+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Pop Culture

People are sharing the adult problems that 'nobody prepared you for' and they're so true

Here are 21 of the most relatable.

being an adult, adult lessons, growing up
via PixaBay

Being an adult is tough.

Nothing can ever fully prepare you for being an adult. Once you leave childhood behind, the responsibilities, let-downs and setbacks come at you fast. It’s tiring and expensive, and there's no easy-to-follow roadmap for happiness and success.

A Reddit user named u/Frequent-Pilot5243 asked the online forum, “What’s an adult problem nobody prepared you for?” and there were a lot of profound answers that get to the heart of the disappointing side of being an adult.

One theme that ran through many responses is the feeling of being set adrift. When you’re a kid, the world is laid out as a series of accomplishments. You learn to walk, you figure out how to use the bathroom, you start school, you finish school, maybe you go to college, and so on.


However, once we’re out of the school system and out from under our parents’ roofs, there is a vast, complicated world out there and it takes a long time to learn how it works. The tough thing is that if you don’t get a good head start, you can spend the rest of your life playing catch-up.

Then, you hit middle age and realize that life is short and time is only moving faster.

Adulthood also blindsides a lot of people because we realize that many adults are simply children who grew older. The adult world is a lot more like high school than a teenager could ever imagine.

The Reddit thread may seem a bit depressing at first, but there are a lot of great lessons that younger people can take to heart. The posts will also make older people feel a lot better because they can totally relate.

Being an adult is hard, exhausting and expensive. But we’re all in this together and by sharing the lessons we’ve learned we can help lighten each other's load just a bit.

Here are 21 of the most powerful responses to the question: “What is an adult problem nobody prepared you for?”

1. Lack of purpose

"Lack of purpose. All your young life you are given purpose of passing exams and learning, then all of a sudden you are thrown into the world and told to find your own meaning," — Captain_Snow.

2. No bed time

"You can stay up as late as you want. But you shouldn't," — geek-fit

3. Friendships

"Where did all my friends go?" — I_Love_Small_Breasts

Most of them are at the same place as you are ... Probably wondering the same thing," — Blackdraon003

4. Bodily changes

"I'm closer to fifty than forty, would have been nice to be better prepared for some of the ways your body starts to change at this point that don't normally get talked about. For instance your teeth will start to shift from general aging of your gums," — dayburner.

5. People don't change

"Didnt know that other adults have the emotional intelligence of teenagers and its almost impossible to deal with logically," — Super-Progress-6386

6. Money

"$5K is a lot to owe, but not a lot to have," — Upper-Job5130

7. Our parents age, too

"Handling the decline and death of your parents," - Agave666

8. Free time

"Not having a lot of free-time or time by myself," — detective_kiara

9. No goals

"Not having a pre-defined goal once I was out of college. Growing up my goals were set for me: get through elementary school! then middle school! Then high school, and get into college and get a degree, then get a job, and then...? Vague "advance in your career, buy a house, find a spouse, have a kid or multiple, then retire." At 22 I had no idea how to break that down more granularly," — FreehandBirdlime

10. Constant upkeep

"Life is all about maintenance. Your body, your house, your relationships, everything requires constant never ending maintenance," — IHateEditedBGMusic

11. Exhaustion

"Being able to do so many things because I'm an adult but too tired to do any of them," — London82

12. Loneliness

"Being an adult feels extremely lonely," — Bluebloop0

13. Dinner

"Having to make dinner every. Fucking. Day," — EndlesslyUnfinished

14. Time changes

"The more life you’ve lived, the faster time seems to go," — FadedQuill

15. You're responsibile, even if you didn't mean it

"You are held to account for bad behaviour for which you are negligent even if you had no intention to cause harm. As a lawyer, I see this all the time. People don't think they're responsible for mistakes. You are," — grishamlaw

16. Work is like high school

"The intricacies of workplace politics," — Steve_Lobsen writes. "

"When you're in school, you think that you won't have to deal with gossiping and bullying once you leave school. Unfortunately, that is not true," — lady_laughs_too_much

