Sensing Your Cell Phone When It Hasn’t Gone Off

Over my self-indulgent hibernation, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a smartphone that I happened to receive over Christmas. It’s a neat little device, and I’m constantly overwhelmed by all the intricacies of it and the Android OS. It’s entertaining, but it’s gotten me thinking about cell phones in general. 

I haven’t had mine long enough to fully conceptualize what I’m going to talk about (which really should say something about how fantastic a writer I am. No, no, please, your thanks are definitely not necessary). Heck, it still feels like an electric shock probes its way into my thigh whenever I get a text message. Thanks, vibrate mode.

However, for the cellularly-adept, the opposite problem seems to occur. “What’s that? Surely that was my phone; after all, people NEED me! I am their lifeblood! They want MY van’s candy! So let my open up this gadget real quick…” and BAM, nothing. Hopes are dashed and disappointment creeps in. Chalking it up as phantom noise, or a mistake in the phone, you go back to your regular duties.

If it only happened once, well, that would be fine. Actually, this process can repeat itself many times throughout the average day, causing a compounding effect with the hopes and disappointment. Especially when you’re really hoping to hear from someone. It’s frustrating, because the fault lies entirely with the device’s owner. The emotional-warhead side of it can aggravate, too. Appearing, at times, like you should spill acid in your ears in order to cleanse this mistaken sensory stimulation.

I can’t wait until I reach this stage. Trust me.

Everyone needs to feel wanted. Unfortunately, everyone wants to feel needed, too.

Let Sensing Your Cell Phone When It Hasn’t Gone Off Die

Photo Credits: Here


68 responses to “Sensing Your Cell Phone When It Hasn’t Gone Off

  1. Gotta love the Mystery Vibe. I can even now distinguish pitches of vibrations.

    Mom: Is that my phone?
    Me: Nope, that vibe patterns mine, plus the pitch is higher than yours.

    I’m going back to my corner now…:)

    Kudos on FP!

  2. What’s up with that involuntary OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT??? reaction to the vibration-in-the-pocket, anyhow? I mean, it’s not like we’ve actually BEEN electrocuted, though you couldn’t tell from watching …

    Funny post! 🙂

  3. I HATE this phenomenon!! It ruins my life for days after a first date or job interview.

  4. You should write about people who sense their cell phone RIGHT BEFORE it goes off. Now that’s freaky.

  5. A great “Freshly Pressed” blog about something we all have sensed in our smartphone lives. I cannot imagine being without mine. Our lives are truly blessed with the tools that are available to us in this day and age.

  6. This is the absolute WORST when you are waiting on a call from a guy. Maybe you’ve had one, two dates. You really want him to call. Or text. Or send a carrier pigeon or something. Then you see a little red light on your phone. Did you miss something? Did he call while you were in the bathroom? Did he text you something cute, like he was thinking of you? Then you look at your phone, and it’s notifying you that your Verizon bill is due. Or your mom texted you (and it’s strange enough that your mom is texting you) something about dinner Sunday night. Or, it’s just a stupid Facebook message. And the cycle begins again.
    I also hate when you hear the phantom/maybe it’s your phone sound while you in are the shower. Nothing worse than jumping out, soaking wet, to check your phone, only to find that no one has called or written you. I mean, that’s a total indicator that no one loves you, right??

    • it’s just me

    • Hahaha!! Thank you Catherine, for making me realize that I am NOT the only one who hears the phantom call of my phone while I’m in the shower (or waiting for a guy to text or call). lol

      • Haha, no problem! Actually, I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one!! And I love how, for me, waiting until after I am done and get out of the shower to check almost never feels like an option. I. Need. To. Know. Now. if he’s called me. I mean conditioner in my hair and only one shaved leg is hot, right?? 🙂

  7. Sometimes I wonder how people maintained relationships prior to the introduction to “the text message”. My god, they had to CALL each other? Surely they didn’t call with the frequency with which we text our friends/partners, right?

    I can’t imagine life without my phone and I definitely have felt the phantom buzz. Ho-hum.

  8. It’s not entirely a user issue … my smartphone sets off the speakers of any system near it whenever it tries to sync to see if I have new email. The result is a heinous buzzing sound from my laptop in the office, microphones when presenting, my stereo when I work from home, and even shrieks of pain when my nieces were trying to watch a video in the car and the buzz came over the headphones. And I couldn’t carry my old one in my pocket bc it would, well, not vibrate exactly, but I swear I could FEEL it every time it synced. That said, when my gadget was new I really did have an almost psychotic need to check every few seconds to see if anything new had arrived. Right. Like I’m just that important.

  9. nice wording

  10. Congrats on your new phone. The thing that bugs me is that sometimes I get a call and the phone doesn’t ring at all and I don’t realize I had a call until later.
    As a tip, set your phone to vibrate. A loud, ringing phone at the wrong time (meeting at work, on a date, etc) are very annoying.

    • The Pink Elephant's Potato Patch

      That happens to me too! I thought my phone was just starting to grow old, begging retirement by acting up!

