Are you guilty of “phubbing?”
Have you ever been “phubbed” by your friends or family? Phubbing, or being ‘phone snubbed,’ is the frustrating experience of finding your conversation partner’s eyes fully fixated on their phone instead of on you during a conversation.
“When you’re engaged in a conversation and even briefly look at a text or email, that original moment of connection is lost, and you can’t get it back,” says Dr. Brittany Lakin-Starr, a psychologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “The conversation will never return to the level of intimacy it previously held. Research has shown that even if a smartphone is in sight, it will affect the deepness of the topics people bring up.”
According to a CNN article, we check our phones 150 times per day, or about once every six-and-a-half minutes. And, one study found, 70 percent of study participants believed that phubbing hurt communication with their romantic partners.
“Live, in-person conversations are decreasing,” says Dr. Lakin-Starr. “One study found that couples spend a mere 35 minutes per week talking to one another, and they mostly discuss errands.”
Whether connecting with your partner, your friends, your children or your parents, it’s easy to get distracted by electronics and hurt the feelings of those you love. Dr. Lakin-Starr advises being more mindful and focusing on the connection with the person in front of you.
“The text can wait, the email can wait and Facebook can definitely wait,” says Dr. Lakin-Starr. “Designate electronic-free times, including dinner time, date nights and family nights. Use this time to talk to your partner and children about their day or play a game. Kids will remember these moments, so make them count.”
Dr. Lakin-Starr adds that if you notice you’re using your smartphone to avoid interacting with others, whether because of relationship difficulties, anxiety or for other reasons, talking to a psychologist can also be helpful.
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