17. Nowhere to turn

"How easy it is to feel stuck in a bad situation (job, relationship, etc) just because the cost and effort of getting out can seem daunting. And sometimes you just have to accept a figurative bowl full of shit because you can't afford to blow up your life," — movieguy95453

18. The happiness question

"Figuring out what makes you happy. Everyone keeps trying to get you to do things you're good at, or that makes you money, but never to pursue what you enjoy," — eternalwanderer5

19. Constant cleaning

"The kitchen is always dirty. You’ll clean it at least three times every day," — cewnc

20. Life costs money

"One adult problem nobody prepared me for is how expensive everything is. I always thought that as an adult I would be able to afford the things I wanted, but it turns out that's not always the case! I've had to learn how to budget and save up for the things I want, and it's been a difficult process," — Dull_Dog_8126

21. Keeping above water

"All of it together. I was relatively warned about how high rent is, car bills and repairs, how buying healthy food is expensive as hell but important for your health, how to exercise and save what you can, my parents did their best to fill in my knowledge about taxes and healthcare and insurance that my schooling missed, about driving and cleaning a household, about setting boundaries at work but working hard and getting ahead if you can, about charity and what it means to take care of a pet and others, about being a good partner if you were lucky enough to have one, about how dark and messed up the world is when you just read the news and what all that means to me and my community… I was reasonably warned about all of it.

"No one could have ever prepared me for how hard doing all of it at the same time and keeping your head above that water would actually be," — ThatNoNameWriter


This article originally appeared on 01.28.22

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

The MC Hammer dance though.



Father and daughter dances are a traditional staple of weddings. They tend to range somewhere between tearfully sweet and hilariously cringey. But sometimes, as was the case of Brittany Revell and her dad Kelly, they can be so freakin’ cool that millions of people become captivated.

Brittany and Kelly’s video, which amassed, I kid you not, more than 40 million views on TikTok, shows the pair grooving in sneakers (Brittany’s were white because, hello, wedding dress) to their “dance through the decades.”

It all began with Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” to give you a clear picture. And bust a move, they did.

Though the duo did a handful of iconic moves—the tootsie roll, the MC Hammer dance, the Carlton, just to name a few—“the dougie,” made famous by Cali Swag District, was the obvious fan favorite.

Brittany is clearly no stranger to busting a move and showed off her skills, but Kelly had the audience (and the internet) absolutely floored. He not only nailed every move, but kept a constant grin from ear to ear.

“Reason number 1838329194920 why I love my dad,” Brittany wrote in her caption.

@bnrevell Reason number 1838329194920 why I love my dad. 🫶🏼🥹 #thatdougietho #fatherdaughter #weddingtok ♬ original sound - Brittany Revell

People in the comments were quick to profess love for Kelly as well. Here are some gems:

“WHO IS THIS LEGEND!”

“I aspire to this level of smooth.”

“Pops got moves!!🔥”

“He really is the main character 🤩🤩”

Others shared praise to both dancers for delivering an unforgettable performance.

“I would absolutely lose my mind if I saw this at a wedding,” wrote one person.

“This is probably THE best TikTok I’ve ever seen. You and your dad are legit rockstars!! Congratulations!!” added another.

Brittany told The Morning Show on Channel 7 that she and Kelly have been learning dances together “for fun in the living room” since she was little. “He has always had some rhythm, but I did not know he could pick up the moves like that,” she quipped. Hey, there’s always something new to learn about dear old dad.

Brittany also shared in an interview with NBC News that people were responding to more than just impressive choreography—it touched them on a heartfelt level.

“I think it’s kind of unique to see a dad of Asian descent be able to open up, let loose and just embrace their American child’s music and culture,” she said, adding that several people who didn’t have relationships with their fathers commended how “inspiring” it was to see the fun Brittany and Kelly created, encouraging them to “be better with their future kids.”

Weddings are a celebration of love, and that can extend beyond the bride and groom. This father expressed his love on the dance floor, and it’s giving us all something to smile about.

Odds are Brittany and her dad are gonna keep posting even more amazing dance videos. You can keep up to date by following Brittany on TikTok here.


This article originally appeared on 09.13.22

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Just because it's common in movies, doesn't mean it's common in everyday life.

