Phubbing – The practice of ignoring one’s companion or companions or order to pay attention to one’s phone or other mobile device. ~ Oxford English Dictionary
“Is that even a word?”
It is indeed a word, as evidenced by Oxford’s inclusion of ‘phubbing’ in their dictionary. Apparently, ‘phubbing’ is an interjoining of the words “phone” and “snubbing.” Clever.
And in all likelihood, you’ve been phubbed before. Annoying, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is. And you’ve probably reciprocated said phubbing. Boo-yah!
“Who’s the phubber, now?” (Sorry.)
Wanna know what’s crazier than the word phubbing existing in the Oxford English Dictionary?
Ask and you shall receive!
The act of phubbing, per an actual academic study published by Baylor University’s School of Business, is an epidemic.
Yeah. An epidemic – as in “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.”
What an honor. ‘Phubbing’ joins the other notorious go-getters, like influenza, obesity, and the plague. Contributing to this dubious title is the fact that almost everyone with a smartphone is guilty.
Speaking of which, this writer has six random notifications to catch up with. Be right back, mmkay?
Here’s the thing…
Smartphones have infiltrated society – and usage continues to become more widespread. Institutions of every stripe – public and private, for-profit and non-profit – are now in the “digital age.”
Of course, this means that phones are everywhere in the workplace.
Thought your “personal time” was off-limits? Want to pay more attention to your personal life?
That’s a nice story. Here’s your company phone with Outlook installed.
Gotta be there for the customer, right?
Then there’s, you know, our relationships.
Here’s the thing (relationship version)…
None of us wake up to the thought of “I’m going to ignore my friends and loved ones in favor of this five-inch screen,” or “My phone is the most precious thing in my life.”
As mentioned, technology has permeated society; changing how we work, play, eat and even sleep. We’re adamant about not having enough free time – only to burn much of it tapping away on some stupid screen
Here’s an experiment. The next time you go to a semi-nice restaurant, stop and take a look around. There’s about a 90 percent chance you will see a couple all but ignoring each other in favor of their phone.
That whole ‘epidemic’ thing starting to make sense yet?
Signs of ‘Phubbing’
So, have you been ‘phubbed’? Here are 5 signs and behaviors:
1. Your partner stares at their phone while you’re talking.
Not only is this extremely rude, but it’s also disrespectful to your relationship. While your partner may not hang onto and absorb every word you speak, it’s common courtesy (not to mention commonsensical) to put the phone away when you’re talking.
2. Your partner busts out their phone … everywhere.
Whether you’re out on a date, among your friends, or spending time with your family, if your partner uses their phone while others are speaking, they’re phubbing you. Being in the presence of others doesn’t negate the fact that they’re prioritizing their device over you and yours.
3. Your partner always keeps their phone in sight – even when you’re present.
Have you ever placed a treat in front of a puppy and asked them to stay? If you have, you can tell by their expression that the restraint needed is almost unbearable. Hate to compare a man’s best friend with an actual man, but that’s precisely how some of us act with our phones.
Oh, and this is definitely phubbing.
4. Your partner always has their phone in hand.
Looking at you, texters and tweeters. Just because you’re not talking with your mother doesn’t mean you’re not phubbing! Here’s an idea: use the hand that has your phone in a death-grip to hold your partner’s hand (minus the death-grip)!
5. Your partner uses their phone in bed.
This is a common problem in romantic relationships. Using the phone in bedphone in bed – the most intimate of places – is a big no-no. And, in case you were wondering, you don’t “cancel each other out” if you’re both tapping away.
Besides the conflict and frustration that often surface in relationships, using the cell phone in bed is counterproductive to sleep quality. The blue light emitted from mobile devices interferes with the natural production of melatonin, which helps us doze off.
A few suggestions…
Listen, almost all of us are guilty of being the phubbee (?) and the phubber. We could all use a bit of advice in this arena, so here ya go!
– Keep your phone, including your work phone, out of arm’s reach. Doing this at night is especially effective, as you’re less likely to want to go and get it.
– When going out, bring your phone only if absolutely necessary. Before you grab your mobile companion, stop and think “Do I really need it where I’m going? If so, why?”
– Do not use your phone in bed! It’s a terrible habit for reasons already mentioned.
– When able, turn off your phone – especially if you are out on a date or spending time with others. As the phone can not vibrate or beep, you’re less likely to reach for it.