'Phubbing' May Be Hurting Your Relationship, But There's A Simple Way To Break The Habit

"Can we be present with the person in front of us right now, no matter who it is?”

If you're on the dating scene, then you've probably been victim to at least one slightly annoying, or even harmful, dating trend at some point in time. You may have been "ghosted," or even "haunted," but, have you ever been phubbed? 

If you've never heard the term, chances are you are still quite familiar with the behavior, and may have even done it a few times yourself.  A clever blend of the words "phone" and "snubbing," phubbing is a term coined in 2012 that means ignoring your partner (friend, relative, or loved one) while giving your phone all of your attention.


Here to highlight the issue is The Washington Post's Culture host Hannah Jewell.

"The trouble with phubbing is that it's kind of a vicious cycle," says Jewell in the video above. " If you're at a restaurant with someone, and you realize they're not listening to you because they are scrolling through their Instagram, looking at strangers' dogs, you don't really want to be like, 'Hey, are you listening to me?' 'Cuz that' would be sad and awkward. So instead, you probably just take out your phone too." 

Jewell notes that psychologists have showed such behavior can lead to poor relationships with your S.O., and your family and friends.  Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D., Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, writes on Psychology Today that a set of studies showed "just having a phone out and present during a conversation (say, on the table between you) interferes with your sense of connection to the other person, the feelings of closeness experienced, and the quality of the conversation." She writes this behavior often makes each partner lose out on what could otherwise be a conversation with opportunities for authentic connection. 

So, how do we break the habit?

Seppälä says awareness is key, and simply acknowledging the phubbing behavior is the first step to controlling it. She highlights research by the author of Love 2.0, Barbara Fredrickson, who suggests intimacy happens in micro-moments. These moments can be as small as taking out the trash together, or taking the dog for a walk.

"The key is to be present and mindful," says Seppaia. " A revealing study showed that we are happiest when we are present, no matter what we are doing. Can we be present with the person in front of us right now, no matter who it is?" 

But perhaps the easiest solution of all is offered by Jewell in the video: Your pocket. 

That's right. Simply put your phone away. "It turns out, when you're having dinner with someone you can take your phone, and put it in your pocket," she says cheekily. 

Marriage therapist Christine Wilke agrees, and told HuffPost she assigns her clients a 30-minute electronic-free zone every day. "This is time where they can have a meaningful one-on-one connection with no outside intrusion," she says. "Very often this 30 minutes morphs into a much longer period of time because it becomes a much cherished break for them."

So, with all this in mind, we think it's time for us all to stop phubbing each other, and start interacting instead. And though it's a hard addiction to break, that sweet quality time with your loved one is way more exciting than any InstaTweetStory will ever be. 

(H/T: HuffPost

Cover image via  VGstockstudio I Shutterstock


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