I am one of those people who has to communicate with people all day long. I never sign out of Facebook, and my cell phone is always next to me or in my hand. I answer emails and text messages almost immediately.
One of the main reasons I’m addicted to technology is because it allows me to keep in touch with childhood friends who moved away and college friends who live out of the area. My best friend from fourth grade came to visit me over the weekend, and it was like almost three years hadn’t passed since we’d last seen each other. We picked up right where we left off because technology enabled us to stay close.
While there are so many positive things about social media and cell phones, they can also wear on us. I can text three people, have a conversation with someone on Facebook and catch up on 10 games of Hanging with Friends all at the same time, but doing that constantly throughout the day wears me out.
I’ve started feeling guilty if I don’t answer a text message right away because people know I check my phone constantly. One of the things that bothers me the most is reading reports people can request on their phones that let them know when their text was viewed. My phone has the capability, but I chose not to enable it. I know it would drive me crazy. I’m already paranoid and don’t even read messages anymore until I’m ready to respond.
Facebook does the same thing with private messages. People can see exactly when I viewed their message, and if I don’t answer in a reasonable amount of time, it can seem like I am ignoring them or don’t care. When and why did it become a bad thing to read a message from someone and wait to answer? I started noticing these things over the past week, and I’ve been trying to talk myself out of the mindset that communication needs to be constant.
I’ve found myself flipping my phone over or leaving it in another room so I can have a few minutes of peace. The sad thing is, I’m thinking about my phone and what I’m missing the whole time I’m not looking at it. I’ve even been closing the Facebook tab on my computer while I do certain things lately so notifications won’t distract me.
Newer technology has almost taken the fun out of waiting for people to respond and appreciating it when they do. What happened to the simplicity of communication? I enjoy receiving handwritten letters or sending cards to friends. I cherish those more than any text message or email, and I am much more patient about waiting for them. Why can we wait for things like that but expect immediate responses to text messages?
What happened to not thinking people are ignoring us when they fail to respond immediately? It’s OK not to answer the second you receive a message. Sometimes we end up spending hours talking about nothing at all because we communicate so much with each other. We can still care about people even if we don’t talk to them all day, every day. If we don’t let life happen in the middle, we’ll eventually run out of things to say.