On the Rejection of IM Read Receipts
Your imagined crises, brought on by nerves, too shall pass.
It was the hardest thing I’ve done. My natural inclination is to rush closer to her. And here I was putting a moat between us, while construction was in progress.
I turned off blue ticks on WhatsApp, a popular instant messaging app and a blackhole of my time. Things were becoming intense in a new relationship.
I didn’t do it for just her, to not fret after every delay or blue ticks without an immediate response. I did it to slay Derek the Dragon of Immediate Gratification. His other title is the Dragon of Fraught Moments of Imagined Impending Doom.
Blue ticks are a bulimic puppy, with a penchant for angst and pained waiting. Try waiting for those cute puppy ticks to turn blue and then no oncoming traffic carrying a message back. Just voidy nothingness until the reply comes. Your own eyes crash into each other. When blue ticks disappears, “typing…” is restored to its original state of being a verb, rather than the drum solo before the worst key change your neuroses can conjure up.
I haven’t been in this intense affection with someone in years. It’s the vulnerability Olympics, where you get dropped into first heat on day 1. And it’s also not too dissimilar to being a naked waiter, first day on the job, you don’t have time to stop and put on your pants, every word coming out like an arrow, and you want the person to catch it immediately. And maybe pay you a tip.
I turned off read receipts because I wanted to experience this growing bond as free as possible from the doomsday scenarios of my mind about every step on instant messaging.
She asked me about it today and I told her I did it for health reasons. It’s healthy not to have read receipts.
I turned them back on once I found some peace inside and nothing changed. We’re still together.