The Vision of Affyn
Building meaningful connections and a sense of belonging
Busy, Busy, Busy
Growing up, life was simple. As kids, we live in the present moment day to day, making friends easily and having fun. We had all the time in the world, and we spend most of that time playing together with friends and family. We learn from each other, and the memories and bonds built were strong. However, as we age, we slowly become occupied with more and more commitments. Getting good grades in school becomes a priority, and subsequently getting a good job and getting the promotions. After all, we need to put food on the table and bills don’t pay themselves.
Working long hours every day is tough enough as it is, yet we also have to deal with politics and power struggles within the office. Sometimes we even have to work overtime, rush through impossible deadlines, or deal with unreasonable customers, and the list goes on and on. It has become a norm to see people fall sick, collapse, and sacrifice their health through overworking; yet praised for their hardworking attitude. (This is more prominent in the Asian culture context)
Imagine compounding this effect over the next couple of years or decades. It is impossible to not negatively affect our physical, mental and emotional health. That’s why I’m not surprised when most of us would choose to spend whatever free time we had watching Netflix or engaging in other leisure activities alone or with our loved ones.
At some point in life, you would likely get married, and have kids of your own. Suddenly, you realize you don’t really have much time to yourself, much less to do the things you enjoy or are passionate about. You start to reject social activities and gatherings more and more; claiming that you’re busy, have something planned, or taking care of the kids.
Before you know it, friends stopped inviting you out, and you spend most of your time together with your family and kids thinking this is only normal. Until you reach a point where you’re retired and your kids have grown up living their own lives. As the people within your remaining social circle decreases (be it due to old age or relationships drifting apart), this sense of loneliness that is gnawing inside you will only increase. By then, most of us would have quietly accepted our fate to live our lives as such.
Era of Technology & Social Media
Technology has been rapidly developing, and we are now able to communicate with one another instantly from across the world through voice or video calls. Through social media, we now have hundreds to thousands of friends, both locally and internationally. Yet ironically, while we are more connected than ever, we are also more alone than ever.
Today, it feels so easy and natural to simply “text” someone. Most interactions are done over the internet, which impacts our social skills and ability to feel the intentions and emotions of the person we are conversing with face-to-face. Some grow up to become socially awkward, and find comfort in scrolling through their mobile phones in social gatherings instead. It becomes difficult for them to form meaningful connections with other people physically, so they spend more time online instead, which leads into a negative spiral.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is amazing. I love it that we can now communicate with anyone anytime and anywhere with a device that fits into the size of our pockets. It has helped shortened the distance between many people living far apart. What I don’t like is how people have adapted to using technology to replace the traditional way of building relationships — through face-to-face interactions. Majority of us take it that “liking”, “reacting” or commenting on our friend’s post in social media will suffice to maintain our relationship. We can now go for months or even years without physically meeting up with our friends, as we’re kept “up to date” on their lives through social media.
Over time, we get so comfortable with this form of interaction, that the next time we’ll probably see each other’s face again physically would be at our funerals. Or perhaps not. Perhaps our relationship has drifted so far apart that we’re no longer that close, and he or she is just that online friend. Sounds morbid I know, but I need to bring up this reality before it is too late.
Going Back to Our Roots
At our core, we humans are social creatures. We evolve and survive the ages through working together and building relationships with one another. Together, we build communities, which develop into villages, towns, cities, and countries. Yet, the further we progressed, the more we forget our roots and how we got to where we are today.
While it is easy to lose sight of what’s truly important in our lives with the distractions of everyday life, we must keep reminding ourselves not to neglect our friends and family and the bond we built over the years. Even the prettiest of flowers will wither if you do not put in the effort to care for it, what more something as intricate as an interpersonal relationship. Technology can help to fill this gap partially, but it can never replace a good face-to-face social interaction.
Social connection is so important to us, that the lack of it will negatively impact our health. It has been found that people who are lonely tend to have an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Prolonged loneliness may also led to other mental health issues such as depression or lack of motivation towards life.
Even the most introverted or unsociable of us who claims they prefer being left alone appreciates having someone physically there for us. Nothing can substitute a warm hug and genuine words of affirmation to show someone they care. It is that “human touch” which technology can never replace.
Can You See It?
The distractions of everyday life and the accessibility to technology have resulted in this situation we have today: declining social circles and the sense of loneliness. We understand it is difficult, as we have to make a conscious effort to maintain these relationships. In most instances, it is not that we do not wish to stay connected, but there are just too many things happening in our lives. We try to postpone meeting up to a later date, only to be overwhelmed with work or other matters that it slipped our minds.
While technology has helped us to bridge this gap in some ways, we believe it has the potential to do so much more. Since technology has already become so ingrained in our everyday lives, we do not wish to drastically change people’s behavioral patterns. Instead, we want to embrace technology, using it to facilitate and drive towards our vision. The advantages of technology are that it is convenient, consistent, and its possibilities are only limited by our imagination. Using technology, we can overcome some of the issues mentioned above, and even encourage deeper understanding and connection with one another.
Our vision is a world where people can live in the present moment and have fun like kids. Kids living their lives together with their friends and family happily and meaningfully. Making friends would be a breeze, and you’ll be able to build deeper connections with the people you care about. We know our dream is not going to be easy to accomplish, but we know it is going to be worth it. For us, for you, for the world.