WhatsApp Voice Messages Drive Me Nuts!


When WhatsApp was launched it was initially an alternative messaging app, much like the traditional SMS service of old. But as the years passed, it became so much more and millions of people now use it as their number one form of communication and exchange of files – documents, photos, videos, and the like. In 2013, the company launched voice messaging and it quickly became the most popular feature of WhatsApp, but not always in a good way.

Will You Please Get To The Point?!


I use WhatsApp for most of my communication with clients, predominantly for my motorcycle courier work and most of my exchanges are text-based because the written word is so much quicker to absorb with a quick glance. This is especially important when I’m on the move and usually in a hurry, with a quick stop allowing me to glance at new messages and then push on. Another important aspect is the language – most of my messages are in Spanish – so it’s much simpler to read the message than to listen to a five-minute voice message that could be spoken too fast to understand. I may also have to double-check a voice message several times and if it contains an address, it can be easy to misinterpret. As a result, I’ve asked my main clients to only send me text-based messages for these very reasons, especially if those messages contain exact locations such as street numbers and the like. However, I still receive voice messages from some clients and friends which ramble on and on, and by the end, I don’t know why they left the message in the first place. Alternatively, the voice may grind on for five minutes or so and only reveal the purpose of the message in the last twenty seconds. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there tapping my fingernails on the desk, wondering if they will ever get to the point and hoping I don’t pass into a non-reversible coma.

One Minute Or Less Will Do, Thanks Very Much!



My wife, who is an accountant, receives vast quantities of voice messages, and even though, in her own words, they tend to be way off-topic, she handles them with aplomb and diplomacy. Well, she certainly has more patience than I do, that’s for sure. I also have a friend who uses the speed-up feature of WhatsApp voice messages where you can double the speed of the voice, but in my case, if they are in Spanish, they would end up as gobbledegook.

Not long ago, I contacted someone to do some graphic design for me and she replied with a tedious seven-minute voice message which morphed into a short biopic of her life up until that point in time, with anecdotes about why she was so busy and other tangents of her personal life. It was only in about the last forty-five seconds of her discourse that she revealed (I had guessed as much by now) that she would be unable to accommodate me in her hectic lifestyle (I guessed that she had to be in her early twenties and probably a drama queen) and I resolved to at least try to grab back those lost seven minutes of my life. I never did, as it happens.

In another not-to-be-missed voice message forwarded to me by my wife, the caller, a mutual friend by the way, rattled on, non-stop, for nearly 12 minutes, which is surely a world record. From what I was able to gather from the initial stages of this particular ramble, she was looking for a professional service similar to that which my wife provides, but the entire proclamation veered off into deep space. You know the area; the one where Voyager 1 is currently sending garbled messages from. To make matters worse, she spoke in what I can only describe as Spanglish, with whole sentences, verbs, and nouns in English and sprinkled liberally into the mix. Vice versa for Spanish, by the way. Anyway, by the end of the message, my wife nudged me in an effort to wake me, by which time, I had no idea why the woman had left the diatribe in the first place.

I very rarely leave voice messages on WhatsApp, but when I do, they usually go like this:

“Yep, seven thirty’s fine.”


“Right, I’ll bring the beer!


“Yep, pizza’s fine. See you later.”

Maybe it’s a bloke thing? If I’m going for a beer with a mate, or meeting in one or the other’s house, he and I both know that the three most important details are the beer (quantity and type), the place, and the time. No further information is required – no flowery explanations of why the earth is round or, do I look good in these shoes? You get the drift…


I’m therefore appealing to WhatsApp to give us the power to limit inane voice messages to a time frame of our choice (preferably ten seconds or less) or even to voluntarily exclude them from our accounts completely, by toggling a large red button in the backend labelled, under no circumstances are you to leave voice messages on this account!

Will they listen? I’ll keep you posted.

1 thought on “WhatsApp Voice Messages Drive Me Nuts!”

  1. I also hate voice messages. I never send them, and I hate when people send them to me.

    One of my issues was privacy, but a young friend less than half my age explained to me that if I put the phone to my ear, the message resumes in private and no one around me will continue to hear it.

    Some people’s explanation for their preference is that they’re too busy to type. I say use the keyboard microphone instead, as that will convert your speech to text that I can read when it reaches me. Also note that I read a lot of my WhatsApp messages on my computer if I’m sitting at my desk at work, so voice is no good for that.

    Now of course the younger crowd are all into earbuds and Bluetooth earpieces, so their phone usage is completely different to mine anyway. I guess we old folks just can’t win.

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