.
I have seen countless relationships ruined because people attempted to "voice their concerns" via email. (You can just as easily expand this to Facebook). In my opinion, when dealing with disagreements and conflict, it is always best to have a face-to-face conversation. If face-to-face interaction seems unlikely (e.g., the person lives in another state), a phone conversation is the next best option.
We know this, right? Then why do we keep making the same mistakes?
Please take it from me. Sometimes email does not make it easier to "live, work, and play." I have participated on both the receiving and sending end of emails that have partially ruined relationships. All it took was a phone call to set up a time to meet in order to discuss our differences. That would have resulted in a much better interaction that could have saved a relationship.
Take the long road. Meet together or pick up the phone when you need to discuss a disagreement or pursue conflict resolution.