I spend a significant portion of my time on my phone. It’s more than I would care to admit, that’s for sure, and it’s also more than I want to. I while away hours a day in scrolling and tapping, but I’ve noticed a worrying theme recently; I am completely failing at keeping in touch with those who mean the most.
This isn’t going to be the grandparent-style ‘you younguns are always staring at your technology rather than enjoying what’s going on around you’ thing – that’s an issue in itself, but let’s stick purely with cyber contact for now. There are windows in between that important face to face time where it’s nice to check in digitally, particularly if you live far away from your loved ones or are finding it difficult to co-ordinate regular catch ups in person. That’s the joy of our youngun technology after all – we can now communicate wherever we are, as much as we want, very cheaply, and through countless channels.
So if I’m on my phone multiple times a day and I’m getting notifications saying my mum or my friend or someone else that I genuinely do want to talk to is trying to start a conversation – why does it take me so long to do anything about it?
I’m not entirely sure, to tell you the truth, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately (while I continue to fail at replying to people) so I thought I would broach the subject here. Some of the problem, I’m sure, stems from the classic ‘being busy’ that we’re all constantly talking about. Busy with work and replying to emails and life admin and trying to be a superwoman/man. There’s some truth in that; I do feel like I am busy most of the time. However, I’m not a very important person, so nothing I’m doing is very important – and what about those 15 minutes I spent mindlessly scrolling yesterday rather than replying to my nan’s text?
Based on what other people have said and various tweets I’ve seen relating to being bad at responding to messages, I’m pretty sure it’s not just me who has a problem with replying. It seems that nowadays, we’ve lost a sense of urgency when it comes to keeping in touch; we know that when it comes to it, we can contact someone easily and quickly, so the need to respond immediately is no longer there and a timely response doesn’t seem as important as it once did.
Terrible example that serves to highlight this and also show what a horrible person I am; recently I failed to respond to a friend (who I love very much) for a couple of weeks and she ended up sending me a message asking if she’d done something to upset me. Obviously I felt awful, and responded immediately after that, but it was that message that made me see what a pit of communication avoidance I’d gotten myself into.
Because it does actually feel like a bit of a bottomless pit; if you are someone who is bad at replying, like me, you’ll probably understand what I mean when I say that modern communication can be overwhelming. If you’re super good at staying in touch then you might just think I’m a) useless or b) nasty, but I’d like to hope that isn’t the case.
There are just so many types of messages out there – from texts to whatsapps to emails to tweets to comments to DMs and beyond. And who are they from – boss, boyfriend, gal pal, your aunt, long lost friend? Get a few of those different kinds flying at you, and it can all start to feel a bit too much. Not only is it easy for one message to get lost in the void, but it starts to seem like you have more to do than you actually do – even if you want to speak to all of those people, it feels difficult and time consuming to do so. And of course, the longer you leave it, and the more guilty and disconnected you feel, the harder it becomes to send that reply.
Jumpsuit – New Look (old) | Satchel – New Look (old) | Mules – M&S | Personalised phone case – GoCustomized* | Necklace – ASOS | Sunglasses – Primark
If you’re here for the outfit; yes, I matched my phone case to my jumpsuit. Not sorry. I actually bought this palm print jumpsuit a couple of years ago, but this is more of a general wonderings post than a styling post so thought it would be okay for me to wear it, even though it’s not available to buy (it would be anyway, but that’s a whole other topic).
I paired it with my trusty mules which you may or may not be sick of seeing, a green satchel that I rediscovered while we were moving – and of course this particular post wouldn’t be complete without my phone. GoCustomized were kind enough to send me a personalised phone case, so I chose palms (although they had lots of cute designs) and then went all out and stuck my name on it too. It’s been something of a revelation, because not only have I never owned a custom phone case or even a pretty one, but it’s also covered up the coffee stains that I’d managed to get on the back of my phone…
Anyway; this post is a vow, basically, that from now on when I pick up my phone, I prioritise messages from friends and family over checking up on Instagram. I’ll open Whatsapp before I open Twitter. I’ll call someone back rather than thinking that it’s probably fine because if they really wanted me they would text. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with modern communication and something’s gotta give, it shouldn’t be my nearest and dearest.
*Denotes a product that has been gifted to me or sent for review purposes. All styling, thoughts and imagery are my own.
Photos: Rob Poor