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View as: GRID LIST

PRESSING PAUSE ON WHATSAPP

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I’ve done something radical. People might think it’s a bit strange. In fact, a few people even asked if I was okay…

A week ago today I deleted WhatsApp from my phone. I know, right? In today’s busy modern social world, where pings of our mobiles are almost validations of existence; it felt like a crazy act of rebellion. And so far it feels pretty freeing.

For starters it is one less thing to check. I found that my fingers would go on a round-robin scroll when I picked up my phone. 1) Instagram 2) Shopify (my shop app)  3) WhatsApp 4) Emails.

SelfishMother.com
2
I would do this merry dance first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day and probably a couple of times before bed.

Then there was the constant distraction all through the day, the slight endorphin hit on seeing a red number appear on the App to signify a message had arrived. And because I’m curious, I’d always take the bait; I found it hard to leave it there unread. And it could be really interesting – like a party invite – or it could be a Year 2 message about someone loosing their jumper. But even just checking it meant my mind had been

SelfishMother.com
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taken from whatever I was doing and needed to be refocused. Sometimes it would send my mind in another direction entirely: Distracted.com.

Of course I felt happy, honoured even, with some of the groups and invitations I was invited to. Every time someone added me to a group I felt a little bit special. And yes the banter could be fun, feeling like I belonged to whichever crew it was. But, I’m a participator and I don’t mind sharing. And suddenly I wondered if I was sharing and participating too much.

Sounds funny right – that I was worried about

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over-sharing – seeing as I publish almost daily to 136K followers? But Instagram for me is an edited snapshot of life (albeit to to a global audience). Where as with WhatsApp I felt that there were no barriers on a smaller social scale, if I replied to mass messages then everyone knew what I was up to. But if I didn’t I felt rude – and I’m a middle child from Surrey, it’s against my nature to be rude or silent!

And talking of silent… at the opposite end of the spectrum – I sometimes got THAT feeling, when someone hadn’t replied to a message but

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you could see they’d read it. Very mild social paranoia ensued. Those two blue ticks probably meaning they were just busy, but coming across as distant. Or then there was the tumbleweed on being the last person to post something in a group, which nobody replied to at all (why is there not a tumbleweed emoji for those moments?). And when you’re overthinking something like that, you wonder if it isn’t easier just to pick up the phone instead.

In fact, I think that’s the crux of it – I started to wonder if interacting in groups meant that I had

SelfishMother.com
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forgotten to have one-to-one conversations. Instead of calling or texting people to chat one-on-one, I was having lots of watered down conversations. It made me lazy.

Of course, at the back of my mind I wonder if I’ll miss out on anything. I may get massive FOMO and so I may be back! But I’m hoping that if someone wants me somewhere then they’ll remember to text or call me. And if they don’t remember, maybe I wasn’t needed after all?

And my tip if you want to do the same? Text your friends to let them know what you’re doing, before you do it

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– as deleting the app let’s all the groups know that you’ve left. Don’t do what I did and forget to tell really good friends that you’re leaving when you disappear from a small longstanding group. At least it gives me an excuse to give them a call…
SelfishMother.com
Molly Gunn, Editor

By

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- 10 Feb 20

I’ve done something radical. People might think it’s a bit strange. In fact, a few people even asked if I was okay…

A week ago today I deleted WhatsApp from my phone. I know, right? In today’s busy modern social world, where pings of our mobiles are almost validations of existence; it felt like a crazy act of rebellion. And so far it feels pretty freeing.

For starters it is one less thing to check. I found that my fingers would go on a round-robin scroll when I picked up my phone. 1) Instagram 2) Shopify (my shop app)  3) WhatsApp 4) Emails. I would do this merry dance first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day and probably a couple of times before bed.

Then there was the constant distraction all through the day, the slight endorphin hit on seeing a red number appear on the App to signify a message had arrived. And because I’m curious, I’d always take the bait; I found it hard to leave it there unread. And it could be really interesting – like a party invite – or it could be a Year 2 message about someone loosing their jumper. But even just checking it meant my mind had been taken from whatever I was doing and needed to be refocused. Sometimes it would send my mind in another direction entirely: Distracted.com.

Of course I felt happy, honoured even, with some of the groups and invitations I was invited to. Every time someone added me to a group I felt a little bit special. And yes the banter could be fun, feeling like I belonged to whichever crew it was. But, I’m a participator and I don’t mind sharing. And suddenly I wondered if I was sharing and participating too much.

Sounds funny right – that I was worried about over-sharing – seeing as I publish almost daily to 136K followers? But Instagram for me is an edited snapshot of life (albeit to to a global audience). Where as with WhatsApp I felt that there were no barriers on a smaller social scale, if I replied to mass messages then everyone knew what I was up to. But if I didn’t I felt rude – and I’m a middle child from Surrey, it’s against my nature to be rude or silent!

And talking of silent… at the opposite end of the spectrum – I sometimes got THAT feeling, when someone hadn’t replied to a message but you could see they’d read it. Very mild social paranoia ensued. Those two blue ticks probably meaning they were just busy, but coming across as distant. Or then there was the tumbleweed on being the last person to post something in a group, which nobody replied to at all (why is there not a tumbleweed emoji for those moments?). And when you’re overthinking something like that, you wonder if it isn’t easier just to pick up the phone instead.

In fact, I think that’s the crux of it – I started to wonder if interacting in groups meant that I had forgotten to have one-to-one conversations. Instead of calling or texting people to chat one-on-one, I was having lots of watered down conversations. It made me lazy.

Of course, at the back of my mind I wonder if I’ll miss out on anything. I may get massive FOMO and so I may be back! But I’m hoping that if someone wants me somewhere then they’ll remember to text or call me. And if they don’t remember, maybe I wasn’t needed after all?

And my tip if you want to do the same? Text your friends to let them know what you’re doing, before you do it – as deleting the app let’s all the groups know that you’ve left. Don’t do what I did and forget to tell really good friends that you’re leaving when you disappear from a small longstanding group. At least it gives me an excuse to give them a call…

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Molly Gunn, Editor

Molly Gunn is the founder and editor of Selfish Mother, a site she created for like-minded women in 2013. Molly has been a journalist for over 15 years, starting out working on fashion desks at The Guardian, The Telegraph & ES Magazine before going freelance in 2006 to write for quality publications. She now edits Selfish Mother, sells #GoodTees to raise funds for charity, & writes freelance for Red Magazine and The Sunday Telegraph's Stella. Molly is mother to Rafferty, 6, Fox, 4, and baby Liberty. She is married to Tom aka music producer Tee Mango and founder of Millionhands. They live in Bruton, Somerset.

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