Chances are, you awoke on election results day to the distant pings of 396 WhatsApp notifications, and most of them were from your mum.
Well – half of them were from your mum, and the other half from your siblings in a separate ‘backchat’ thread set up specifically to talk about your mum.
Whether you conversations were celebratory or written from the depths of despair, one thing’s for certain: not since the EU referendum has anything divided WhatsApp more than the news that the Conservatives just won their biggest general election majority since 1987. Nothing. Not even the ending of Game of Thrones.
These will be testing times for the nation and the institutions (cough, cough, the NHS) that we hold dear, whatever our political allegiance. Cheering to read, then, research that suggests arguing with relatives can actually cause health problems such as higher blood pressure and an increase in cortisol, which in turn can lead to a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
And it’s not just family members in conflict, but friends too – with the group chat not so ‘Friyay’ at the moment. This, despite studies that show talking politics can makes a difference to how people vote – and voters take their political cues from those closest to them.
Some of my own WhatsApp groups were “divided” (and that’s putting it politely) from the moment the exit polls started to come in. Old friends battled out the pros and cons of the Tory majority, duelling over the likely effects on the markets and the NHS; and in one friendship circle, two people dramatically “left the group”. Things got heated. Someone called someone else “a twat”.
Looking at your phone late on polling day was like being at the pub when the bell rings for last orders, and everyone’s quite drunk and a little bit angry, because they’re hungry and want a kebab.
So, what happens now after the big WhatsApp falling-out? One pal told me he left a friendship group because he “couldn’t bear the smarmy updates”.
Another confessed she wasn’t looking forward to lunch with her family this weekend. “I’ve promised my sister I’ll keep schtum,” she said, “but I will be thinking dark, dark thoughts.”
And this Twitter user said that since the election results, his family group had been “quiet. Ominously quiet.”
That would be a relief, frankly. I wish mine were. As for what comes next? Christmas. Christmas comes next.
Best steel yourself now for the inevitable ‘IRL’ discussions around the dinner table.