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Social Interactions - Comfort, Messaging and Life Enjoyment

In this episode, we discuss our favourite topic – Social Interaction – from the lenses of etiquettes of messaging, the pinnacle of the human condition amongst others.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

In this episode, we discuss our favourite topic – Social Interaction – from the lenses of etiquettes of messaging, the pinnacle of the human condition amongst others.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

Our messaging etiquette is dependent on how well we know the other person. With close friends we tend to be responsive and active mainly because there is a mutual understanding of the way you message each other and what your messaging is like – you have a shared understanding of the tone and topics that you can discuss. With other people or new acquaintances, there is no mutual understanding and hence it requires more thought as to how to respond and in what way – requiring more mental and emotional energy, often resulting in delayed or avoided responses.

Small group chats are the optimal form of messaging. They provide a low commitment but high impact environment with no emotional overhead to message people individually, therefore reducing the pressure. In other words, group chats can spread the weight of social interactions.

Despite this, messaging is still a sub-optimal form of communication. There is little value in having a messaging relationship with someone compared to having an interaction in real life. This is why Ali advocates his messaging minimalist approach – only messaging those who aren’t friends for the purposes of asking or answering questions or arranging to meet-up. Adopting a personal policy, such as being a messaging minimalist, allows you to take a universal approach to these conversations which reduces the mental and emotional strain if you didn’t have such a blanket policy.

The pinnacle of the human condition is closer than we think. The default mode of operation is that we are continuously striving or seeking something with our lives. However, having fun with your friends is, in Taimur’s words, ‘as good as it gets’ and, what’s more, it’s something that everyone can experience. For Ali, the other factor which increases contentment and happiness is to avoid tying your expectations to numerical goals as this only increases pressure and disappointment if you’re not able to meet them.


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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.


Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noverthinking.

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram

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Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.