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Double tick of death

Back in the dark ages of 2006, most of us used text or SMS (as the dinosaurs called it), for clear and concise communication. Calling and messaging were built in functions of the phone itself. In 2007, Apple dropped the first ever Iphone which revolutionised the entire industry. In the blink of an eye, phones were all about apps. In February of 2009, Whatsapp was launched. This incredible platform provided unlimited domestic and international messaging, calls and media share free of charge. However, nobody could predict one seemingly insignificant feature that would become the source of deep anxiety and anger in our relationships. Let’s talk about the blue double tick. Not designed with malicious intent, its job was to notify the sender that the receiver had seen the message. Unfortunately for some of us, it has resulted in a psychological nightmare. So why is it causing so many problems?


· Insane expectations. Once upon a time, we lived in a world where your partner might be away for months at a time. It was normal and expected to not be in communication. Nowadays, you can barely go to the loo without them know your whereabouts. There is this new and unrealistic expectation that because you are reachable, you should be immediately responsive. I call it TRT (text reply time). Each person will have their own TRT they deem appropriate. For some, it’s 5 minutes, for others it’s 5 hours or 5days. TRTs may vary depending on the person or context. What is your appropriate TRT? How do you feel when someone doesn’t reply in that time frame?


· False assumptions. It’s easy to make up a reason in your head that usually has nothing to do with the truth; worst of all, you might end up believing it. Are you guilty of this? If a person hasn’t texted you back in the appropriate TRT, you might tell yourself “they’re not really into me, they’ve got better things to do, they’re obviously chatting up someone else”. Be careful, this is a dangerous game.


· Feeding insecurity. If you allow your unchecked assumptions to ruminate, they can very quickly exacerbate your insecurities and too much time on replay can sediment them as thoughts and beliefs (which they are not). This is exactly how we end up at the next point.


· Going crazy. If you feed this beast, it will make you bonkers. What about extending the benefit of the doubt to really legitimate alternatives such as; they have a life, a job, kids, hobbies, friends, gym, personal time, passion projects? While our delusional ego would often like us to believe we are the centre of the universe, we’re actually not.

So what do we do about it?


This is a tough cookie to crack and one I suspect will be an on-going challenge for many of us. It is highly advisable to take a deep breath, get some friends and hobbies, leave your phone at home from time to time and don’t take things too personally. If you’re busy out there living, you’ll understand that your phone is not a priority and that experiencing life is.

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