  11. Ah, the smart phone phantom–he visists us here in Haiti from time to time. Congrats on freshly pressed—-
    From Port-au-Prince,

  12. I hear ya.. my smart phone is a pain in the a**

  13. lol i am the same way great post it made me laugh but also realize my disappointment when i take my phone out and see no new alerts

  14. Just a thought, but my smartphone gives electromagnetic interference to my speakers when I receive a text which sounds like the thing you’re on about. But it also does the same when my phone tries accessing 3g. So I scramble in anticipation to see a text from a friend in need, but am disappointed to see nothing. Could it be that this is what is happening to you? 😀

  15. Very true, that phenomina can become highly irritating. I have found that my phone seems to “vibrate” more often if i am expecting a call, creating an ever more problematic situation. As the situation continues, the irritation grows.

  16. LOL! Good post- yes, I have to say, I am one of the disappointed ones usually , reaching for my phone on the crowded bus and its almost always for the guy 2 rows behind me and not me… ;o(

  17. Since I’ve had a mobile phone (about 10 years now) it has ALWAYS been in my front right pocket of my jeans. That thigh regularly feels ‘text messages’ whether there is a phone in there or not! It used to worry me a little bit, but now I’m largely indifferent to it!

  18. Haha, it’s like phantom texts. This happens to me all the time, it’s so disappointing when you realize that you dreamed it up.

  19. My cellphone is rarely on; I use it for emergencies. So when I do get the odd call and the music starts, it takes me a minute to catch on.
    My phone philosophy is: if I’m not next to a landline, then I’m probably out somewhere enjoying the day and I don’t want to be interrupted.
    I’m glad no one’s calling. 🙂

  20. I know exactly where you’re coming from! I always feel it vibrate or hear it ring/beep – it’s actually quite scary that one quickly start to feel dissapointed when staring into the black screen…

  21. Phantom texts. I am a victim, too.

  22. This happens to me all the time =/
    Indeed, everyone wants to feel wanted and needed.
    On that note, I could really use some friends on this site. I’m new and not sure how to go about doing that 😦 here’s my blog:
    Stop by if you can!

  23. I agree with everything you just said.

  24. I can’t tell you how often this happens to me. I’m an iPhone owner and that thing has become absolutely glued to me. However, I’m also a pilot… so I use my phone for all sorts of weather-related things and whatnot.
    One of the things I stopped doing is carrying my phone in my coat pocket. Every little motion or noise makes me think it’s going off. If I’m carrying it in my pants pocket, then I can feel the “electric shock” and be certain. 🙂

  25. When I feel my cellphone go off… but in reality no-one called, i call it;
    ~ a delusion of popularity…
    but there should be more…
    ~Phantom friends
    ~Non-Corpreal caller
    I dont know… i got to lay off the coffee… anyone have another?

  26. It doesn’t happen to me as often as you seem to have this, but I know what you feel. Sometimes it just feels like my phone is vibrating, when I look at the display, no message got in. A big disappointmet for that moment. All you are left with is looking as cool as possible. Trying to take it was just a regular check, to see if you missed anything. Thank you for sharing this anyway!

  27. I know this feeling all too well. My new boyfriend and I text basically all the time, because we both have other responsibilities that don’t allow us to talk on the phone, but can still text. I am always looking forward to his texts, and check my phone almost compulsively seeing if he’s texted back yet. When it goes quite a while without hearing anything I do feel a little sad, but I just have to remember it’s not that he doesn’t WANT to talk to me, it’s that he doesn’t have time.
    Now with just friends it can be an entirely different and even more frustrating story. Sometimes I feel much too attached to my phone. Trying to find a balance between being available to people, and having personal sanity and emotional well being can be a really frustrating journey.

  28. So that makes me wonder, if you have static electricity on you, and you pick up your phone, which sometimes tends to have a metallic surrounds (ie iPhone, some Droids) then what happens, do you kill the phone, can you short circuit it that it shocks you back from the battery power?

  29. Don’t waste your money on acid, you can do a lot of damage to your ears only using household items. In fact I’ll write a list of the best itemes. Just kidding, but that happens to me all the time (the phone thing, not the damaging your ear part).

  30. I CAAAN’T – Help !!!! Hahahahaha, very good!

  31. I always chalked it up to something else in my pocket rubbing against the phone, making me think it was vibrating, but I do tend to get that sensation more when I’m expecting a text message. Could it be purely psychological, or are my keys trying to fool me?

  32. The Pink Elephant's Potato Patch

    Happens every day! Trick of the light, and I think my phone screen is flashing. A car revs outside, and I think my phone’s vibrating. Go to the toilet, come back out, check my phone, still no text! It’s happening right now! Some people really need to text back quicker!

