It happens to the best of us: Friday night arrives and we have every intention of going out and having fun. Instead, as soon as we open our apartment door, we face-plant onto our comfy couch and queue up Netflix. We don’t know how it happens – it’s really a total mystery – but three hours pass like three seconds and we totally bailed on our friends. We meant to go to our friend’s birthday, we really did. The struggle is real these days. If you find it difficult balancing your TV obsession with your desire to still have a social life, you’re definitely not alone. In 2014, research revealed that almost 50 percent of people living in Canada watched TV by bingeing. As anyone who’s gotten lost in a fictional world knows, there are a few common things that occur. Here are the 13 stages of a binge-watching session.
13 You’re Exhausted
If there’s one thing that draws us to our Netflix accounts, it’s our total exhaustion. Life is pretty tough and between work, family obligations, keeping up our social lives, and enjoying a few hobbies or interests, there’s not much time to do anything. According to experts, millennials are thought to work so hard that many are losing the sense of optimism about the future that previous gens had. Pretty sad stuff. We’re so busy at work these days that it’s hard to find someone who isn’t completely exhausted by the time the clock strikes five on Friday.
12 You Deserve This
After you’ve thought about how completely wiped you are, the next stage is giving yourself permission to actually relax. Downtime is an essential part of a healthy, happy life, right? Or at least that’s what you’re telling yourself. Usually at this stage of your binge, you start thinking about what food you can eat so you get the full experience. You order pizza (with extra pepperoni – it’s Friday, after all) or raid your roomie’s chocolate chip supply. Experts agree that unhealthy grub and watching hours upon hours of TV are closely related. You know you’ll pay for this later but that won’t stop you.
11 You’ll Just Watch one More Episode
You know you shouldn’t. You have people to see and places to be. But the call is just too strong and you can’t resist. You swear it’s the last one and you believe it too. This is just one of the many lies you’ll tell yourself during a binge-watching session. Other lies: that party wouldn’t have been fun anyway, your friends don’t really want to go out, there was nothing else to do. You claim you actually need to watch this show – what if you and your coworkers have nothing to discuss in the lunch room? Your job basically requires that you binge. You rest your case.
10 You’re not Stopping
Sticking to one or two episodes? That’s for amateurs. That’s not a binge. You’ve come this far so you might as well keep going. You’re committing to it and you’ve decided not to move from this couch for the rest of the evening. You think about staying here the entire weekend too. Goodbye social life. While having a Netflix addiction seems pretty harmless in terms of everything else you could be doing, research has shown that the binge-watching you do when you’re a twentysomething can actually negatively impact your brain’s function later on. Yikes.
9 This is More fun Anyway
You’re long past wondering what the party you’re missing is like. You’ve decided it would probably suck. Parties can be the worst, anyway – if you don’t know anyone there, nobody will talk to you, and there’s never enough food. Your friends usually disappear on you and you’re left standing in the corner listening to the bad music that’s playing, wondering what you’re doing with your life. Your binge doesn’t suck, though – your binge is so much fun. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the world other than right here. Why do people even bother leaving their houses? Why not just watch Netflix every single night of your life? It doesn’t sound too bad.
8 Netflix is Basically Your Boyfriend
If you’re single and looking for love, you know how annoying and frustrating and just plain terrible dating can be. Netflix isn’t terrible, though. Netflix is the best. It’s always there for you, waiting, and it always seems happy to see you (at least, you think so). At this stage you’ve realized that Netflix is the only boyfriend you’ll ever need or want. Sure, staying single forever may make holidays with your fam jam even more awkward, as you’ll never be able to escape the endless questions about why you’re going to die alone. That’s okay. You’ll deal with that later.
7 You Should go to the gym Tomorrow
By this point in the evening, you’ve watched enough episodes to know that you’re absolutely not moving from this spot on the couch… but you still know you should move at some point. Everyone’s motivation for working out is totally different. Some people want to lose those last five pounds, others want to enjoy a healthy lifestyle free of disease for decades to come. Your motivation? Watching more Netflix. You promise yourself that if you break a sweat in the morning (or, okay, around noon – let’s not get too crazy) then you can keep bingeing tomorrow night as well. Congrats, you’ve earned another episode.
6 Next Week you’ll Learn to Cook
It’s not that you hate cooking. Okay, you kind of do. It’s just so hard and time-consuming and it’s so much easier to dial up take-out. But by now, you’re really a bit gross from all the junk food you’ve consumed, and you’re dreaming of kale salads and grilled salmon. You promise yourself that next week, you will finally learn how to use your oven. Then at least when you binge Netflix you will have something healthy to munch on. But you don’t have to do it right now. So it’s time to press play on the next episode.
5 You Forgot Something on Your to-do List
When we’re lost in a void of hours upon hours of television, our brains start turning to mush (or if they don’t, they definitely feel that way). We start wondering if we made a mistake at work earlier that day or if there was something else we were meant to be doing instead of lying horizontal on the couch. This is a normal part of the binge-watching cycle: after all, we humans are meant to be productive and active so you’re definitely feeling some guilt right about now. You tell yourself it’s okay, you’ll check your calendar in the morning. You’ve come this far, you’re not about to interrupt your binge.
4 These Characters are Your Best Friends
When you’re nearing the end of a binge – whether you’ve watched six episodes of Jessica Jones in one evening or it’s taken you an entire weekend to finish a season – you start feeling like you actually know these characters. They start to seem real. You’ve spent more time with them in the last 6-48 hours than your actual best friends, after all. This stage is usually when the loneliness starts to creep in. You convince yourself it’s no big deal that you’re spending the whole night alone in your apartment, but you start missing your actual best friends and wondering what they’re up to.
3 Everything Hurts
It’s not surprising that your body starts to ache after spending hours sitting or lying down. By now you’ve probably heard of “the sitting disease” and the fear that doctors have that we’re going to face serious health problems because of our lack of physical exercise. It’s a real problem since we spend eight hours a day sitting at our desks, and then we come home and binge. But that’s not your only issue – your eyes start to get that familiar Netflix-induced burn after hours of staring at a screen. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re turning the TV off.
2 You Really Should be More Productive
Your binge is almost over and you have to return to real life. It sucks, but it has to be done. Maybe it’s midnight on Friday and you can’t keep your eyes open any longer and your bed is calling your name. Maybe it’s Sunday evening and you can’t believe you spent three days with Netflix when you have so much work you should have been doing. You start feeling bad about yourself, wishing you were more productive, and hoping that next time, you’ll have enough willpower to reject the glow of your computer or TV screen.
1 You don’t Regret it
Congrats. Your binge is over. Your legs are aching, your eyes are sore, you’ve eaten your weight in pizza and potato chips, and you probably need a shower. But you don’t regret it. No way. Has anyone ever actually regretted watching Netflix? Definitely not. Even if you watch the worst show on the planet, you still love Netflix, so it’s never a waste of time. You can’t wait to see your friends so you can recommend the show you’ve been obsessed with. Now it’s time for the most important part of all: deciding which series to binge next.