Sage Advice: Friend Addicted to Texting

By Amy Dickinson | March 6th, 2019

How to politely ask someone to finally put their phone away


Too much texting Image

Dear Amy: I have a good friend who is very nice, very thoughtful and very dependable. Whenever anyone needs to reach him, my friend is just one text message away. But that is just what seems to be the problem – he is always reachable, and his phone is always there, ringing off the hook with text messages.

I recently spent time with him, and we hardly talked for the few hours we were together, because of his constant receiving and sending messages. He was texting at least three times every five minutes. I appreciate that whenever anyone needs to text him, he never fails to answer promptly, but it is extremely annoying to witness.

I feel as though when I hang out with him that I am really hanging out with his phone. What is the best way to approach him about this?

– Annoyed with Texting

Dear Annoyed: I don’t get it. Unless your friend is a paramedic on duty or perhaps a renowned heart surgeon waiting for the delivery of an organ to transplant, why is it necessary for him to be in constant contact with his circle of connections?

I agree with you that it is very annoying to watch someone you’re with read and respond to text messages. Furthermore, it is exceedingly rude of the person to do this with abandon when he’s with you.

Perhaps the next time you’re together, you should send your pal a text, telling him how this habit affects you. Here goes: “Dear friend, your constant texting while we’re together is driving me nuts. Let’s both put down our phones while we’re together. I’ll start.” (This message measures exactly 140 characters – in case your friend is also addicted to Twitter.)

After sending your text, turn off your phone and toss it into the middle of the cafe table. Dare him to do the same.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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