4 Dangers of Being Over-Available

It happens all the time. You get a text. Maybe 5, maybe more. Whether it’s an invite from a friend, a question from a co-worker, or a link to a YouTube video, chances are that you (like the majority of us) reply instantly.

Our society has embraced a culture of instant gratification. We want recognition, responses, and rewards instantly. The slightest delay leads to extreme frustration. In a world of read receipts and live streaming, we have grown to expect that all our friends and acquaintances are always available.

While this availability has undoubtedly improved certain aspects of life, (long-distance relationships and fast-paced news journalism, to name a couple) it has also left a few less-desirable effects. Being over-available can take a toll on our mental health in surprising ways.

1. Frequent Fear of Missing Out

Receiving texts at random during any time of the day conditions us to expect frequent communication from our closest friends. We grow accustomed to someone reaching out to us to make plans; however, what happens to our state of mind when these texts never come? We feel as if we are missing out, and our minds race with all the plans we may be missing out on.

2. Lack of Quiet Time

Apps like Find My Friends allow us to keep track of and connect with our friends like we never have before. While everyone loves having the power to quickly arrange a hang-out session, too much connectivity can be hard to handle. With invites coming in left and right, it can be hard to say no and maintain a healthy amount of personal time.

3. Overcommitting

Along the same lines of lacking quiet time, too many invites and an excess of communication can easily lead to us overcommitting our time and energy. It’s easy to shoot back a quick text that says “sure” without truly evaluating whether or not you have the freedom to add another thing to your schedule.

4. Lack of Living in the Moment

Some of the best things in life are spontaneous. There’s nothing like running into a few friends around campus and deciding to head to dinner, go to a concert, or lay in the sun. Half of the beauty in these experiences is the fact that they come together naturally. No confusing group text needed. If we are planning every detail of our days through constant communication, we lose the opportunity to let fate step in and surprise us.