How to deal with your family sponging off your Netflix account

How to deal with your family sponging off your Netflix account

Image: vicky leta / mashable

It’s 8:30pm on a Wednesday night, and there’s only one thing on my mind: Netflix and chill. And, by ‘chill’ I mean drinking a glass of white wine alone on my sofa.

But, just as I hit play on the next episode of Queer Eye, the absolute worst happens. Netflix informs me that too many people are using this account.

The culprits? My beloved family. My mother, father, brother, and cousin all have access to my account. But, while offering up my password to my entire family might have seemed like a benevolent gesture at the time, I’m starting to regret it deeply. 

Here lies my predicament: how do I tell my beloved mother who brought me into the world that I need her to hit pause on Grace and Frankie for a hot sec so I can relax after a tiring day at the office? Do I kick off my dear cousin, an impecunious university student, when she’s midway through a Riverdale binge? 

As someone who’s deeply shy about confrontation, I often choose to do nothing when the too-many-users message pops up. But, my Netflix account has recently become so clogged up that I resorted to signing myself up for Amazon Prime just so I could watch some damn television. 

But, during a recent visit home to my family, I had an epiphany. My aunt — mother of aforementioned Riverdale-obsessed cousin — was talking about The Crown. “Oh, do you have Netflix?” I asked. 

“No, we don’t need Netflix, Rachel,” replied my aunt. “We have yours!” 

Enough is enough, I thought to myself as I took a sip of wine in an effort to say nothing that’d land me in hot water. I needed to do something about this. But, before I did anything, I investigated my options.

Option 1: Politely ask them to desist 

I gave this first option a great deal of thought and mentally drafted the missive I’d send to them. 

Dear family,

The time has come when you and my Netflix account must part ways. You’ve had a good innings. You’ve watched every single episode of Stranger Things. Twice. But, now it’s time for you to spread your wings, fly the nest, and cough up for your own account.

It’s not me. It’s you. 

I still love you though,

Rachel 

I envisaged the disappointed expressions appearing across my parents’ faces. “And, this is how she repays us?” I imagined them saying. I couldn’t bring myself to send it. 

Option 2: Shame them into quitting 

The second option was letting them know I was onto them. I access my cousin’s profile on my account, clicked on Settings and scrolled down to her Viewing Activity. In among a seemingly endless list of Riverdale episodes, I spotted her dirty little secret: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Just as I was about to fire off a text saying “really?” I thought about my own shameful viewing preferences. Perhaps shaming wasn’t the best option for me given my track record. 

No, what I needed was a long-term solution.

Image: rachel thompson / mashable

Option 3: Sever all ties

This was the harshest of all solutions, and by no means easy, let me assure you. A colleague informed me that a “sign out of all devices” option exists. 

So, here’s what I did in the end. In my Netflix Settings, I signed out of all devices, and then immediately changed my password. Brutal, I know, but it had to be done. 

Image: rachel thompson / mashable

Text messages rolled in asking me what was going on with my Netflix. “What’s your password again?” I let some time pass before sending a message letting my family members know that I would no longer be sharing my Netflix account. 

Everyone took the news well, thankfully. They told me they understood and that it’d had been good while it lasted. I think I felt most guilty for cutting off my parents, but it wouldn’t have been fair on my brother, cousin, and aunt if I’d kicked some people off and not others. My wonderful parents didn’t mind at all, and they’re already setting up their own account to fuel their insatiable Grace and Frankie thirst. I should and could have done it sooner, but finding the right break-up method always takes a little bit of time. 

To all of you facing the same predicament, choose a break-up option that works well for you. And never look back. 

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