I’m not sure there is a way to write this post without you rolling your eyes at me and going, gah, this girl, she’s hella annoying. But you know, bear with me, OK?
There are two sure fire ways to have a conversation with me.
One, you see me in real-life. Or two, you ring my house phone.
I know, I know, a millennial with a house phone, someone please alert the village elders because I think the world is about to end.
I am utterly shit – and have been getting steadily worse with age – at replying to messages. Be it on text or Whatsapp, Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or email.
It’s not that I don’t want to reply and it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that when you’re bombarded from every angle with messages from both loved ones and complete strangers (HEY HOW ARE YOU AND THE BUMP? Lol look at this photo of us from 2011! Hey babe, where is that jacket from in that last Instagram you uploaded? Just chasing to see if you’re coming to our cocktail masterclass tonight? I’ve just started a blog and would love some tips on how to grow a following?), it’s sometimes just a smidge overwhelming to know where to even begin with responses.
Because the minute you respond – and this is ground-breaking – people start to reply, and then new people start messaging and you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of messages and OMG SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
We live as part of a generation that for the most part can be contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But does that mean we should be contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
My answer is absolutely bloody not.
Whereas my mobile phone was once a device that was completely limited to just text messages and calls (and playing the odd game of Snake – ain’t here for Snake 2, what a fail), my mobile phone is now my gateway to my working world.
I pick it up and I am at work instantly.
Regardless of whether you blog for a living, or heck – even blog at all, it’s likely that your phone will throw information at you from a variety of different apps and it’s up to you to try and navigate those waters and try and figure out, usually within seconds, what’s actually worth taking in.
It’s kinda exhausting, right?
My phone is no longer just a place to catch up with friends and family, but a place to secure collaborations and sponsored deals, to grow my (lol) personal brand, to engage with fellow bloggers and content creators, to organise meetings and RSVP to events.
My phone has gone from being a place I find solace after a v long day of grinding at sixth form, to a place that is at the very epicentre of stress and being so switched on I could spontaneously combust.
It’s not a place I like to be found lingering at the end of a long day or during a weekend – especially a weekend where I’ve made plans that involve actually seeing people in the flesh.
But does this make me a bit of a twat?
A bit of a shit friend?
A bit, well… self-involved?
I don’t think so. I mean, I checked with a couple of friends – one a fellow blogger, and one who couldn’t work in an industry further away from the blogging world and both were like THIS THIS THIS.
One said: ‘After a long day at work replying to emails and answering calls, all I want to do is crash out on the sofa and watch TV. I can’t be arsed with checking my Whatsapp messages and making small talk.’
Whilst the other said: ‘I rarely touch my phone at the weekends. I’m glued to it all week so why would I want to do the same on my days off?’.
And I agree wholeheartedly. Whilst social interaction is the very thing that gives me a boost on a low day, it’s not the social interaction that comes from my mobile – it’s the social interaction that comes from hearing my dad chuckle in the background whilst my parents are on loudspeaker, or the social interaction that comes from me and Chris playing with the cats.
It’s hearing real-life voices. It’s having real-life moments. It’s being ~present~.
I often leave my phone on charge upstairs in the evenings, or leave my phone on some random window sill in the house when I have people over at the weekend and just forget to check it.
Because why would I want to be refreshing Instagram or having a peek at the ol’ inbox when I could be discussing the best Quality Street chocolate with people I haven’t seen in a whole three months?
So I guess what I want to say is I’m not ignoring you for any reason other than because I want to switch off.
I want to have chats about my day over dinner at the dining table. I want to watch Grey’s Anatomy and actually be able to follow the storyline without getting distracted by Twitter dramz. I want to have long baths where I close my eyes and just work through every emotion I’m currently feeling. Heck, I just want to not live a life that’s emotionally reliant on my iPhone.
So I’m sorry if I’m not replying to your messages – it’s not you, it’s me.
And if you’re reading this and you’re related to me or we’re p. good friends, hit me up for my landline number. I’d love a good hearty catch-up over a brew one evening next week.