Single or Married – is WhatsApp ruining your relationships?
Do you remember what life was like before WhatsApp? Sending text messages from your allowance, trying to stick within the character limit, waiting for someone to reply and yes even making phone calls to people?
Having recently watched the film The Lunchbox starring Irrfan Khan, which I absolutely loved as it was a simple story about two strangers, that never meet, but share their experiences with one another by writing little notes and leaving them in the tiffin lunch box to find each day. The film is gripping as you watch the excitement they both feel eagerly awaiting the little note inside to see what has been said and what advice they both give one another on their current situations. This back to basic film got me thinking about the way we talk to one another these days.
Can you remember the last time you sent or received a love letter or even just a card from your loved ones instead of sending or receiving a WhatsApp message? We seem to have lost the way we talk to one another and have trading these little gestures in for what is now more convenient to us.
Don’t get me wrong, WhatsApp is brilliant for bringing people together from across the globe, making photo shares, videos, memes and updates so easy. It is instant messaging at your fingertips and allows you to stay connected with others (even if you don’t want to). With so many people globally using this great app, it has become increasingly difficult to avoid checking your phone constantly during the day, with multiple conversations, groups and threads to keep up with.
Text messaging seems to have taken a back seat and we only tend to receive a text message from our bank, mobile phone provider or better still the odd text from someone, only if WhatsApp is down!
Sending messages via WhatsApp can be fun but what happens when you don’t receive a reply for hours or days, knowing that the message has been sent, delivered, read and worst of all ignored, as you’ve seen those little blue ticks of doom? If that wasn’t heart breaking enough, we then can see when someone is online, typing, or better still last seen online to feel worse then we already did. All these features which we know and are guilty of using ourselves can lead to paranoia, especially when you are getting to know someone new or dating. We send messages eagerly awaiting a reply, see that it’s been read but still no reply. What’s wrong? Why haven’t they replied, I know they are online right now and have their phone with them. Who are they talking to besides me? Should I send another message to get their attention …. and so the obsession begins and we start to over react.
When you are getting to know someone new it’s best to start the communication via text rather than WhatsApp. Whilst text messages have some similar features, there is an unwritten rule giving you a longer waiting time to which you can respond before anyone gets hurt. This will allow you to ask the right questions, construct a good response and not say anything in haste. Moving the conversation to WhatsApp too soon creates an informal way of talking to one another. Especially if you are both online and in conversation, questions tend to go unanswered with the flow of the conversation and you can easily fall into the trap of being too available at the beginning, by always answering messages within minutes and setting the standard for receiving responses too.
I fully appreciate and understand that at the beginning of any new relationship the excitement and desire to a talk all day is there. However, what happens on the days that you can not reply as quickly, due to work or home commitments. The attention that was previously given is questioned and so the mind starts to wonder and over react to something so simple causing problems, and before you know it your guard is back up and you start to play hard to get. You also run the risk of learning so much about that person that the desire to actually talk on the phone or even meet up is sometimes lost and some new relationships never even make it to the first date.
It is so important to meet up with someone that you are in conversation with rather than hiding behind your phone and making judgement on situations. Anyone can pay compliments, flirt and joke over messages but when it comes to meeting in person, that’s when you will know if the person you have been talking with is worth getting to know further. If you leave it too long before you meet up you run the risk of building up expectations in your mind and feeling disappointed when they are not met.
So my advice would be next time you exchange numbers with someone and are getting to know someone new, start the conversation on text first. Maybe then arrange a date or meeting during this time or better still, have a proper conversation over the phone … something we all seem to have forgotten how to do these days. Meet up, see how it goes and then gauge when the right time is to move your conversations to WhatsApp.
If you are already dating or in a marriage some of the points mentioned may seem familiar in that we tend to express ourselves to one another during the day through messages rather than in person. So thinking back to the film The Lunchbox, why not leave a little note for your partner to read when they would least expect and trust me this will put a smile on their face much larger than any WhatsApp message you would have sent!
Date Masi … putting the fun back into dating (and marriage)!