GRAND Magazine - January/February 2018 - 11
How smartphones dilute our relationships
BY BOB AND JUDITH WRIGHT
spend time with our kids and grandkids. We
ver the holidays, did your grandkids sit
want to experience the full and vibrant joy from
around the room, eyes fixed on their
engaging in our life and being present. Yet, so
phones, barely interacting with family
many of us tune out and zone out. Many of us
allow our phones to come between us, literally
When you're in meetings or even having a
and figuratively. When it happens to us, many of
meal with friends, do you or others place phones
us stay silent (and hold in our anger).
on the table or within visible reach for monitoring, as though more important messages could
call us away at any moment? Do your tablemates
pick up their phone and start scrolling if lunch
runs long or the meeting doesn't pique their
So, how do we deal with being phubbed? It feels
truly awful to be dismissed-and yet, many of us
Worse yet, they answer the phone or send a
ignore it or move forward as though this "new norm"
text, ignoring you. You've just been "phubbed."
is simply status quo. So, what SHOULD we do?
Have you been phubbed by your friends,
Dictionary.com provided this sample usage:
children and grandchildren? Are you phubbing
"Are you phubbing me?"
them? Chances are, we've all phubbed or been
Well, it's actually just that simple. Ask the quesphubbed. (Except, of course for those who've
tion. Rather than holding back, ignoring the issue
never crossed into the portable phone age.)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld discusses the phone-on-the-table phenomenon in his standup: "One
or shooting out a sarcastic passive-aggressive
Wondering what on Earth "phubbing" means?
thing I've noticed about the cell phone is we seem to have much less interest in the people
comment, sometimes the most effective route is
that are with us. Their value seems to be dropping quite dramatically. Some people want to
Dictionary.com defines phubbing as a verb for
the most direct. If we want to strengthen our relalet you know that. Don't you have a friend, where every time you go out they take their phone
ignoring a person or one's surroundings when in a
out and put it on the table? What is that message? You're not the only option that I have?!"
tionships, engagement is the route to take.
social situation by occupying one's self with a phone
When we're phubbed, it hurts our feelings. In fact,
or other mobile device. A second use of the verb is
research has shown that even the mere presence of
A Baylor University study showed that out of 140 people surto ignore a person or one's surroundings in this way.
a phone sitting quietly on the table reduces intimacy and attention,
veyed, half reported being phubbed by a significant other. Over
The word stems from "phone snub." Ouch.
diminishing the quality of the interaction. We may look forward to our
half of those phubbed reported the phubbing had led to fighting
As you read that definition, did you instantly recall at least
time with our kids and grandkids, only to feel disappointed when our
and dissatisfaction in their relationships.
a dozen incidents when you've been phubbed (or been the
time together is second fiddle to Candy Crush, Facebook or texting.
We all long for genuine human connection. We want to
How to Deal with Being
JANUARY FEBRUARY 2018
Continued on next page
GRAND Magazine - January/February 2018
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