Odds are you’ve come across a movie or television moment that made you think, “this definitely would never happen in real life.” Or maybe you thought something about a time or place which wasn’t actually real, thanks to a show you watched. I, for example, totally thought separate his & hers beds were a common thing in the 50s, thanks to “I Love Lucy.”

That’s kind of the magic of motion pictures. The line between reality and illusion is sometimes so blurred you really can’t discern between the whole “art imitating life” and “life imitating art” thing. Of course, the unbelievability of some common tropes make you wonder how they’ve endured for so long in the first place.

Recently, Reddit user rustyyryan asked: "What American thing is not that common but shown in many Hollywood movies/TV shows?"

Thousands responded. But here are some of the best answers.


1. "On Law and Order, when the police come and people keep doing their drone jobs. Sorry, but the most exciting thing in my day is a visit by the police, so I’m stopping everything, offering coffee, asking lots of questions, and ratting out my neighbors on unrelated things!"wawa2022

via GIPHY

"The other thing with Law and Order and other cop shows is that people always act annoyed toward the cops. IRL, the vast majority of people are not going to act that way. I’ve had a couple of cop visits and I was always shocked and kind of nervous and there was no way I would have acted like they were getting on my nerves!"logorrhea69

2."Presents where the box lid is wrapped separately from the rest of the box." sra19

"This drives me crazy! I get it...it would be a huge hassle to have to re-wrap a present for every take, plus you have to worry about continuity, but I have literally never seen a present wrapped this way in my life."yourlittlebirdie

3. "At schools, teachers give assignments like normal people and don't shout it at the class as they're departing after the bell rings." Beezo514

via GIPHY

4. "Women having sex while wearing a bra the whole time. That's the first or second thing I take off of her." BendingDoor

5. "The houses and apartments shown do not represent the living conditions of most folks."rjainsa

"One of the reasons Spielberg's films from the '80s/'90s were so believable was that he insisted on houses looking lived in. The Goonies and E.T. both showed messy houses, single parents, scruffy kids, etc." springloadednadsack

via GIPHY

6. "Empty parking spaces on city streets." other_half_of_elvis

7. "Especially right in front of the place you’re going."BxAnnie

8. "Moms making huge breakfasts that no one eats." babyfresno77

9. "This is the one. Every time, I’m like, 'What time are these kids getting up? What time does school start?'"DanDan_notaman

10. "Cars exploding in a crash." St_Ander

"My husband is a firefighter, and he hates car explosion scenes in movies because they don't happen the way movies show them happening."Specialist-Funny-926

11."I noticed that no one has screens on their windows on TV. Where I live the bugs would carry you away."RusticSurgery

via GIPHY

"This one drives my husband crazy. He always comments on this when someone opens a window, sticks their head out, or throws something out. Could not do that where I live."Sunnywithachance099

12. "Shoes on the bed." slash-5

"I absolutely hate that trope. People with their shoes on beds or sofas. Hate it."Farscape29

13. "Classes last longer than for the teacher to say something pithy, ask someone a question and then hear the bell ring. School buses don't honk for your lollygagging ass. If the bus stop is empty, they keep driving." Scrotchety

14. "Halloween party costumes are much more elaborate on TV compared to real life."Fireproofspider

via GIPHY

"You never see anyone in some crap they picked up at Spirit Halloween 30 minutes before the party."Repulsive-Heron7023

15. "Nobody ever has to ask someone to repeat themselves in a movie. I probably say, 'What?' about 60 times a day." Street-Suitable

"This is all TV and movies. Nobody ever stumbles over their words unless it is a plot-necessary miscommunication or the bumbly can't get my words out trope."Jimmy_riddle86

16. "Abrupt endings to conversations or phone calls without saying bye." ParapluieGris

via GIPHY

"OMG, thank you. Seriously, I wondered if people actually did this."raggitytits

17. "The idea that you could be like six months behind on rent before they threaten to evict you, or six months behind on the power bill before they cut off your electricity. Maybe it used to be like that, but it sure isn’t anymore." komeau

18. "People in a bar ordering a 'beer.' In real life, the server would likely be exasperated and ask about brand/kind and quantity." remymartinia

"This one drives me nuts. I have never once in my 14 years working at restaurants and bars had someone just order a 'beer.'"EveInGardenia

…and lastly…

19. "Kids dressed up for school, which would result in them being sent home to change…Also, teens wearing stilettos to school."Wulfkat

via GIPHY

"Most teenagers today wear a baggy sweatshirt or a large T-shirt to school."Randomthoughts4041

Melissa Pateras explains how dry cleaning works.



