It was a promising premise. Our social networks were going to be such a great way to stay in touch with people from every nook and cranny of our lives. We could stay in contact with them all, effortlessly and all in one place. Even when it seemed weird that they were sharing photos of how well their food was plated at the Mexican restaurant down the street, we at least loved the transparency and the feeling of being connected. We craved it. We added friends to our lists like they were BOGO microwave dinners at the grocery store.
When you know someone intimately, you understand that they are beautiful, complex human beings. You understand that their responses come from a place that is not entirely contained in their bodies. They have histories and experiences that have formed them. They have circuitry in their brain that respond even faster than they can think.
But it also does something else which, as it turns out, is one of the most important parts of this whole process. It validates the speaker. That’s a fancy way of saying that the speaker knows that their emotions make sense or that they are not off the wall for feeling the way that they do.