As we get more and more immersed in our technological gizmos and gadgets, it's important to keep in mind the things that reside closest to our hearts: Family, friends, and loved ones. Although we often criticize the current generation for having lost substantial human connection in the digital age, we should take a moment to remember just how much technology can help us to develop and expand our relationships.

1. Travel is much more convenient

Before planes and trains and automobiles, the only way to get home for Thanksgiving was by horse and carriage--or a several-day walk. Without the convenience of the impressive means of transportation we boast today, it would be much more difficult to reconnect with loved ones at such a crucial time.

Even though we romanticize the lost days of the carrier pigeon and clandestine love letters, it is just easier to be with others in our contemporary age than it ever has been before.

2. Visits can be made up electronically

Although nothing does the trick like an in-person visit or interaction, maintaining close connections is certainly easier across digital media than missing the other person completely. With laptops that we can use to Skype, and smartphones with which we can FaceTime, there is almost no reason to leave our loved ones out--no matter where we are.

I have celebrated holidays and anniversaries with partners and family across oceans when flights are simply not a feasible option. Even if it's not the same as truly seeing them in the flesh, it tides me over until the next time I do--and makes it all the more special.

3. We value real connection more

Since we are constantly surrounded by technology, the interactions we have almost every second of every day no longer matter to us as much they once did. Instead, we place far greater value on real, face-to-face interactions. We truly cherish the connections we form in person.

These days, when someone confides in you late at night, you do more than just listen. You take their words in as an unspoken bond and reason to trust. You take their words, and you don't just appreciate them; you use them as a launching pad for a real, profound relationship. A true connection was formed--and you have no qualms about treating it as such.