You’ve probably never heard of the word “phubbing” before, but I’d wager to say you’ve applied what it means with some regularity. On Psychology Today, Emma Seppälä, Ph.D. writes, “Phubbing is the practice of snubbing others in favor of our mobile phones.”
In other words, when someone is having a conversation with you or a small group, you’re on your cell phone pretending to listen.
Such practice was originally thought to be linked to inconsiderate and entitled teenagers who had little to no understanding of what it means to be respectful.
But phubbing no longer discriminates by age as 40 somethings and even 70 somethings now practice it consistently on their cell phones and smart watches regardless of whose company they’re in.
A Time magazine article states, “Several studies have shown that phubbing makes face-to-face interactions less meaningful. A paper just published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that even people who imagined they were being phubbed while viewing a simulated conversation felt more negatively about the interaction than people who didn’t picture phubbing.”
Phone time in our society has gone from intermittent to frighteningly constant. We carry our cell phones around from room to room like another appendage. They’re with us when we’re taking out the garage, walking the dog, doing our business in the bathroom, shopping in the supermarket, exercising and even when we’re putting our children to bed each night.
Many now believe that phubbing is part of today’s culture and a reality we all need accept. I don’t know about you, but rudeness has never been and will never be an acceptable behavior, but it does speak volumes towards someone’s importance in your life.
In his book Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog, New York Times bestselling author Dave Barry, writes, “In the end, all that really matters – all you really have – is the people you love. Not your job, not your career, not your awards, not your money, not your stuff. Just people.”
What do YOU think it says to those “people” every time they see you pick up your phone instead of fully engaging with them? And don’t be naïve, people notice (even your kids).
Do you honestly believe it makes them feel valued and appreciated? Does it encourage them to approach you for support and guidance and know you will listen?
Do your spouse, your children, your friends, your family, your neighbors and yourself a favor. Put down your phone and stop phubbing. People deserve your undivided attention instead of competing with a hand-held device for your time.