Without the Smartphone, My Friends are Just Insufferable Twits

Humour

Without the Smartphone, My Friends are Just Insufferable Twits

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré

D

ear Fellow Millennials,
I write this as a warning to those of you who are likely living in a mobile-phone-induced misconception that all their friends are functional adults. They are not. To realise who we are as a generation, all I had to do was spend a day with my friends without the distraction of my phone.

I didn’t set out to do this, of course. I’m not suicidal. But I did manage to arrive at brunch, without a fully charged phone and no charger in sight. Now let me make it clear this was my #Squad I was brunching with and by all means, we considered ourselves #SquadGoalz.

Like most millennials, my squad has been attuned to believe that most people outside our group aren’t worth our time or attention. #NoNewFriends is more than a hashtag to us. It’s a motto and way of life we have adopted. But two hours of notification-less brunching with them made me reconsider every life decision I’ve ever made. Including #NoNewFriends.

At the beginning of this phoneless brunch, people who seemed like fairly functional adults, suddenly became prime candidates for a psychiatrist’s chair. Prior to this, I had no idea that we used selfies, Instagram-tagging, and showing each other pictures of our crushes on our phone screens as replacement for ummm… actual, human interaction. That afternoon, I learnt some painful details about my friends.

At the beginning of this phoneless brunch, people who seemed like fairly functional adults, suddenly became prime candidates for a psychiatrist’s chair.

For starters, I had no idea just how much of a supremely misogynistic prick the Daddy-Ka-Business dude in our gang was. Maybe I was too distracted by Facebook Notifications every time he bragged about cheating on his girlfriend before this. I’d never noticed that my doctor friend, who is happily married, has an unhealthy obsession with bitching about her in-laws and can’t go five minutes without adding to her Insta Stories. The Fashion Blogger, who I’d always thought was woke, seemed to only be able to talk about her trouble finding a rich husband so that she can quit fashion blogging at the ripe age of 27. The Real-Estate dude who is relatively new to the gang and who I was hanging out with for the first time without the sweet distraction of Snapchat, volunteered to show me proof of how the Vatican used to be Shivling. It was a WhatsApp forwarded to him on a Whatsapp Group titled, “Hindu Power by 2020.” I literally could not.

By the end of brunch, I didn’t know who to feel sorrier for… myself or them. It was clear to me that we’d been living within the collective veneer of our social media personalities for far too long now. It had come to a point where we barely knew each other’s real-world personae.

I contemplated broaching this subject with them, but when I reached home and plugged my phone for charging, I was flooded with Instagram and Facebook notifications. As expected, Fashion Blogger had gone all out and uploaded a series of photos from our just-concluded brunch. Like clockwork, her caption included both #NoNewFriends and #SquadGoalz.

The 89 likers on the post were blind to the deep levels of dysfunctional angst that lay behind every smile in our meticulously rehearsed groupfie. I contemplated untagging myself and breaking this vicious cycle of digital gratification.

I am not so bold, however. So I decided to be her 90th liker and write a piece about it instead.

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