Have you ever been phubbed?

Are you familiar with the term ‘ phubbed ‘ or  ‘phubbing’?

Picture this: you are talking animatedly to your friend. After you finish the entire story, your friend asks you to repeat yourself just because he or she was busy looking at the phone. Well, you have just been phubbed!

Yes, phubbing refers to the practice of ignoring someone in order to pay attention to your phone. And in this age of smartphones, we are practically phubbing each other all the time aren’t we?

So how was this unique word coined? Back in 2012, a group of language and marketing experts got together at the Sydney University thanks to an initiative undertaken by leading advertising agency McCann and dictionary publisher Macquarie. The purpose of the meet: to coin a term for this behaviour that is so common these days yet exclusive to the 21st century.

Photo credit: www.thequint.com

The word was eventually a brainchild of David Hustle, a writer and crossword-puzzle constructor, who combined the words ‘phone’ and ‘snubbing’ to come up with the term. The entire process was shot on camera and made into a film titled ‘A Word Is Born’, which also doubled up as an ad for the dictionary.

Phubbing became more popular after the campaign ‘Stop Phubbing’ was launched by Macquarie Dictionary as a part of its PR campaign. Today, phubbing a known term among all and that is both a good and a bad thing. Good because we finally have a term for the addictive habit but bad because it is posing a major threat to relationships worldwide. Let’s take a look at what some of the studies and surveys have revealed about phubbing.

  1. In a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center in the US in November 2016, 60 per cent of people in a relationship said that they are not very satisfied. And one of the main culprits for this is the smartphone.
  2. A study conducted by Baylor University revealed that subjects whose partner ignoring them in favor of a phone reported less satisfaction with their relationship and ultimately more depression.
  3. Mobile app developer Delvv as part of its Digital Habits Survey 2016 found that more than 29 per cent of Americans would rather give up sex for three months than give up their smartphone for one week.
  4. As part of a study conducted for the book ‘Computers in Human Behavior’, it was revealed that those who phubbed others were most likely get phubbed themselves.
Photo credit: www.playnation.de

So what do you do when you get phubbed? Well, either you could wait patiently for your friend to finish or be direct about it. One of the best ways out is to set rules. For instance, no phones during meals, dates and dinners.

Another way out would be to tell phubbers these disturbing statistics (courtesy www.stopphubbing.com) related to their ‘bad habit’.

  1. If phubbing were a plague, it would decimate six Chinas.
  2. 97 per cent of people claim that food tasted worse when they were a victim of phubbing.
  3. 87 per cent teens would rather communicate via text than face to face.
  4. A restaurant sees 36 cases of phubbing on an average per dinner session.

Some food for thought isn’t it? So, do you think it is time to cut down your cell phone usage and live in the real world instead of a virtual one?



  1. Excellent article…fortunately I am not a smartphone addict…though I do pretend to…when my wife gets into a verbal barrage…SHIV

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