Phubbing is a BIG DEAL

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

So, one of the new words being bantered about these days is phubbing. For those not up on the latest lingo (I hadn’t heard of this word until a few weeks ago), it means phone snubbing. As in, “I was in the middle of a conversation with a coworker and they picked up their phone and starting checking it.” It can apply to any social situation.
If you’re in the midst of conversation, it’s not OK to “check out” for a few moments while you “check in” with your phone. It’s one thing to say to someone, “please excuse me if my phone goes off, but my child hasn’t been feeling well and the school might call/text/email me to pick her up,” and quite another to be at a meeting, eating dinner with, talking with, or collaboratively working with someone and having them – in the middle of the interaction – simply look down as if it’s no big deal. IT IS A BIG DEAL in more ways than you might imagine.
A recent study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that phubbing leads to unhappy and dissatisfied employees, co-workers, friends and spouses. It’s detrimental to our relationships; and the world is still all about relationships. We love to multi-task, and we all think we’re good at it but, the truth of the matter is (as this study shows), when you’re interacting with someone and you’re also checking your phone, you are signaling in a very direct way that you aren’t interested in the person you’re interacting with or what they’re saying; you just don’t care enough to give them your full attention. So the simple cure for the phubbing epidemic is to put the people in your life first (the ones that are directly in front of you) and the phone in your life second. Makes sense to me, and now when someone says they can do both things at once, there’s proof it doesn’t work!