My Three Cents

How do you feel when a person you’re talking to is also carrying on a second conversation at the same time on a cell phone, via email or texting? Whether the setting is a meeting with numerous people or a onetoone situation, I’m sure you, like most people, don’t appreciate it. But the assessment of this situation goes a lot deeper.

Time Magazine recently reported on this modern-day phenomenon now known as “phubbing,” defining it as snubbing someone you’re talking to while also looking at one’s cell phone. The surprise, according to Time’s research, is that rather than just hurting your feelings, phubbing may be hurting your relationships with all of those who could potentially see and/or hear you. It can severely disrupt your present moment, in-person relationships.

Phubbing makes face-to-face interactions less meaningful, the magazine says. Research from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that even people who imagined they were being phubbed “while viewing a simulated conversation felt more negatively about the interaction than people who didn’t imagine phubbing.” Another study showed that texting during an inperson conversation, made the talk less satisfying for the people having the conversation, as compared to people who interacted without phones. (No kidding – obviously the “phubber,” involved in two conversations at once, must be missing much of what’s being said.)

Still another study showed phubbing has a mental health impact, threatening ”belongingness, self-esteem, control,” giving people a sense of being excluded or ostracized. And it applies to marital relationships as well, making your life partner on the phone appear to be prioritizing something else over you!

We, of course, recognize that the “person being snubbed is the one most hurt by phubbing.” But now we know that the phubber is not going to get away easy, and hopefully he or she now knows that too!

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