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How Technology Is Affecting Your Relationships — And Your Mood

It’s a vicious cycle and we’re all in it.

POSTEDBYCLAIRE KIDMAN

There are more ways and places to get attention, or feel rejected, than ever before. Tinder, Insta, WhatsApp, Bumble, Hinge, Twitter, Snapchat. We all have them on our phones, and we carry them around with us everyday; little squares of social and romantic validation, with their nice rounded corners.

Left on read by the guy you liked? It’s fine, you can finally reply to the ones you didn’t bother answering on Tinder. The meme you DMed your friend has been “seen” but you didn’t get a “hahahahahahha ded” back? Maybe they hate you. Maybe they got distracted by the pastry they’re eating. Who knows.

You can post a selfie and get a guaranteed string of flame emojis from your friends, but this little confidence boost won’t last, because your ex just posted a story from some amazing vacation, or your friends are out without you, or someone just replied to your text with a “sure” which obviously means they never want to speak to you again.

Whether it’s heartbreak, social anxiety, self-confidence issues, or anything else, these things have a direct effect on our moods and emotions—and seeing as we’re exposed to them so frequently, it means we’re up and down more than ever before.

Eventually this constant cycle of communication, attention, and rejection will have you either crying, throwing your phone across the room, or deleting the numbers of everyone who has ever wronged you.

It’s toxic, but we’ve all been there and we put together some things that can help.

You can read a lot online about the links between social media, tech and dopamine, the chemical that’s linked with the brain’s reward and pleasure centers (check this out if you feel like a science lesson). Basically, we anticipate the buzz we’re going to get from our app interactions and it encourages us to keep going, so it figures that one of the easiest ways to break the cycle is to get rid of the most instantly validating elements. Here’s our top three tried-and-tested tips:

Bye Blue Ticks from Hell™️

Read receipts are straight up evil and we don’t need their negativity in our lives. We also don’t need to know how much time passed between someone reading our message and deciding to reply. It can feel like a direct measure of our value, but sometimes we’re just busy! It’s not always personal. It works both ways, too; if you’re having a bad day, a string of unanswered messages can be really stressful, but if you turn those read receipts off you can just deal with them whenever you’re ready to re-emerge from hibernation/class/the office.

Detox Your Notifications

Will the world end if you don’t instantly know someone liked your Instagram post, or that you have a new Tinder match? Yeah, didn’t think so. They’re a distraction and they tap into this reward cycle too, so try giving your brain a lil break and turn them off. If you’re the kind of person who gets live news updates to your phone though, then this article cannot help you because that’s a level of stress that no one needs apart from maybe actual journalists.

Bedtime Flight Mode

This is the “in case of emergency, break glass” of the tips here, but it’s tried and tested. At a certain point in the evening—or even in the middle of the day because there’s no judgement here and sometimes life is hard—just switch on flight mode. Just try it. Leave it on all night if you can; waking up to a bunch of drunk texts and the 105th notification that your iCloud backup failed isn’t going to improve your sleep quality, or your morning routine.

We’re no experts, and we’re juggling a million apps, friends and dates just like everyone else, but when things get rough maybe give these tips a try. Anything to make life more chill is worth trying at least once. We’ve gotta go now though, cos we’ve been writing this and haven’t checked Insta for over half an hour.

 

Next up: How falling in love with my therapist was the worst and best thing that's ever happened to me.

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