My OTHER addiction


I hate calling people on the phone. HATE IT. It verges on a phobia.

I’m filled with dread because I’ve received a bill that requires me to ring up to pay it. Totally barbaric – what century are they living in? The bill is now massively overdue, but I … just … can’t.

I am blissfully relieved if restaurants, ticket outlets, beauticians etc offer an electronic means of booking. The joy of just clicking on times and boxes and prices …

I also hate answering the phone. Warning: if you call me I will sound either startled or disgruntled.

People have gotten the message over the years, so the only reason my phone rings is because I’ve forgotten to pay my credit card bill and the bank wants to shite me up the wall by running through 50 million inane questions before agreeing that’s why they’re bothering me at work.

Texting on the other hand … it’s like Diet Coke … “the juice of heaven.”

And I think my nine-year-old may be hooked too after getting her own iMessage account on Sunday.

OK, I feel like a really bad parent by revealing that information …

Here’s my excuse: the nine-year-old is a funny little thing and requested everyone give her JB Hi-Fi vouchers for her birthday so she could buy a mini iPad. I have no idea why she wanted a mini iPad, but she was desperate for one and I figured it beat all the extra clutter kids normally get for their birthdays and then never play with.

But I wasn’t quite sure what she’d actually get out of it.

Well, she’s discovered instant messaging. (I think her dad must have set it up because neither of us have home phones and we need the kids to have a way to contact us if we duck to the shops for milk or something.)

And I’ve discovered a whole different side to my daughter.

I was a little rattled when I got the first message because my ex, for some unknown reason, decided to give her a gmail account that features his initials and birthdate. So it felt like I was getting some sort of freaky love note from him.

But I decided it was her because there was no way my ex would be sending me emoticons blowing kisses.

She’s only sent a handful of messages, but they’re so cute. Articulate and funny and sweet, with impeccable spelling. Not what I was expecting from a little person who’d rather play sport than read a book.

For example, when I asked her what she was doing yesterday she replied: “Dad said not much” and added a Home Alone style emoticon that made me giggle.

So even though it feels vaguely wrong to have given iMessage to a nine-year-old, I’m going to enjoy texting my little one, especially on those days when she’s staying with her dad rather than me.

On a waaaaaaaay more adult note, I read an article yesterday that might explain why I love texting grown-ups so much (see The Joy of Text for the lowdown).

Elite Daily published a story called “Texting Has The Same Effect As An Orgasm, That’s Why You’re Addicted.”

In the age of technology, we don’t have to go through a whole episode of having sex to fulfill that desire to seek a grand finale. Instead, we have an immediate outlet to quickly fulfill it: the text.

If you want to ask someone a question, you send a text and receive an answer instantly. If you want to feel connected to someone, you send a text and feel connected instantly.

Your desire to seek gets fulfilled each time you send a text message, and you get caught in a dopamine loop.

And …

Most of us know we will receive text messages throughout the day, but you don’t exactly know when or who it’ll be from, right? It’s unpredictable. It’s exciting. It increases our dopamine, and we become addicted.

This is the same relationship we have with the “typing awareness indicator” — or, in other words, the bubble with the three dots that pops up when someone is in the process of typing to you.

This indicator heightens our anxiety. It makes us think that our phones are withholding something from us, and we watch in horror as the bubble pops up, slips away and pops back up again. And, similarly, we know the other party in our conversation is aware of how long it takes us to construct a response because they, too, see us typing.

Oh, yeah, baby. I LOVE those dots. I love them more than Diet Coke. And that’s saying something.

All that lovely communication with having to say a word … perfection. ‘

Do you like texting?

Song of the day:  Blondie “Call me”



14 thoughts on “My OTHER addiction

  1. I sent my twenty year old son a text yesterday that said, “Are you alive? Please let me know.” Because I’d sent dinner invitations and other gentle enquiries, plus called him with no answer for days. He was fine. Just too lazy to text me back. I have a fear of calling people. Especially the dentist.

  2. I would rather send a million texts than make one phone call – I HATE talking on the phone as well. My husband was at first amused at the lengths I will go to so as not to have to talk to someone until he realised just how much it limits what I’m prepared to do – now he tries gently to get me to make those calls – so far he hasn’t succeeded much !!

  3. I hate making phone calls too! I’m so relieved I’m not the only one. There is a magnetic revulsion that emanates from my phone, yet when a friend does call I end up having a nice chat and thinking I should do this more often. Of course that’s after the shudder of panic when I have to answer the ringing phone. Texting is a blessing for people like us Alana.

  4. I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one with a phobia to making phone calls. It’s a real problem when you’re the operator of a one-person business. I’ve been known to put off calls to tell people that their order is ready for a couple of weeks. But texting – that’s just God’s gift to us introverts. So most of my clients get texts instead of calls these days.

  5. I loathe talking on the phone SO MUCH. I am one step away from cancelling our stupid landline that only receives calls from my mother-in-law or spammers calling about my windows computer. Text, messages on FB or Twitter or good ol’ email please.

  6. Ahhh, I can see I’ve found my group therapy here. I fear the phone. I refuse to answer it. And people who leave voicemail messages? Freaks. (Or doctors with test results.). I’ve actually made a new voicemail message asking people not to leave me a message. I blame peri-menopaual symptoms for this latest behaviour. But seriously, what’s going on? I wasn’t like this 10 years ago!! Texts all the way.

    • Ah yes, I forgot to mention hating the voice messages too. When they don’t hear back from me, people will say: “But I left you a voice message.” And I’m like WHY would you leave a voice message? I haven’t listened to my voice messages in YEARS. Shudder. Text me!

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