Don't Be a Phubber

I just learned a new word — phubbing. It's a combination of the words "phone" and "snubbing." I learned of the word while reading an article from the University of Georgia that came in my daily news brief. You can read the article HERE.

Phubbing is the act of snubbing someone during face-to-face interactions by using smartphones instead of paying attention to them. I was aware that people snub others in social situations while on their smartphones. I just didn't realize there was a word to describe it. You've likely been the victim of phubbing. Heck, chances are you have probably phubbed someone yourself!

Let me share an example of the most severe case of phubbing I have experinced. My supervisor and I were in a scheduled meeting with the co-owners of the company we worked for. We were asked to provide updates on current revenue and expenses and give an estimate of the following year's revenue and expenses. It was a 30-minute meeting. For 29 minutes, both of the co-owners were focused on their blackberries and phones. It's like we weren't even there. The other minute was taken up by an occasional quick question followed up by more phubbing. It sent a clear mesage to me and my supervisor — their time was more important than ours. Even though THEY had called the meeting, they chose to concentrate on their phones while missing the opportunity to learn about the status of THEIR company from two of their front-line workers. 

I was so upset after that meeting that I vowed to try hard NOT to do that to anyone else. Here are a few things I have learned over the years to avoid phubbing:

  • If I am in a meeting, I turn off my cell phone. If I set it to vibrate mode, I might get distracted and want to check the phone to see what it is. If it's off, I have nothing to distract me. This allows me to give my full attention to the person or people in the room.
  • If I'm at an trade show or industry event, I put my phone in vibrate mode. If I happen to stop by an exhibitor's booth or run in to a colleague, the cell phone ring won't distract us. I can always check voicemail or text messages after the fact.
  • If I'm having dinner or cocktails with friends or acquaintances, I leave my phone in my pocket — I never lay it on the table or bar. If I'm expecting a call, I excuse myself before I step away to take it.

Phubbing is disrespectful. We should do everything we can to avoid phubbing both at work and in our personal lives.

Step away from the phone! Trust me — it won't kill you. Don't let the value and benefits of face-to-face interactions pass you by as you stare at your screen!

If you have other tips on how to avoid phubbing, I'd like to hear them! You can email me by clicking HERE.

Thanks for reading!






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