The Stress That Comes From Unread Notifications

Lindsey (Lazarte) Carson
4 min readMar 24, 2019
Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

When it comes to technology, there are two types of people in this world — Those who frequently check all of their phone apps throughout the day in order to zero out their notifications and those who will always have those annoying, little unread notification icons sitting in the top right corner of their apps.

As for me, I’m the former. I can’t stand allowing any unread notifications to sit for longer than a few hours, let alone an entire day. If I receive a text, I have to read it. If I receive a few e-mails, I have to open them. If there are any missed calls or voicemails, I have to see who they’re from and listen to them.

This type-A characteristic of mine makes it incredibly hard to stop myself from looking at my phone quite often. It’s not something that I’m at all proud of. My boyfriend on the other hand is the latter. He has absolutely no problem letting notifications remain unread or unopened for days or sometimes even weeks, which I guess makes sense for the two of us being together. If he had the same tendencies as me, we’d both be sitting in silence, staring at our phones every time we were together. After all, opposites attract, right?

However, I never understood (and I still don’t understand) how anyone could tolerate seeing those unread notification icons on their phone all the time. To me, it’s like shoving a bright neon light in front of my face all day long. Leaving notifications unread is like allowing dirty dishes to pile up in the kitchen sink — which is another thing I don’t understand how people can allow going unattended to for so long. I see it as a chore that should get dealt with right away.

But, I know everyone operates differently, of course. I know everyone’s brain works differently. Everyone processes information in a different way. Everyone has their own pet peeves or things that irritate them or make them cringe. And in a world where we are constantly plugged into technology, where we are constantly on our phones, on our computers, and in the know, something as seemingly minuscule as an unread notification can feel like a huge burden.

The thing is, over time, as technology has developed and become more sophisticated, it has also slowly lured us into its web, making us increasingly more dependent on it. We’ve…

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Lindsey (Lazarte) Carson

Writer, Runner, and New Mom. I write about work, relationships, culture, and life in general.