How many times were you asked to put down a phone during a date, a meeting, in class, or a friend group? How many times were you seriously annoyed by your vis-a-vis for not paying attention to you? Have you noticed your partner is not so interesting after a honeymoon phase in relationships? Phones and dates are a bad combination because being in your space while communicating shows disrespect. Are those conversations urgent indeed or do we just lose the best time of our lives getting distracted?

Phubbing, a new phenomenon popped up several years ago and provoked a serious backlash among young people. In this article, we will talk about phubbing, 21th century most significant problem. How to stop phubbing and how to start paying more attention?

phubbing meaning

Phubbing Definition and Relevance for Nowadays

Nobody can tell you right away about the whole “phubbing” meaning. This term was coined in 2012. What is phubbing? It is a combination of two words – “phone” and “snubbing.” What does phubbing mean in a relationship? To phub around means to get distracted from communication because of constantly being on your phone. It doesn’t mean you do this deliberately or even knowingly, but either way, it gets too annoying and may seriously damage your relationship. Phubbing irritates not only single women on dates, but being on your phone can be extremely dangerous. Did you know that the National Safety Council claims that phubbers get into trouble for their strange addiction? Using phone and driving results in 1.600 000 car accidents each year! And almost 390.000 of these tragedies happen annually because of texting and driving. That’s a sad phubbing statistics.

In 2013, an ad company released a commercial called “Stop Phubbing.” Its catchphrase was, “No Tweeting, No Facebook, No Instagram, No Foursquare, No Sexting: respect the food, the music, and the company you’re in.”

The problem of not paying attention is the worst scourge of millennials. We get caught up in our business so bad, almost any field of our life can go south because of that constant issue.

The Effects of Phubbing on Our Everyday Lives

Aside from this “phubbing” meme, how does this phenomenon affect our everyday lives? Do we even recognize the worst effects on our bodies and mental health? What if boomers are right, claiming that a new generation doesn’t know how to live life?

Social interaction

There is no mystery. Social interaction and phubbing do not go together. While we think that everyday texting allows us to improve communicational skills, we are doing more damage than help. Texting while being at a friend meeting or in the family circle tremendously takes away from our experience. We cannot focus on a single thing people say and choose to get distracted. Designating roles in this way, we push away significant characters from our lives, paying attention to less relevant people. And even further, some of us do not cross-text, preferring to play games and read memes, talking away all productivity and emotional fulfillment from the conversation.

Mental health and personality

Phubbing results in literal degradation. No wonder an older generation call millennials slobbish. With an attention span this short, an average adult who practices phubbing does not differ much from a 60’s toddler, needing instant gratification and constant visual and audial stimulus.

A 2018 study found out that while the 2000’s peoples’ attention span was 12 seconds, now we can hold attention up to 8 seconds. In comparison, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds, so we can proudly say that it’s easier to distract a person from a conversation than a fish. Maybe you have even stopped reading the text by this time.

Romantic relationships

Getting distracted so easily and having so many options makes a person feel omnipotent, choosing to listen to a voice message in a 2x speed, choosing quick hookups over slowly developing relationships, instant sex over emotionally fulfilling romance. You would never guess that these phenomena are so deeply intertwined, yet the need for instant gratification makes us worse on so many levels, equalizing us with a child who throws temper tantrums each time their needs aren’t being satisfied in an instant. We truly do not know how to wait. We forgot patience.

How to Notice Chronic Phubbing in Yourself or Your Partner?

We may blame our partner for not paying attention, but do we always pay them back? How to notice is one of you is dissocializing?

phubbing definition

1. Never remembering the topic

If you or your partner constantly forget about the subject matter, it can mean that you weren’t even listening. Especially if you have a habit of texting and talking, or playing games on the phone. When you don’t pay attention, some important details may slip out from your attention, causing your partner to get irritated and angry. If you are constantly being blamed or asked to put down your phone, it is a very direct sign that you are a victim of phubbing.

