Instant Messaging Ruins Friendships

March 22nd, 2007 | Categories: chat, networks, social media

Conversation BubbleYup, it’s true. It seems counter-intuitive and paradoxical at first, but upon further analysis, there is a case to be made.

Most people assume that IM clients bring people closer together and solidify personal and family relationships. I would agree to some point. But what people fail to see is that instant messenging may unknowingly ruin friendships, as relationships are often taken for granted.

I’m not saying this is the case in all situations, but I would wager it happens more than we care to admit. If you are lost and do not understand what I mean, ask yourself if this sounds familiar:

  1. You add a friend or family member that you haven’t chatted with in awhile.
  2. You chat with them for the first couple times they sign on.
  3. Conversations quickly peter off and chat topics become dry.
  4. They become yet another name on your huge IM list.
  5. You glance over them as you check your list daily.

Sound familiar? It does to me and many others I know. Many friends and family members that I used to love bumping into on the street or enjoying the odd phone call with are now just names. The anticipation and excitement lags. My willingness to connect with them languishes.

Obviously, the longer your IM list, the more likely you can relate. In my case, I have over 150 contacts. Names become intermingled and diluted among the sea of emoticons and aliases.

What I am trying to say is that we take things for granted when they are at our disposal. If communication is easy, we put less value on a conversation with that individual than someone who is hard to get ahold or whom we never see. It’s as simple as that.

In a sick and twisted way, you can compare this phenomenon to buying new clothes. After you buy a specific piece of clothing, you are stoked to wear it for the first few times. Then it is just another piece of clothing in your closet.

Now don’t go running out and deleting all your friends and family from your IM list. Just think about the time and energy you put toward these online relationships. If you feel you are taking them for granted, perhaps you need to message these individuals more often. And if all else fails, delete them. Surprisingly, you may very well be building stronger connections and relationships.

Note: Obviously, many will not agree with me. But from my experiences with various IMs, friends, and family, there is a lot of validity around the argument.


  1. Friedbeef Says:

    I wouldn’t say ruin… just make sure it doesn’t take the place of real life interaction. If anything IM makes it less formal to invite someone out for a drink rather than an awkward phone call to someone you haven’t seen in years.

  2. Jessica Doyle Says:

    Both my friends and family Back East are on msn simply because it is *free to converse occasionally. Close friends within Vancouver I chat when we are planning to meet up and do something.

    Telling people on your chat list to respect that you work online or in a related area where computer use is essential to your job to respect that when you type I’m working, ttyl, they will say good bye. Unless what they proceed to type is extraordinary…

    *Long distance rates in NB are not the same as they are here in BC.

  3. plastic cup conex Says:

    It’s actually very complicated in this active life
    to listen news on TV, therefore I just use web for that purpose, and get
    the newest information.

Leave a Comment