- James Roberts: Is it any wonder that "phubbing," or "phone snubbing," became talk of the town?
- Our love affair with the smartphone is wreaking havoc on personal and workplace relationships
Phubbing is the practice of looking at your phone in a social situation instead of giving someone your full attention. In a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, my colleague Meredith E. David and I found that when a romantic partner phubs you, conflict arises and you are left with a reduced level of satisfaction with your most intimate relationship. This, in turn, reduces your overall life satisfaction and increases the likelihood that you would report being depressed.
Good communication is the cornerstone of any kind of relationship. We are a nation of distracted and cowardly communicators. We send a clear message to others that whatever is on our screens is more important than them. We hide behind our phones, unwilling to navigate the sometimes uncomfortable waters that come with face-to-face communication. We find mates and break up with these same people via our smartphones.
It's not just our romantic relationships that are suffering the effects of phubbing. We use a measure -- what we call the Partner Phubbing scale -- to rate "boss phubbing." This would show how one's supervisor phubbed him or her in their presence.
We've all been through it, right? Here are a couple of examples: "My boss glances at his/her cell phone when talking to me," or, "when my boss' cell phone rings or beeps, he/she pulls it out even if we are in the middle of a conversation."
The results of our survey of approximately 200 U.S. adults are both surprising and revelatory. Our love affair with the smartphone is securely ensconced at work and is wreaking havoc on workplace relationships and productivity.