I’m lucky to be a part of a few group chats with close friends. On these group chats, we check up on each other, share information, jokes, gossip, and the hilarious meme or two. Since the pandemic induced stay-at-home order I noticed a pattern. One person goes AWOL from the group for a while and when they return they send a message that looks something like this:
“Guys I’m so sorry I’ve been absent! I’ve been so overwhelmed lately I just needed a minute to myself”.
After receiving such a message over and over again from different friends, one day I had to say: “No more apologies! You shouldn’t have to be sorry for taking a break. Go and come as you please. We understand”. You see, these are wierd times and 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. We are all finding ways to deal with it. Keeping in touch with friends is one way and disconnecting from it all is another way. If you choose to disconnect, that is absolutely justified. Disconnecting is especially helpful these days as there’s a breaking news every hour and most of it s deeply depressing news. You can get sucked into the rabbit hole that you start to lose yourself.
I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to be in contact every day or every week. They should know that my love for them is constant and big enough to accommodate them being offline or out of reach for a while. So, let your friends know they don’t need to apologize for taking time off for themselves or for not keeping in touch as often as before. This is a period to show love to one another and support each other. Sometimes, supporting a friend means giving them some space. It means giving them grace to disconnect without having to feel guilty.
The next time a friend apologizes for not keeping in touch, say to them: “You don’t have to apologize, I understand and I love you regardless”. The same goes for you. Allow yourself to take time off to disconnect and find some calm. And when you feel like chatting again or recoocnecting, it would be a relief to know that you don’t need to explain yourself to your friends or feel guilty.
I’ve been having a regular digital detox where I delete Instagram (the app I spend the most time on) for a week and I suggest you try it. I’m currently in my second week of a month-long Instagram hiatus and it’s been a refreshing two weeks.
Here are a few other things you shouldn’t have to do either
On a side note, The Social Dilema is a newly released Netflix Documentary that dives deep into the sinster effects of constantly use social media and interaction with our mobile devices. Watch the trailer below
This article was first published in an issue of The Quarter-life Crisis Newsletter.
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