What is Phubbing and How It May Be Damaging Your Life Without You Knowing It

Here is all the information you need to know about it.

Photo by Carol Magalhães on Unsplash

The other day I was asked for help by a friend who was having problems with her boyfriend, and I met her.

We went to a park, and she told me what was happening to her. After giving her some advice, she started scrolling with her smartphone. After five minutes, the phone rang, and I thought she wouldn’t take the call.


She answered the call and talked to a friend for forty-five minutes on the phone while I smiled uncomfortably and wanted to go home and stop fooling around.

I felt pretty bad: 1) the girl asked me to meet her, and I gave her my time 2) I listened to her attentively and advised her 3) when I finished advising her, she didn’t thank me, and on top of that, she replaced me first by scrolling through her social networks and then by taking a call.

When I got home, I thought, “How many love and friendship relationships are suffering thanks to smartphones?” And I started to investigate and discovered this strange term: “Phubbing.”

What is Phubbing?

It is a word that appeared in 2009 along with the rise and rise of smartphones, Phubbing is the union of two words 1) phone and 2) snubbing.

The meaning of Phubbing is something like ignoring the people you are with by being immersed and focused on a screen, whether it is your smartphone, your new Apple tablet, or a laptop.

Phubbing also means ignoring your surroundings to focus on the technology.

How Phubbing affects us

This form of contempt is a silent relationship killer. Because most of the time, you don’t realize how badly you’re behaving. And how you make others feel when you ignore them.

I don’t think my friend was aware of how I felt when she stopped talking to me to answer her phone. And it’s not just my friend who does it to me.

My mother Phubbing me often when I’m talking to her about something, and the conversation lasts more than ten minutes.

I don’t take it personally because we are addicted to screens.

Besides, we don’t know just Phubbing people; we also Phubbing the environment.

My mother is no longer content with television. She can’t watch a movie without using her smartphone while watching it. And in the end, she doesn’t even watch the film, nor does she know what she’s reading on Facebook.

Some people drive with their smartphones between their legs to avoid being seen and fined. And by being abstracted from the environment and trying to drive while checking Instagram stories, you can have an accident and hurt yourself or others.

As you can see, Phubbing is more dangerous than you think. Because when you neglect the environment to be looking at the phone, the least serious thing that can happen to you is that you run into a lamppost, and also if you look at the phone every time you are with your friends or your partner, believe me when I tell you that these relationships will not last long because no one likes to be ignored.

What to do to prevent Phubbing from screwing up your social life

The first thing is to recognize the problem. The average adult touches the smartphone more than a hundred times daily: once every fifteen minutes.

That’s a lot.

And the problem is that we don’t realize when we do it because the impulse we feel towards our social networks has turned to checking the phone now and then into a mechanical act.

So the first thing to do is to be aware.

Remind yourself that you are using your smartphone every time you use it. That will make you realize WHERE you are using it and WHO you are using it WITH.

It doesn’t make sense to get into bed, and instead of telling your partner about your day and getting intimate to strengthen the bond, you check Ryan Holiday’s latest tweet or read Alberto Garcia’s latest post on Medium.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Ryan, and I love that you read my posts. But everything has its time and place.

Being aware of when you use your smartphone changes your life. Because you start paying attention to what’s important and stop neglecting the people you cross paths with daily: family, partners, and friends.

I use a little trick: whenever I catch myself with my smartphone in my hand, I ask myself: where are you? And if the answer is not only, I don’t use it unless my work justifies it.

I hope this article does you good. And that you don’t neglect your friends by attending to your social networks. Because real friends are flesh and blood friends, not those strangers you follow on Facebook 🙂

A virtual hug


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