Phone-y Friend

My friend is obsessed with her phone, almost to a psychotic point. She recently ran up a $300 bill on her phone just from texting alone, and that hasn't been the first time. Her mom will take it away, but she tricks her into giving it back sometimes.

Last week, we were eating at a restaurant with a bunch of friends and she asked to see my phone to look at pictures.  I saw that she started texting everyone and so I asked her for my phone back and we had like a tug a war with the phone. She was nearly in tears when I took my phone away. My other friend gave in and let her use her phone to text people, and she even asked if she could have it for the night.

It was embarrassing because she made a scene in the middle of a busy restaurant. Texting is taking over her whole life and is ruining relationships with her friends and family. How can I help my friend?

Hey chica,

When in a friendship, you want to know two points: one is where you're a good friend, and the other is when you're a true friend. The difference? When you're a true friend you're caring and willing to help a friend out even if he/she disagrees with what you're trying to do.


It seems like this is what you're doing and it's a good thing that you are! Although it may seem tough to deal with your friend's obsession, it's good (and right) that you stood up to her and stayed firm with your decision to take your phone away from her.


So, what's the next step? Tell an adult. Even if your friend "tricks" her mom into giving her the cell phone back, the situation becomes different when you confront her mom and tell her what your friend is doing with others' phones. Let her know that your friend can't stop texting and that she's constantly finding ways to get her hands on a cellie. Don't forget to tell her how it's impacting her friendship with others. When adults know, it's easy for them to take an effective action.


Of course, you don't want to make an announcement that you're talking to her mom because your friend might take it the wrong way. Just ask her mom quietly if you can talk to her privately. And trust me. In this case you are NOT being a tattletale. You are simply doing what's best for your friend.


Another way to help your friend is to try to improve the situation little by little. If your friend isn't permitted to text again forever, it just might be too hard for her to adjust. Whether you convince your friend to get a different messaging plan or you help her keep track of her texting, find a way to set a limit on her phone obsession.

If your friend is tempted to overdo it, find a distraction. Go for a walk without your phones, play an activity that doesn't allow your friend to hold a phone, or simply go to an area that's out of service! It will be easier for your friend if you get her mind off of texting.

Lastly, one effective way to help your friend is to show the consequences of her actions. Calculate the numbers (like the phone bill); show her the damage she could potentially create in her finger muscles, or anything else you can think off!

It won't be easy controlling your friend's addiction, but if you take one step at a time and constantly try to lead your friend in the right direction, she'll definitely want to change not just for herself, but your friendship as well!

-Jeannie L.

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5/20/2009 7:00:00 AM