Text anxiety: why too many messages make us want to throw our phones at the wall

We now face as many as 2,167 messages a day from multiple apps. No wonder it sometimes all gets too much

When Senait Lara, a 28-year-old video producer in Los Angeles, was confronted by her friends about her lack of communication in their group chat, the accusations were as follows: she only caught up every few days; when she did, it was barely an interaction – Lara spent time “hearting” messages instead of responding with words; and sometimes she would never respond at all. Lara did not deny it. She knew she sometimes preferred to throw her phone in a corner and completely avoid it rather than deal with the onslaught of requests.

It wasn’t until Lara addressed her behaviour in therapy that she realized she felt anxious from texting because of her tendency to please those around her. As her therapist described, people-pleasers are less likely to have boundaries around communication, which smartphones barely provide. “I never understood why I would be so difficult to communicate with, but then I realized it was all online,” she said.

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