Have you ever wondered what happens at the dry cleaners? Or are you like me, who just assumed the people at the dry cleaners were wizards and never questioned their magic? Turns out, dry cleaners aren't magic and there's actually a pretty interesting explanation of how they came to be and what they do.

Melissa Pateras is known on Tiktok for her laundry knowledge. Seriously, her ability to fold laundry is hypnotizing. This time, she created a video explaining what actually takes place at the dry cleaner and the internet is aghast.

Before Pateras explained what happens in the mysterious world behind the counter of a dry cleaner, she asked a few of her friends what they thought dry cleaning was. Their answers were...interesting to say the least.

One friend surmised, "You put it in a box, right...and then you let some wind, really fast wind, blow around on your clothes and it wipes off all the dirt." The friend, whose username is @unlearn16, continued with her working hypothesis, saying that the clothes are then blasted with infrared heat to sterilize the garments. While that is certainly an interesting theory, that's not what happens.


Another friend guessed, "Dry cleaning is when they take all of your dirty clothes into this big dryer with a clean sheet that sticks all of the dirt to it from your dirty clothes." This friend was also incorrect, and Pateras finally explained why after her friends dug deep into their brains for their best guesses.

Turns out dry cleaning was invented by accident when Jean-Baptiste Jolly spilled a kerosene lamp on his tablecloth, which dried cleaner than it was previously, according to Pateras.

The laundry guru explained that while it was dangerous, the practice of cleaning things with kerosene continued until a less flammable method was discovered. But even the safer method is still fairly harsh, which is why dry cleaners take buttons off of clothing before running them through, she says.

This prompted one commenter to ask, "They really take the buttons off of every shirt?" to which Pateras replied that it only occurs if the buttons won't withstand the chemicals.

If you've ever been curious about what happens at the dry cleaner, watch the video below. She takes you through each step.

@melissadilkespateras

What is dry cleaning #laundry #laundrytok #drycleaning #funfacts @Tracy Taylor @Unlearn16 @Ana Pac @Ashley Mathieu @Li

This article originally appeared on 5.10.23

Music video about the female body is leaving people laughing

Sometimes you come across something that makes you giggle and want to cry all at the same time. Laughter can help take the sting out of uncomfortable or upsetting information and Farideh (@ilove farideh) has found a way to make hard truths funny with music videos. Recently the Instagram creator uploaded a video poking fun at the medical mystery that is the human female body.

Women have been a mystery in the medical community for as long as medicine has been around. Of course doctors know that women exist and the inner workings of the human bodies but there seems to be something about uterus owners that baffles doctors. It ranges from hormones to pain levels, to specific issues related to having a uterus.

Farideh covers it all in a catchy tune complete with pretty awesome dance moves that has commenters clapping along. The song starts off with the woman listing multiple medical conditions specific to woman, endometriosis, PCOS and more before singing, "what's happening to your body, we don't know because we've never really studied the female body."


"You say it's all in my head but the research is quite spotty," Farideh sings. Women in the comments are backing up the woman with her musical observation of what it's like to navigate the medical complex as a person born with female reproductive systems.

"She came for the entire failure of the medical community with a banger and bars. Not one lie told," one person says.

"'Just take birth control pills' - every single doctor for any symptom at all," another writes.

"Thank you for doing this. This is art. This is iconic. This. Is. Our. Anthem. 'Do you have pain? No you don't.'" someone agrees.

"Thanks. I hate it because it rings so true, but love you for singing the truth," one commenter shares.

While many women in the comments were praising the creator, others shared their heartbreaking reality of not being taken seriously when seeking medical care.

