‘Phubbing’ Is The Toxic Dating Trend That’s Killing Your Relationship

Ghosting. Breadcrumbing. And now…phubbing? Yep. Here’s everything you need to know about this toxic dating trend and how it could be hurting your relationship and love life.

So…What Is Phubbing Anyway?

Phubbing has been on the rise in the age of social media and smartphones. While phubbing can happen in any relationship, phubbing is particularly detrimental within romantic partnerships.

Phubbing, aka phone snubbing, is when someone favors using their cell phone over paying full attention to those they are with in person. While it may seem harmless given the ubiquitous nature of phones and technology, phubbing behavior actually has various negative consequences for mental health and relationships.

Signs They’re Phubbing You

There are various signs of your partner phubbing you including:

  • They immediately check every single phone notification as soon as they receive one. It’s almost as if they’re being held hostage by their Instagram notifications or text messages.
  • They reach for their phone whenever there is a lull in conversation or awkwardness. Rather than finding ways to change the subject or continue talking, your partner simply looks to their phone instead.
  • Their phone is basically an extra appendage at this point. They pretty much have it on their person at all times, including when using the restroom.
  • They’re clearly distracted by their phone, even when having an in-person conversation with you. Their eyes are never not shifting to their phone, almost waiting for it to light up so they can have an excuse to use it.
  • Their phone is always in their hand, ready to be used. Whether this is in bed, at the dinner table, while watching a movie, etc., their phone is glued to their hand.
  • They pretend to listen to you while they are clearly texting other people. And when it’s time for them to respond to what you’re saying, they give lackluster answers that show they were never really listening to you in the first place.

The Negative Impact Of Phubbing On Relationships

Research has shown a number of negative side effects of phubbing. For starters, a 2017 study showed that mutual phubbing can actually lower marital satisfaction and cause depression. Not only that, phubbing can sever emotional connectivity in relationships and lead to lower quality communication.

For the person being phubbed, there are also a number of negative consequences for their mental health including depression, feelings of rejection, and loneliness. Not to mention, the phubbed may also feel unimportant to their partner and eventually begin to distrust them.

To be clear, the person phubbing is also being hurt by their rude behavior. A 2018 study that sought to understand how phone usage impacted in-person activities and the enjoyment of those events. Unsurprisingly, participants in the study who exhibited phubbing behavior not only enjoyed their food less than their phone-free counterparts but also were less engaged in the socializing overall.

What To Do If You’re Being Phubbed

If you’re being phubbed, it is important to talk to your partner about how their behavior is making you feel and how it is damaging your relationship as whole.

Offer to help your partner kick the habit by mutually putting away the phones while you’re spending quality time together. Also, do your best to be patient. Breaking a bad habit can take time.

How To Stop Phubbing

Of course, there is a chance you are guilty of this behavior as well. If you realize your phone usage is getting in the way of your relationship and hurting your partner, there are steps you can take to develop a better relationship with your phone.

Setting boundaries about when you can use your phone, putting it on DND, or simply placing your phone out of reach when you’re with your partner are all great ways to be less interested in TikTok, and more in love with the person sitting next to you.