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Picture this: You're lounging on your couch, binging your favorite show, and ping! - a message from a friend or loved one. You stare at it like it's an alien artifact. To reply or not to reply? That is the question. It should be simple, but it goes to your head, you feel all the feels, and all the sudden, to cope with this anxiety, you go chase some dopamine.

If you are nodding your head, hello! You are like me. However, be aware this is not a rant post. I want to explore how and (MAYBE find out) why replying to a simple "How's it going?" text can feel like climbing Mount Everest, but if our loved one sends an "SOS, I need you!" message, we're suddenly a superhero swooping in to save the day? Yeah, pretty weird, I know. AND, if you are the other type of person who is thinking: “Oh for f*cks sake! Just reply right away and don't suffer”, then also stick around! Maybe this blog post will help you understand the other half of society.

The Great Paradox: Overwhelmed Yet On-Duty

Our phones buzz more than bees in a blooming garden. Sometimes, just looking at a text can make us feel like we've been asked to solve a Rubik's Cube in record time. So, why is that? 

Honestly, I thought at first that I would be the ONE to figure out the deepest reason why we isolate ourselves and simultaneously are the first ones to BE THERE. But, I guess (per usual) I only got more questions and two plausible theories:

Emotional Energy: It's Not Unlimited!

Imagine your emotional energy as your phone's battery. Each text, call, or DM consumes a bit of it. By the end of the day, you might be running on power-saving mode, barely able to keep the screen lit. This is why a casual chat can feel like a drain – your emotional battery is low! That also applies to in-person conversations, but we’re better at acknowledging that we use our battery when it’s physical (?). When we’re talking about online “stuff”, things can get so blurry. It’s harder to track how much energy you spend online with OTHERS when compared to your undivided one-on-one in-person attention, even in groups.

Crisis Mode: Activating Hidden Powers

Okay, but now we’re talking about the top-priority people. The ones we would donate our kidneys to, or not. Maybe no surgery-related sacrifices, but you know, those people that we care a great deal more than the masses. How come we're struggling with our anxiety to not reply or procrastinate a conversation, but when they need help, we would be right there?

I went deep down to my core to find a cute answer... but I guess it’s more related to when there's a crisis, we’re not necessarily ourselves. Getting back to the “phone analogy”: When in crisis, it's like your phone suddenly finds a hidden power bank. We're energized, focused, and ready to PROTECT this person. This isn't just you being quirky; it's a testament to how we prioritize and respond to urgency over routine.

I know it's a bit disappointing. I also wanted something more meaningful to say, but as a great skeptic, I'll stick to the "no-fluff" response. Besides, this writing got me into a thoughtful and healing process, and I could not get on with it without some effort to help whoever might EVER read this. So here goes nothing.

The Attempt Solution

I say “attempt” because I am literally trying this method right now; ask me how it goes in the future! Jokes aside, after some thought and research, I came up with some reasonable approaches. So, what's the fix? It's not as simple as replying faster, or just doing it (sorry, Nike). It seems that it starts with managing our emotional resources. Just like you can't pour from an empty cup, you can't text from an emotionally drained place. But self-care talk is overdone by now, so what else can I offer?

Set Boundaries: It's okay to not reply instantly. Set some 'me time' where you recharge your emotional batteries. But also, set some ‘do time’ where you fight the crippling anxiety. Replying to one or two messages is a step in the right direction. To-do lists may help! I literally write down: “Reply to …person…” daily.

Communicate: Let your peeps know that while you might not be the Flash in responding to texts, you're always there for them when needed. By now, some of your close ones already think they can’t rely on you because of your slow reply rate. The antidote to this: explain your difficulty with keeping up with messages and ask them to trust that you’re SO THERE for them, regardless. You can go even further and create a code for when needed most like a “bat signal.”

Embrace Your Human-ness: At the end of the day, it's about embracing the beautiful mess that we are as humans. We're not perfect. Sometimes we're more of a sloth than a cheetah in responding to messages. But when it counts, we're there, faster than you can say "Help!"

And so it is, I might have helped myself more than anything else. Still, I hope to have been able to bring a little insight into why we're overwhelmed texters but eager crisis responders. Overall, we’re doing just fine in this crazy world of texts, emojis, and endless notifications. Or maybe we're just surviving and creating this new normal that not everyone is fit for. But let's not think too much about it, right? RIGHT?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some unread messages to contemplate over a cup of coffee... or maybe two.


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