Recent studies have shown that “phubbing” is becoming a hazardous trend for couples in relationships.
- “Phubbing” or “Phone Snubbing” is the practice of looking at a phone during social interactions and getting distracted during conversations.
- A recent May 2023 study from Nigde Omer Halisdemir University has documented the negative effects it has on relationships.
- A study of 347 females and 365 males found that “phubbing” was tied to significantly lower marital satisfaction between partners.
- The inability to put a phone down affects communication between romantic couples and harms relationships in the long term.
- A similar July 2022 study from the University of Münster in Germany found “phubbing” triggers “negative mood and feelings of ostracism,” harming both partners in the process.
Why It’s Important
Americans are addicted to their phones and computers. According to a recent Zippia study, the average American spends seven hours and four minutes per day staring at their screens, with three hours and 43 minutes being specifically spent on phones. This addiction has even created a trend of “Phone Separation Anxiety,” with 69% of Millennials reporting anxiety when they are separated from their phones.
As the Nigde Omer Halisdemir University study authors note, this addiction creates conflict between couples. It is becoming more common in a world where more people are glued to their electronic devices than ever before, and it is contributing to an epidemic of less intimate relationships and more conflict.
“Marital conflict mainly occurs when people are ignored by those they value, and this ignorance leads to lower relationship satisfaction and may impact personal well-being. People should be mindful about being present with their loved ones to show they care, and put their phone away,” says the study.
University of Oklahoma researchers found notable connections between “phubbing,” social anxiety, and depression. Individuals who struggle with in-person social interactions or prefer online interactions exhibit the faux pas more frequently.
As The Guardian argues, individuals who find themselves “phubbing” unintentionally may need to take needed action to limit when they access their phone and understand that certain social situations are not appropriate for playing on a phone. Author Paula Cocozza recommends not turning on a phone in the morning before a romantic partner awakes, avoiding checking phones during meals, avoiding using phones during active conversations, or using phones in sensitive social occasions or intimate moments.
“We first started talking about mobile phone etiquette in 2010, 2011, and the problems were nowhere near what we are getting today. We gave very basic guidance: ‘Put it away when you are meeting people,’ that sort of thing. [However,] getting out our phones has become such a compulsion that we are doing it unconsciously in inappropriate situations … We are now at a point where it is not manageable. I suppose, eventually, people won’t have the self-consciousness around it to even require etiquette advice,” says Debrett’s etiquette advisor Liz Wyse.