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January 10, 2022

Do not disturb

We are living in a unique time in human history: never before has our attention been so commodified and in such high demand. Every app on your phone, every website you visit, wants to be the center of your world. Your matches on dating apps are no different. There is an expectation that you are always reachable, that messages sent in the middle of the night will get a response, that you won’t be left on read. And it makes sense - we did not evolve for asynchronous communication. We’re used to looking someone in the face, saying something, and getting a response in the moment.

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We need to get past that, now more than ever. That desire to be communicative and sense of obligation leads people to sleep next to their phones, to not let them out of sight, to feel ghost vibrations in their pocket when they’re walking. It’s not healthy and it impacts our lives in ways that people far smarter than me have spent years studying. The idea that we can always be reached is unrealistic. We need to have time in which we are unavailable. Setting boundaries is more important than ever.

This is all well and good when we think about work emails or group texts, but being unavailable on dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble is much harder - the whole reason we’re on them is because we’re available, right? But I’m here to tell you that, no matter how hot your match is, no matter how good the conversation is, you need to have time where you’re unreachable for your own mental health. I suggest 8 hours at night and at least one meal phone-free.

Bottom line: don’t feel like you need to respond to every message right away. Get sleep, build mystique.

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