This is the first post of things I learned on my missions trip. I learned this while away from the internet for a week, so it might be slightly hallucinatory and make little sense.
What did I learn? There's nothing better than a face to face conversation.
Sure, the internet is nice for keeping up with people and for learning things. However, it is basically useless when it comes to real conversations. Why?
A. It takes too long to respond.
This is obvious, especially with emails. Sure, you can have conversations this way, but it just doesn't feel as connecting as a real conversation. You miss body language, verbal cues, and it takes too long for the other person to respond. There's no one over there to answer your question or comment on your statements until you've already left. This is fixed with chat rooms, but then you still run into another problem.
B. It's hard to explain yourself over written word.
This is especially true when debating someone over the internet. You post a huge novel of a response, then wait for them to respond, and find they've asked a question about the beginning of your speech. You answer that, get sidetracked on that discussion, and never get around to working through the big stuff. This can happen in real life too, but at least then it would save you the time of going through the unused words. And, with written word, you miss body language from the other person. And, over the internet, you sometimes can't tell if a person is asking a genuine question, being sarcastic, or just trying to aggravate you while ignoring what you say.
Now, most of the time, you can't be with your friends all the time. That is what makes the internet great. It keeps people together, and your 'conversations' can go a lot quicker than when we had to wait for letters to come in the mail. Still, a lot of the time I'd rather jump to the internet and do a quick email or Facebook message than actually talk to a person face to face. This keeps up the relationship, but it doesn't really help it grow.
Growing your relationships is something best done face to face.