Drunk dialing: a new cultural phenomenon

Rebecca Mohr


Credit: DKS Editors

Your ringtone sounds at 3 a.m., jerking you out of that great dream.

When you answer with a grumpy “hello” and find your drunk friend on the other end of the line, you might not be in the greatest mood.

Drunk dialing has become a “phenomenon,” said Erin Kleman, doctoral candidate in human communication at Kent State.

She and Amber Ferris, who is also a doctoral candidate, are conducting research on a study involving the effects and reasons of drunk dialing and how it is perceived on a college campus.

“A cell phone is this tool on your hip that contributes to communication and drunk dialing,” Ferris said.

Kleman said she agreed.

“It used to be that people had to make plans before they went out,” Kleman said. “Now you can call someone at 2 a.m. and just meet up with them then.”

Some of the results of the survey found drunk dialers partake in their pastime for entertainment, to boost confidence, out of boredom and because of a lack of inhibition.

“On the survey, we asked for stories (and) we got a lot of interesting ones,” Ferris said.

Communication was a major reason why people make 3 a.m. drunk phone calls, the study found.

Freshman theater major Julie Berry agreed with Kleman and Ferris’ survey results.

“I called my boyfriend because I just wanted to talk to someone,” Berry said.

Even though just talking to someone may be a reason to drunk dial, some things may be said that the drunk person may regret.

“We just laughed it off,” Berry said. “I said some stuff that I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t drunk, but I wasn’t embarrassed about it; (I) just felt dumb.”

When receiving that late night drunk dial from your significant other, some may laugh it off like Berry, but others might consider it a big deal.

“We heard of one student who broke up a relationship over drunk dialing,” Kleman said. “People may just blow off the conversation and think it’s funny or they take it seriously.”

Ferris added to the broken relationship story from the pair’s combined research.

“One person thought that the other one was drunk dialing too much and just got tired of it,” Ferris said.

Mike Casteel, junior electronic media production major, took drunk dialing to the next level when he called his mother.

“I don’t remember why I called my mom,” Casteel said. “I just remember she said that if I was in jail that she wouldn’t bail me out.”

Contact features correspondent Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].