2. Mixing up facts

So Judy is Ben’s sister? How old is Betty again? Are we going to Lapland for the summer holidays? Phubbing can create many bizarre and hilarious situations. But when the conversation is serious, this doesn’t get funny anymore. If you are constantly mismatching facts, your partner may think they don’t hold much value and get even more passive-aggressive. If you are a victim of such behavior, this may be understood as well.

3. Constant scrolling through the phone

If you or your partner do not leave the phone out of your eyesight for a mere second, this means you have a phubbing addiction. You always need some eye candy to keep you entertained, even if your partner already is one. Chronic phubbers take their phone everywhere, especially to the WC, and use it while standing in lines.

4. This is compulsive

Phubbers do not notice when they took the phone and started aimlessly refreshing the page. Just like substance abuse, phubbing is very addictive. Chronic phone addicts have a strange hand itch, forcing them to pull out the phone in uncomfortable situations. You cannot have a calm walk without someone compulsively checking the mail, even on weekends.

Tips on How to Stop Phubbing in Your Relationship

How to stop phubbing around? How to avoid getting phubbed? What is the solution for phubbing? Here is a comprehensive list of cures from phone addiction that might bring communication back into the relationship.

1. Mirroring

It might sound petty and childish, but mirroring often helps with showing people their mistakes. Once you see your partner starting scrolling through their phone, don’t yell at them. Just suddenly stop talking and go on your phone. Your partner may notice that the conversation has dropped, and it might bring them back to life.

2. Phone-free environment

Assign a place in your home to be your phone-free environment. For example, if you hate when your partner takes their phone to the kitchen and spends breakfast time watching memes, proclaim your dining area a no-phone zone. Besides, it helps with digestion. Ask your partner to leave their phone in the living room. If they are afraid to miss an important call, offer to not leave their device on vibration mode.

3. Don’t take your phones on a date

Just take this leap of faith and forget about your mobile devices when you are going to the movies. Anyway, they are not allowed in the cinema. In case you expect a call, warn your friends and family to call you in three hours. This will eliminate the need to scold at your date or give them sour looks.

4. Choose interesting topics

It is easy to blame someone for ruined relationships, but don’t we lack some retrospective sometimes? 

what is phubbing

Yes, phubbing is undeniably rude, but what if we are boring to listen to? An intense conversation never calls for distraction. Our partners never pull out their phones during the first second of the conversation. It usually happens gradually, when our attention span gets tired and refuses to perceive information. In the case of phubbing, leave the most interesting topic for the appetizer and never turn your conversation to a monologue. When you talk, always maintain a healthy level of interest by throwing in questions and jokes. Learn to be a better interlocutor and maybe, if it is not entirely their fault, your conversations will be livelier.

5. Stay present at the moment

Since our attention can be compared to a muscle, you can train it. Just try to stay in the moment for an hour. Observe every taste, smell, color, sound. Remember your perception. Instant gratification contaminates our perception centers, so next time we need to go harder to please our brain. When staying at the moment, sniffing flowers and watching the clouds, we can remember that life consists of simpler things, and you want to try to start noticing them.

6. Go on informational detox

It may be hard and challenging, but try to spend the whole day without any social media. No television, no radio, no music. Just emptiness and gratitude. While your tolerance gets polluted, nothing can satisfy your needs. After trying a week of phone deprivation, you will learn that it is an artificial habit and that our body needs it less than we think.

7. Don’t keep silence

If you do not like your partner’s behavior, don’t be silent about it. Speak about things that don’t satisfy you sincerely. Bring to their attention they are getting a little carried away. It is normal to be straightforward about things we don’t like with people we like. Do not be afraid to express your feelings and track their feedback on the issue.

Phubbing is our sad reality, but it doesn’t mean we can’t change anything about it. Just stay mindful, help each other out, and get your gratification back. We promise life is far more colorful without instant distractions!

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