Sick Of Seeing Your Pals Glued To Their Phones? There’s A New Term For That

Get phubbed.
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So you have dragged yourself out of bed, slapped on some makeup and put on a pearl necklace and your fav cosy-core cardigan looking your Sunday best, ready to meet your BFF for brunch.

Your BFF arrives on time with a megawatt smile on her face, and she gives you a big-ass hug, and everything feels lovely.

You order avocado on toast, and she perks up at the thought of eating pancakes.

But then, like 10 minutes later, you find yourself poking your undercooked egg with a fork while your BFF taps away on her phone, and you’re thinking, “well… I guess there is something more important on her phone than my boring stories from this weekend.”

She continues tapping on her phone, and even though you know nothing is wrong, there is that looming feeling of being unwanted, boring and uninteresting.

WATCH: What phubbing looks like! I Forgot My Phone by Charstarlene TV.

This sound like a familiar situation? Well, there is officially a word for this: Phubbing.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines phubbing as “the act of someone you are with giving attention to [their] mobile phone instead.”

The dictionary also provides this example, “Let’s talk about phubbing, and why it is ruining this generation’s ability to hold a real conversation.”

So why is phubbing a thing if it’s straight up rudey-tudey? We take a look at how it’s gained momentum. 

Paris Hilton phubbing her sister Nicky Hilton. (Credit: Getty)

When was phubbing coined?

Legend has it (okay, it is not that mysterious, there’s full video you can watch about it here) the term was coined in May 2012.

The word that combines phone and snubbing to create phubbing was first used by the account director for McCann Group, Adrien Mills and his work associate David Astile. 

McCann felt so passionate about the term he created the campaign ‘Stop Phubbing.”

What does phubbing look like?

The signs that someone is phubbing you are pretty obvious (basically, you are trying to talk to Jack, but Jack has his phone in front of his face).

Here are some more common examples:

You’re at a family gathering, and your dad is answering emails at the table.

Your boyfriend is scrolling through Instagram while you tell him about your day at dinner.

Your two-year-old cousin is playing on an app (on your phone) while you try and teach them about colours. 

It is lunch, and you’re sitting at your friendship group’s favourite spot on the school oval, and three of your friends are busy Snapchatting, so you’re just sat there, bored, picking grass. 

Do any of these situations sound familiar? Well, then, girl, you’ve been phubbed. 

We’ve all been there. (Credit: Getty)

Is phubbing bad?

There is not a lot of literature or research out there about phubbing just yet. However, the studies that have been conducted found that it’s definitely not great for your mental health. 

The article How ‘phubbing’ became the norm: The antecedents and consequences of snubbing via smartphone, published by Computers in Human Behaviour discovered that this act makes us feel disconnected. 

According to the study, 17 per cent of people phub at least four times a day and that 32 per cent of people claim to have been phubbed two or three times a day – BUT we swear these stats are underestimating. 

The quality of your connections with others is drastically impacted by the mere presence of a mobile phone. 

The article reports that, “Conversations where smartphones were present reported lower levels of empathic concern compared to those in the absence of a smartphone on the table.

“Other researchers have found lower levels of perceived relationship quality, partner trust, and perceived empathy in the presence of mobile phones.”

This speaks to that feeling of belittlement when a friend barely looks from their phone when you tell them something that makes you feel vulnerable.

With this in mind, don’t feel like you’re overreacting when this makes you feel bad because it’s totally valid that if feel your wellbeing is being compromised.

The study also found that phubbing is detrimental to our satisfaction within relationships and that phones decrease the quality of our “interpersonal interactions,” and the impact of “face-to-face” conversations is fading away.

Basically, our phone addictions are ruining our ability to connect. Despite everyone saying we’re more connected in this digital age, we are experiencing diluted interactions… go figure. 

We are just cute phone addicts. (Credit: Getty)

How did phubbing become a thing? 

Hey, not to call you out or anything, but you know your internet addiction? (DW, we’re with ya) It may be fuelling your phone addiction, and as a result, you phub. 

Researchers from the phubbing study have discerned that bad smartphone use can be linked to “withdrawal, intolerance, compulsive behaviour and functional impairment.”

Then all of this murky stuff can be related to your fear of missing out, aka FOMO.  

We just can’t seem to look away from all the information, from incoming texts to breaking news to Instagram feeds and emails.  

We are like fiends for the 411.

Why is phubbing so accepted?

According to Computers in Human Behaviour, the reason phubbing hasn’t become a shameful thing to do to another person is something to do with the term “reciprocity.”

“Reciprocity occurs when someone returns a social action that has positive consequences for another or retaliates with an action, resulting in negative consequences,” reveals the study.

Because we tend to mirror another person by going on our phone when they are, it causes unintentional repeat behaviour, making it harder to perceive the act as unacceptable or acceptable.

Wow! Some people really like to phub. (Credit: Getty)

Next time you’re at dinner and your friend is texting her other friend, don’t be afraid to wave to get her attention. Hell, if you’re comfortable enough with each other, you can even call her out: “Ummm hello, please stop phubbing me.”

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