Phubbing: discover the problem that is destroying relationships

You can finally go out in peace with your boyfriend to a bar, a restaurant or a coffee shop. It’s time to catch up and forget about problems.

But, wait, don’t you leave your cell phone? So, you’re making your boy go through phubbing, a problem that is destroying relationships. Everyone can pass or phub with someone.

The problem is that, for those who want to detach themselves a little from the cell phone and have a real conversation, this situation is very boring – and can even be a reason for distrust in a stable relationship.

In this post, we will understand:

  • What is phubbing;
  • How to know if you are exaggerating in your cell phone use;
  • How to avoid phubbing with friends or the boy.

What is phubbing?

Created with the contraction of the words “phone” and “snubbing” (snub), phubbing is the act of being so, but so attached to the cell phone that you don’t even realize that someone is by your side.

Think of those times when you were reading a very interesting book that you never even saw the hour pass. People were passing by and you didn’t even notice. Phubbing is exactly that, but with the difference that you’re using a cell phone – and don’t stop looking at it even when you’re in a group of friends or with your boyfriend.

The term was coined by Alex Haigh, an advertising student at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2012. He was part of a campaign created for the Macquarie Dictionary and gained popularity in 2013. The big “problem” of phubbing is that it sticks together on cell phones is a socially acceptable habit.

If you are in the bank, in traffic or in some public place where you need to wait, it is clear that the cell phone is an excellent distraction.

In addition, it is a way to maintain professional contacts, check your emails and resolve emergencies without much effort. For those who are shy , for example, the smartphone is also an excellent way to leave home, believe me?

There is nothing worse than feeling left out in one place. With the cell phone, you don’t have to worry about that. Just open WhatsApp or Facebook and you will be accompanied again. The problem is when that usage crosses the line.

How do I know if I’m overdoing the smartphone?

It’s easy to see when you’re overreacting on your cell phone – most people realize it without much effort. But in an increasingly connected world, when you realize that that look on your smartphone has gone from habit to addiction?


  • You are doing something, to take a quick look at your cell phone and, when you notice, you have been stuck on the screen for almost an hour;
  • You spend a lot of time looking at social media, while meeting friends or going out with your boyfriend;
  • She misses bedtime, laughing on social media and, consequently, wakes up very tired;
  • It is delaying jobs and missing deadlines due to constant glances;
  • Wake up and take a look at what you missed during the night;
  • He gets scolded by his friends because he doesn’t leave his cell phone;
  • You have argued a few (or several) times with your boyfriend because of addiction;
  • He ends up working more than he should, because he delays work with his cell phone;
  • He works harder than he should, because he keeps checking his e-mails;
  • He barely talks to his parents, boyfriend or people around him, because he’s always looking at his cell phone.

Did you identify with several of these items?

So, you’re phubbing your loved ones and, worse, damaging your life in general. Are we going to reverse this problem?

How do I eliminate phubbing from my routine?

Phubbing comes from the habit of looking at your phone constantly. When you realize it, the one given at breakfast becomes a habit of hours, made even when you are with your friends and partner.

So, what you need to do is change your habits. Although it may seem difficult, the brain needs to get used to a certain activity for it to become automatic.

While doing research for his book Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick , psychologist Jeremy Dean came to the conclusion that, on average, it took us 66 days to create one habit. But this can vary depending on the task and your affinity for it.

If you’re not into physical exercise, for example, it may take a while for your brain to see the gym as part of your daily life. But if you like to dance and decided to take this activity as a physical activity, in a few days it will become a habit.

So, if you are willing to have discipline and goodwill, here’s how to eliminate phubbing from your daily life:

Book or writing before bed

If you are the type to roll in bed before going to sleep, and your partner is already snoring, establish some habit to empty your mind and have a peaceful night’s sleep.

You can go over the day mentally or write down your day in a diary. In addition to improving your writing, your head will be more “empty”, since you managed to put all the mental chaos in order, on paper. Another great habit to drop the phone is reading. It doesn’t have to be something related to college or work.

Take the opportunity to read that story that you are very curious. If you prefer, choose light stories that will make your night happier.

Cell phone away from bed

If the habit of looking at the phone is almost irresistible, leave the device away from the bed. So, you’ll have to get up every time you want to take a peek at WhatsApp. This is a habit widely used by those who love to use the snooze mode of the alarm clock. You are one of those people?

There: it will kill problems with just one change.

Peaceful breakfast

Believe me: nothing much happened while you were sleeping.

If something urgent happens, the person will call you. So, you don’t need to wake up and check your messages and, especially, emails. Enjoy the first hour of the day for a coffee and a peaceful bath.

Enjoy the moment in peace. If you like, get into the habit of reading the newspaper or listening to the radio. Leave your cell phone to check while on the bus and leave emails for work hours.

Offline life

A fact that makes us always keep an eye on the cell phone is the habit of documenting absolutely everything in our routine.

For example: you saw something interesting on the street, take a photo / film, post it on Instagram stories and wait for a response. So far so good, but it doesn’t have to be everything, does it?

The same is true when you are in a group of friends. You decide to take a picture of the group as soon as everyone is together, but instead of saving your phone after registration, post the image and wait for likes and comments. This is very annoying, isn’t it?

The same thing happens when you are with your partner . On a trip to a restaurant, you take a very romantic photo, but instead of enjoying the moment, you don’t take your eye off your phone. So, that special time becomes just an illusion. You do not need to record all offline moments.

Often, in a super fun conversation, we forget to take a picture – believe me, it is not as necessary as it looks. But if the moment is special, and you want to keep it forever, leave it to take the photo at the end of the meeting and only post it when you’re at home.

In the other’s place

Have you ever thought about putting yourself in the phubbing victim’s shoes?

Think about the following situation: you and your boyfriend have not seen each other in weeks. When they finally meet, you’re crazy to kill the miss. But in the car , at the table and even in bed he just wants to know about his cell phone. Super unpleasant, isn’t it?

So that cliché phrase is the purest truth: don’t do with others, which you don’t want them to do with you. When you’re with important people in your life, leave your cell phone alone.

Ask for a license

It is not always possible to avoid using a cell phone. If you work with something that needs your attention all the time (medicine, health, law) or are a freelance worker, you know how important it is to stay offline.

So, if someone calls or sends an urgent message, excuse whoever is with you, respond and, if possible, say that you are busy at the moment and will return as soon as you can.

Show interest

The message you get when you’re doing phubbing is “what you’re saying doesn’t interest me”. The person on the other side cannot help but be offended. Therefore, more than being disconnected, show interest and affection for those who are with you at the moment.

This way, your company will be irresistible – and nobody will phubbing with you!


Did you see how it is possible to circumvent phubbing and have a healthy relationship? Of course, you don’t have to cut the smartphone of your life.

Moderation is essential in everything in life, isn’t it? Therefore, adopt this also when using the cell phone. Now, if your partner is the one doing phubbing, have a serious conversation with him and set limits on usage while you are together. Companionship, sincerity and dialogue – both on and offline – are essential for a healthy relationship. Remember this!

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