You’re procrastinating on Facebook in order to put off the essay that’s due tomorrow. Or maybe you’re on Buzzfeed trying to make it through your seventy-five minute class from hell as your professor does her best impression of the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. It doesn’t matter how you got there, or what website it’s on; the point is that you’re reading yet another list. Or are you? In case you had any doubts, here are the five signs that you’re reading a list.
1. You skip the opening paragraph(s) and cut straight to the list.
I know you did it. Go back and read it again. And don’t even think about skipping the last paragraph either. Rude.
2. You try to identify with at least one point featured.
Whether it’s personality-related or describing all the things you do when fall returns (you heard me, Pumpkin Spice), you pour over that list trying to find at least one part of it that is “totally you.” Sometimes, this simply means thinking to yourself, “I mean, I do that sometimes, so that counts, right? It definitely counts.”
3. You share it on social media.
If it has one shred of relevance to your life, you share that list faster than your university’s Wi-Fi connection disappears. You make sure everyone on your Facebook, Twitter, tumblr and Pinterest are well aware that you read this list in its entirety and deemed it parallel to your life and nobody else’s. It doesn’t matter if six other people already posted it.
4. You spend more time waiting for the related gifs and photos to load than actually reading the article.
Speaking of crappy Wi-Fi connections, it’s no secret that 75 percent of your time reading a list is spent waiting for the accompanying photos and gifs to load. Frequently, you refuse to read any further until they do, which leaves you just staring blankly a gray square with some dots in the middle for the better part of an hour. More frequently, you forget what the list is even about and have to start all over again. And every time, it isn’t worth the wait, but that doesn’t stop you from waiting for the next one.
5. You try to find a way to connect it with your relationships.
How many times have you sent your best friend a text with a link to a list you just read, saying, “Look at number seven. That is so us.” Bonus points if you send your boyfriend a list of various celebrities declaring that the cutest celebrity reminds you of him (even though the only thing your boyfriend has in common with Robert Pattinson is that they both have terrible hygiene).
By the time you are completely finished with the list, you’re left with mixed feelings. Your brief distraction is gone, and you yearn for a new one to waste your time. You’re not sure you really want to read yet another list—maybe you should take a quiz to mix it up a little bit. But that doesn’t stop you from scrolling to the next list in a zombie-like state, preparing to repeat the process all over again.