    Love the article – I think I might subscribe to your blog 🙂

  33. Haha I always think my phone is vibrating in my pocket. Sometimes even when it’s NOT in my pocket.
    But other times, I get out my phone to text someone and RIGHT THEN the person texts me. So I also have some phone ESP going on, which shouldn’t die because it’s awesome 😀

  34. My smartphone is my greatest asset AND the bane of my existence. I actually sleep with it right on the pillow next to me, and it’s the first thing I reach for when I wake up in the morning. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to you. Be careful, it’s a slippery slope. One day you’re simply overly aware of your phone, the next day you realize that it’s the closest relationship you have 😉

  35. I always think my phone is vibrating. Then I realize I don’t use vibrate mode.

  36. I am that way with comments. I keep checking to see if I got a comment. Sometimes I do. You are featured in Freshly Pressed, you will get lots of comments. Congrats.

  37. It brings high hopes at the second you sense the phone and down spirals right away.
    : (

  38. I get that sometimes. I think it is me in all earnest wanting someone to have been thinking of me.

    To be totally honest, I thought your post was gonna be about sensing when a text message was coming through seconds before it actually does. It first started when I got a Japanese cellphone. It weirded me out at the start. Almost felt like being psychic. Maybe I have sharp senses or some cellphones put out some silent vibe when a message is coming through before it alerts you a message is in. In any case, it gave me the willies!

  39. I hate when all the phones are charging in the same area and you hear the text message alerts and you don’t know whose phone it is because they all sound the same. Usually it’s the kids so I’ll let them go check because of course theirs is more important and if it’s not theirs they’ll tell me it’s mine. I guess I could just make life easier by changing my tone in preferences …..but….nah….I think I ‘ll just keep guessing.

  40. I don’t and never have had a smart phone. But my cheap, plain phone is ALWAYS phatom ringing on me. This furthers my belief that a smart phone will only increase my issue so I should definitely stay clear.

  41. Oh….. so sorry to hear this….

  42. Well, I thought it was just me. Welcome friend

  43. interesting article, is the first entered in this site and will not be the last


  44. I’m doing it right now… just before I began reading this post. Makes me feel a little better that I’m not the only one. But I already knew that… and right now I’m at the stage where I really want to fling the thing away without worrying about “why hasn’t that person replied” “did my message reach him/her” “is my cell reception okay” and pulling my cell out to check a million times in case my phantom cell phone ringing sense has gone out of order.
    Weren’t these things supposed to make our lives easier?

  45. AMEN!! I have an android, I swear that thing is the devil and crack all rolled up into one little device. I don’t get the “sense” it’s gone off I just find myself checking it every 5 minutes… ugh technology.

  46. You know you’ve got it bad when you get the false notifications, vibrations, chirps, tweets and flashing lights when it wakes you up about 4 times IN THE NIGHT!!!

    We should set up a self-help group or something…..

  47. At RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) they came up with a technical term for that…’textaphrenia’. It sounds so much more sinister doesn’t it? :p

  48. Heck, it still feels like an electric shock probes its way into my thigh whenever I get a text message. Thanks, vibrate mode.

    HAHA! There is a first time for everything. Maybe you’re ticklish. Nah, hahaha.

    Good post! And of course, good blog! I wish I can become a fantastic writer like you.

  49. lol. true, i don’t like it when i pull my phone out of my pocket and noone has contacted me.
    Equally i hate it when i get messages when i’m busy.
    Tut tut, you just can’t win. lol

  50. Now that we can be contacted anywhere and at anytime makes us want to be contacted anywhere at anytime!
    I do hate it after a job interview and while waiting for a phone call or text and one isn’t received!

  51. Yep, whenever I leave the country, I leave my cell phone at home. Then when I’m out and about in the foreign land, I still feel my phone vibrate, even though it’s no longer in my pocket.

    Phantom limb = Phantom phone

  52. I don’t tend to sense the mystery vibe, but I do check my phone randomly throughout the day just in case I missed a mystery vibe…!

  53. I so hated being woken by an alarm clock of any kind, to get up and go to work in the oilfields. Working shifts, that changed every weekend, from daylight, to evening, to midnight, meant you always had to change the wake time on your alarm.
    Very strangely, it got to the point, and is still like that, I will reach out from sleep, and turn off the alarm just before it is about to go off, any time, day or night, if I know I have to get up for a specific time and reason.
    So it does not only happen with some cell phones users. It is as though, with some of us, your brain gets programmed to wake you when it should.
    To sense when a message is about to be sent, and picking up your phone before; I have had a similar, forty and more year experience with posted letters, exchanged with a very dear childhood friend.

  54. Great post, looking forward to the next one. ~SW

  55. interesting article, is the first entered in this site and will not be the last

  56. Sad for me, I just lost my phone, 😦

    Anyways, nice post

    Take Care people

  57. I call it phantom text tone. Kind of like phantom limb thing, I guess. Nice post. My friends and I were talking about this the other day, actually. It’s like phantom blog…. discussion…comment…thing….

  58. This happens to me at least once a day, especially when i am anticipating a special text message or call. I keep my phone on vibrate, for the majority of the time.

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