150 messages!! You must be kidding me! It is only 8 in the morning, on a Tuesday at that. What could they possibly be talking about now? Do not get me wrong, I love a good group chat full of my sister-friends. Hell, most days, the chat is what gets me through the stress of work-life balance. I know you would agree as most of you are scrolling through your phone now, tapping into that group chat filled with laughable moments, memes to save for days, and some of the best ratchet talk in the world.
I must admit, some days I caught myself hiding from the conversations that had begun to be a bit too much. I discovered that what started as simple humor, became a 3-hour long roast fest about celebrities, their babies, their mothers, and friends, whom I truly could care less about. Philosophies on relationships between men and women, turned into male bashing threads that were downright depressing. What the hell are we wasting our time talking about here ladies? Shouldn’t this chat be about our lives, what we want out of it, who we need in it, and what we are doing to improve it? Again, I love being able to talk with my sister-friends about anything, yet at this time of my life, I wanted more support and motivation and less he said she said.
Most of my chat groups are of like minds. We are within the same age range, we are similar in life experiences and career levels, though coming from different walks of life. Somehow when we got in that chat, our differences were lost. Our individual expressions and ideas on concepts and situations ended up clouded by popular opinion. The conversations were becoming less intellectual and promising. I ended up feeling guilty about not wanting to engage anymore. What kind of friend was I? Was I getting too bougie to talk about Hot Topics now? Am I the Debbie Downer that turns all efforts of release into a prayer session? I did not want to be her, yet I longed for more substance out of 150 messages a day. The answer was no to all the above questions. I am not that friend, but yes I did know that I needed to work on some things in my life, otherwise, why would I be so irritated by something I have indulged in millions of hours? Something was triggering me and I wanted to take the time to find out. So, I decided to unplug from the chats, and remove myself from the pressure to respond.
When I left, I thought it would only be for a day or two. It turned into weeks. I did miss chatting with my friends, as some lived far away, and this was my only communication with them. I also noticed how much time I spent in my head during and after our conversations. I recognized how unproductive it made me when it came to work and priorities. One topic would pull me away from my tasks for at least an hour without me even knowing the time that had passed. I had to take a step back, just as I would in any project or relationship. I know this may sound dramatic, but it was that serious. I nearly lost focus on my own thoughts messing around with daily gossip.
Listen, I promote and love these free spaces to talk with sister-friends, yet in the same vein, I value time to embrace and live in my own world of thought. There is no wrong in saying "nope not today, I'm putting you ladies on Do Not Disturb". There is no wrong in controlling what your eyes see and what your mind responds to. True sister-friends would have no problem with this. They should not take it personally or as some sort of attack on the friendship because removing yourself is a form of self-care and self-love. As I continue to work through my life searching for answers to my hopes and dreams, I also recognize the need to unplug and not feel bad about it.
I encourage all of you to take time out to unplug. Unplug from the chats, the social media post, and comments. Give your eyes and mind a chance to breathe. Let your mind wander back to a safe place, a place where you are focused on yourself, on what you want and need. Taking this break is not deprivation, it is simply a break. When you log back on, do not go back in time to see what was going on. Start right where you are. You will realize you have not missed anything at all. Your sister-friends will be waiting with open arms to get you up to speed on anything you want to know.