Especially for the younger generation, instant messaging has become a big distraction. There are so many chat applications out there, from Skype and Messenger to Viber, WhatsApp, Snapchat and the list goes on and on. Not to mention that new ones that are coming to the market every year.
Interestingly, many people use all the chat apps. All of them. They have 10 different messaging apps, because they’re so afraid of missing out on something. They want to be seen and connected everywhere. They want to be in touch and belong, and apps can give a fake sense of achieving that.
But from the productivity and even relationship point of view, that makes no sense.
Instant messaging doesn't equal being connected
First of all, there’s a big difference between communicating online and being connected. Sharing jokes, making small talk with people you barely know, having superficial conversations or even complaining all the time or writing hate comments is far from being connected.
It might give you the feeling of being connected and heard, but from an emotional point of view you’re only performing a poor form of communication, without any tangible value.
Real connection happens when you spend time with people in person (fully present) and you devote your full attention to them. Real connection happens when you open up to people, actively listen to them, when you show you care about them and being available without interruptions and distractions.
That’s very hard to do on messaging apps, especially with people you barely know.
As human beings, we’re all wired to build deep connections with other people. We can’t survive without being connected. But we need to be really connected, not only communicate superficially. Poor online communication can never replace real connection.
That’s why people are so greedy when it comes to messaging apps. They want more apps, more people to chat with, all in order to feel connected. Because they don’t get what they truly need out of superficial chatting, they want more and more of it, hoping things will change.
But they don’t.
Instant messaging apps are a good add-on to regular in-person communication
So rather than chatting with hundreds of people, select a few people you want to build real quality relationships with. Select a few people you regularly meet in person, do things together, you open to them and show them that you deeply care about them.
And in business, find people to create real value with, people who encourage you to be productive and bring the best out of you. You don’t need dozens of chatting apps for that. You need maybe a maximum of one or two apps.
So, select one messaging application and delete all the others. On that one app, make sure you initiate a talk only with your true friends – when you need a deep conversation, a short chat to relax, when you need someone’s help or advice or when somebody really needs you.
And when you spend time in person with them, make sure your chatting apps are closed and your phone is put on silent.
One of the biggest relationship ironies is spending time with your friends and the people you love in person, while simultaneously chatting on your phone with other people you barely know. Don’t confuse communicating with connecting.
Don’t confuse word exchange with a real emotional and creative bond. Only the latter can bring you happiness in life.