Phubbing: What “Phone Snubbing” is All About


By now, words like “selfie” have become ubiquitous in our tech immersed culture. As new devices are created, new and uniquely human behaviors emerge as we interact with these devices. What occurs next is the obligatory urge to invent a name for such phenomena. One of the latest trickle down words from our interconnect age is “Phubbing”, a term coined by Macquarie Dictionary to describe “Phone snubbing”.

Even if you’ve never heard or used this word, odds are, you’ve been a victim and a perpetrator of phubbing many times over. Check an email here, post a picture there, play a short game, open up your news feed, all while in the company and at the expense of a here and now relationship and it has happened. Not only are the ways to phub endless, but the discourtesy of choosing connection to our device over the present person goes on largely unchallenged, so much so that it begs the question, “is it really that bad?”


As you might notice, the word phubbing has an inherent negative connotation. After all, the term doesn’t imply the benefit of multitasking but rather the consequence of snubbing those real people in front of us. What price will we pay for phubbing? Long term, it’s hard to tell but it is clear that there will be some form of diminished connection to our here and now relationships. Exactly how much will we pay is yet to be seen but there is growing evidence that the sticker price for parent-child relationships is substantial and maybe even more so for marriage relationships.

So while we wait for the research to catch up to the trend, what are we to do? Actually, we have already begun the process of dealing with it by virtue of addressing it. We have named that sly and subtle habit that has operated motley outside of our awareness. Once we name something we have begun the first step of consciously deciding whether to phub or not to phub. Choose wisely!

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