"'I don’t feel quite right and I’m so lethargic'. GP: lose weight, exercise more, see my partner who is a psychologist. It was stage 3 cancer. I wish I was joking," a woman reveals.

"Immediately after giving birth, my uterus didn't contract and I was hemorrhaging significantly. I was in severe pain. They thought I was overreacting and having a panic attack so instead of treating my problem, they gave me a dose of Lorazepam to shut me up. I ended up losing over 3 litters of blood, went into shock, and had to be resuscitated. Why are there so many stories like this? Unacceptable," another explains.

While Farideh's song is amusing, the issue she's highlighting is extremely important. Hopefully the research gap will be addressed so women can feel listened to and cared for when they seek medical attention.

David Shankbone/Wikipedia, Photo credit: Canva

Is this the only way to break phone addiction?

On a recent episode of his “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” podcast, Ted Danson noted that Woody Harrelson doesn’t have a phone. He even joked that the “Hunger Games” star was “one of those bullies in life that make other people carry his phone for him.”

Harrelson quickly clarified that Danson’s jape wasn’t “exactly true,” sharing what really led him to ditching his device three and a half years ago.

“Well, I just don’t like to have, you know, to be readily available to any human being at any time,” he told Danson. “I like to be in touch with people in a way, but I don’t like the appendage on my appendage.”

Harrelson’s sentiment is certainly a relatable one. But it’s his failed attempts to “limit” his screen time that really resonate.

“Back then I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to set this limit. Two hours,’ ” Harrelson reflected. “It’s like 9:30. You know, I’ve already hit my limit at 9:30, so I woke up, and I’ve been on it two hours already because, cuz you know how it can just keep going and going.”

Goodness, how many of us have tried—and failed—to limit our screen time?

Even with little alerts that say “you have five more minutes'' on various apps, those alerts are easy to ignore once you do it a couple of times. Another strategy might be putting our phones on “Do Not Disturb” to ward off notifications, or setting it to “Night Mode” so that the screen is less bright and eye-catching. But anecdotally, all of these hacks seem to only do so much.

Harrelson also explained that he would find himself at dinner and and instantly reaching for his phone once there was a lull in the conversation. Who among us hasn’t been guilty of this modern day social faux pas? It even ignited the seemingly short-lived “phone stacking” movement, where friends going out to dinner would all stack their phones on the table, and whoever reached for their device first would have to cover the tab.

Lastly, Harrelson admitted he only ever used the phone to send texts, rather than make phone calls. According to Statista, texting is by far the most common phone activity, followed by emails, app usage, online shopping, internet, etc. Making phone calls didn’t even seem to make the list.

All this to say—phone addiction might not be on the same level as substance addiction, but its addictive qualities are incredibly hard to shake. And this is partially due to the fact that our society enables and encourages phone usage, much in the same way that alcohol is a fully ingrained aspect of our culture.

Paul Graham, famed Silicon Valley investor, notes that often society forms “antibodies” against addictive new things, coming first in the form of a change in public opinion, followed by a change in legislation. He uses the example of smoking, and how it went from being “totally normal” to something “seedy,” and eventually laws were created to match societal change. Even with alcohol we have seen this, with alcohol-free bars even becoming mainstream.

What makes “technology addiction” different, however, is how rapidly it evolves.

“Unless the rate at which social antibodies evolve can increase to match the accelerating rate at which technological progress throws off new addictions, we'll be increasingly unable to rely on customs to protect us. Unless we want to be canaries in the coal mine of each new addiction—the people whose sad example becomes a lesson to future generations—we'll have to figure out for ourselves what to avoid and how. It will actually become a reasonable strategy (or a more reasonable strategy) to suspect everything new,” he writes.

So, if our current world really doesn’t offer any buffers between us and our devices, Harrelson’s cold turkey approach does make some sense. Not that his approach is in any way feasible for 99% of us. But still, it offers some food for thought. Without agreed upon collective changes to our phone behavior, what chance does an individual really have of breaking free of this widely common habit? Is the only option to opt out entirely? These are questions thus far without answers. But what an important conversation to have moving forward.