Casandra Zimmerman
Updated Jul 22, 2015 @ 3:44 pm
PLL phones

In this modern age of social media, text messaging, and Skype, young people are in constant contact, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Being a teenager, I experience firsthand the obsession with constant contact (and sometimes depression) that comes along with social media. Facebook has become crowded with people’s idealized versions of life and Instagram is never an accurate measure of what someone’s real life is like. But there’s something even more insidious at work with all of our constant technology use: the impact it has on our relationships.

Texting has become our primary means of communication and girls and guys alike are set on getting instant responses. If the person you’re texting doesn’t text back soon enough, a hailstorm of questions and fears rain down, whether you want them to, or not. “Are they mad at me?” “Am I being too clingy?” “Did I respond too quickly?” “They don’t want to talk to me!”

In reality, of course, these worst-case scenarios are unnecessary; the person you’re texting is probably eating or taking a shower — or literally anything more important than texting. As great as technology is, sometimes I even the generations that didn’t have it. After all, no one had to worry about this constant contact 15 years ago. All they had to worry about was whether or not the person would call them every couple of days, or maybe even every week. Now, we freak out if a person does not respond in an hour (or sometimes way less). How did we get this way?

Whatever the cause, I’m taking a stand against constant contact. Put your phones down. Take your time replying to that text or SnapChat. But why should you opt out of having constant contact with and immediate replies from people — especially those humans you end up dating? I can think of a few really great reasons.

It’s stressful

When people are in constant contact, any break in communication raises alarms. Why isn’t this person texting me back? They said they were at their mom’s but their Twitter update says they’re having a great time with friends (and I wasn’t invited)?! Texting isn’t the only problem. Checking in on your S.O. on social media counts as contact and it can be just as stressful and damaging. Constant contact tends to breed self-doubt, which leads to a lot of extra stress.

You forget about the world around you

When you’re constantly on your phone, you miss out on a lot of things — like, movies, TV shows, stories from your friends, and little, unimportant things like class discussions. If your whole attention is on Instagram, checking up on your S.O., you might miss out on getting to know an even better person sitting right next to you or on making a new friend. #nofilter

You don’t know what to talk about with guys and girls you hang out with for the first time because you started the relationship out texting

.. And the awkward silence freaks you both out. The truth is that texting constantly is like a communication binge. You learn everything about someone rapidly, in a week or so, and then things get awkward because you’ve run out of things to talk about while glossing over everything. Take it slow, talk a little at a time, really get to know each other and ask meaningful follow up questions and then, most importantly, give each other some mental space with a little break from all the communication overload. You’ll have a better, and probably longer-lasting, relationship for it. And even if you don’t, your friends will be 100 percent less annoyed by your relationship, and that’s worth something.

(Images via here, here, here and here.)