Tech, Now + Beyond

Whatsapp keeps me from being lonely and friendless in my 20s

Please check your elitist Apple-user superiority complex at the door.

My morning routines go like this: I wake up, stare up at the ceiling while trying to desperately reacquaint myself with world of the living, and then I finally roll over and check my Whatsapp messages.

After seven or eight hours of leaving my phone unattended, I always wake up to new messages. Checking them first thing in the morning has become a simple way of grounding myself before I prepare for the day.

WhatsApp is my messaging method of choice.

As the only person with a Samsung in a sea of iPhones, Whatsapp acts as the great equalizer amongst me and my friends. There’s no room for iMessage or lofty Apple-using superiority complexes there. I chat and type freely without any worry that my messages, emojis, or .gifs will get lost in translation while traveling between operating systems.

My Whatsapp itself is an extension of my personality.

I first downloaded it back in the summer of 2012. That was such a bittersweet time for me. I was just coming out of a depression haze that lasted right through the earlier months of that year.  I managed to kick that bout of depression in large part because of another popular social media app, Tumblr. Weirdly and surprisingly enough, through a hesitant interest in One Direction, I quickly fell headfirst into the fandom and met a ton of new people. Downloading Whatsapp was a way to stay in contact with all of my new friends (most of whom I still talk to today).

However, since then my Whatsapp space has managed to take on a life of its own.

It is filled with fandom group chats complete with punny names that my long-suffering friends had no say in creating. There are also hastily recorded and muffled voice notes. As well as a media folder that is almost exclusively candid and blurry pictures of the latest Harry Styles sighting.

If someone wanted to learn the most about me in a quick period of time, my Whatsapp chats would be the best resource. They are the clearest representation of me and my relationship with my friends.

Attribute: image provided by the author

Look, maintaining friendships in your twenties is hard. This is a simple fact I couldn’t have learned until I started living them. My twenties have become a transient period that I had no idea how to prepare for. The people around me are also starting their own lives and careers. They are beginning to build roots for the very first time. It feels like with each new year comes a different friend of mine moving to a new city.

By the end of this summer alone, I’ll have had to say farewell to two of them.

My days of having hometown friends that I could call up and organize last minute trips to diners and beach boardwalks are long gone. Now, in order for us to all stay in touch, we have to make an active effort. We can’t use work and the physical distance between as an excuse for going months without speaking. We are forced to actually pick up the phone and reach out. This is where Whatsapp comes in.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve grabbed my phone during a period of total crisis or extreme excitement. Whenever anything significant happens in my life Whatsapp is my way to share it with these long-distance friends in an instant.

I may be a self-described introvert, but I’m also the kind of person who needs to feel connected to the few friends I do choose to keep in my circle. These friends frequently act as my support system and voice of reason.

Whatsapp acts a sort of security blanket. It’s comforting to know that I can reach out to my closest friends at any time regardless of country, state, or time zone. During a stage where our lives are constantly in flux, I’m grateful to have a tiny but powerful app that strengthens the bonds of my friendship with every hit of the “send” button.