If you own a computer, and you’re willing to pay eight bucks a month (or extort an account from a friend or relative), then you’re probably already aware of how awesome Netflix is. After a long day of work or class, there’s nothing you’d rather do than curl up on the couch or in your bed with some delicious snack and your laptop overheating your crotch as you binge watch some show for the remaining hours of your day. However, there is a fine line between a few hours of harmless, mindless Netflix use and gratuitous dependence that has your friends and family concerned about your well being. Maybe it’s time you see other people (and no, that doesn’t include HBO Go or HuluPlus.)
1. You become too emotionally invested in story lines from your favorite shows.
You’ve memorized the entire opening paragraph to Law and Order: SVU–and don’t forget to mention how devastated you were when Netflix removed the first five seasons! I mean, what’s up with that? You struggle to differentiate between reality and what you see on your computer screen, and before you know it, you’re best friends with Andy Botwin and secretly pining over George Michael Bluth. When Carla and Turk got married by Turk’s priest patient in the ICU on Scrubs, you considered yourself a guest–and you cried some real tears over the beauty of the occasion.
2. Your reaction to an email notification that more seasons of your show are available is inappropriately joyous.
You could get an email from your boss offering you a promotion, a raise, and benefits, and that would be okay. You could get an email offering you admission to Harvard Medical School, and that would be alright too. But the minute you get an email from Netflix notifying you that another season of Say Yes to the Dress has just become available to stream, you are happier than you would be if you hypothetically won the lottery, got proposed to by your high school sweetheart, and were offered your dream job all at the same time.
3. Your queue list is overrun by shows and movies you haven’t committed to yet.
If your list is full to the point of being analogous to something you might find in a house in an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive, then it might be time to consult a professional. Are you really going to start Scandal before you finish Breaking Bad? Come on now. Do you really need to watch the Mitt Romney documentary when you didn’t even vote for him? Didn’t think so. And don’t even think about throwing Failure to Launch on there. I know Netflix suggested it because you liked Love Actually, but it’s actually nothing like Love Actually. Don’t be fooled.
4. You enter a state of earth shattering depression when a show ends, and there are no more seasons to watch next.
If you’re familiar with the Netflix Original Series, then you know that thirteen episodes of your favorite series will be available all at once. However, if you’re that invested in your show, you know that thirteen episodes at once will last you on average about one and a half days. So you finished House of Cards. Now what? Well, you’ll just have to find out until 2015 to see. Don’t worry, you can always prevent your downward spiral by comforting yourself with a few documentaries or a nine season show in the meantime.