PHUBBING aka PHONE SNUBBING: THE SOCIAL FAUX PAS — POSTMODERN ETIQUETTE
How do I convince my girlfriend to breakup with her phone? It’s a real bore. She’s constantly checking it even when it pings with a text she could read later. Since she doesn’t wear a watch, she says she needs to know the time when she sees me watching her check her phone.
She can’t sit through a full-length movie or have an uninterrupted conversation, let alone a night out alone just the two us! Not only that, but she gets upset with social media and group texts. Last night she went ballistic after discovering she had been left off of a group text even though she was told it was a mistake, and she couldn’t give up her anger!
With a glance she’ll throw me the old “mmhmm,” once in a while pretending she’s listening, but I hardly consider that a conversation.
It’s like there are three of us in our relationship! Any ideas?
–PK, Brooklyn, NY
Cellphones may not be an addictive substance but they definitely are a species-level environmental shock. The good news is, digital wellness is on it's way! There are many solutions in the form of new devices to help unhook the brain from the harmful routines of smartphone use. and hooking it on to other ways to spend time, such as reading a real book, practicing yoga, etc.:
- "Light Phone" - sets limits on time-stealing apps.
- "Digital Detox" packages - are available in luxury hotels ($295.)
- Set up mental speed bumps by putting a scrunchie or rubber band around your phone to make you stop and think before using.
- Or change the screen lock to one that asks three questions: Why now? What for? and What else?
- Be alone with your thoughts and pay more attention to your surroundings instead of your phone.
- Toss out apps that don't make you happy.
- People who don't charge their phones in their bedroom, use them less.
Detox will make one more attentive to being present in the moment, and able to spend more time listening--and less easily distracted. They say the average person picks up their phone 50 times a day as a way of coping with boredom and anxiety. UGH!
How you go about telling someone
to try some of these remedies?
Try them yourself.
- Start with agreeing to stop charging phones in the bedroom.
- Take 24 hours during a weekend for a joint "trial separation" from your phone(s).
- The next step is a get-away-weekend without your six-inch glass-and-steel rectangles.
- Make a goal of one hour a day for cellphone use--perhaps picking up your phone only 20 times.
- When suddenly finding yourself sucked into your phone--self-correct.
Look people in the eye and listen when they talk.
What to say about the poor etiquette of phubbing:
- Phubbing is snubbing the one you're with.
- Hey, put down that cellphone! You're snubbing me!
- Stop phubbing your partner.
- Get it into your head that phubbing is a bad, modern-day habit.
- 79% say phubbing hurts their ability to interact with their partners.
- Using a handset while with a partner undermines the quality of the relationship.
- Researches say phubbing is a relationship buster up there with money problems, bad sex and having kids.
- There are increasing numbers of people in long-term relationships that feel they must compete with their partner's smartphone for attention.
- Are you a nomophobe (no-mobile-phone phobia)? Scared to be without your mobile phone?
RELATIONSHIP TIPS FOR PHONE ADDICTS
- Keep the phone away from you on silent; for instance in a tote bag or backpack or up on a shelf.
- When you feel you have to check on something legitimately important, give an explanation to your partner first and then check your phone.
- Never be defensive when you get called out for technoference (the interference of technology in couple relationships)--it's somebody's way of telling you they'd like to connect in person.
Sorry you're feeling phubbed,
now do something about it, and
I don't mean installing a signal blocker
in your living room or bedroom.