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“Phubbing” is the name given to a person’s habit of ignoring or belittling another person by focusing on their cell phone. Unfortunately, this can leave the accompanying person feeling unimportant, dismissed, and frustrated. Phubbing can have major effects on a person’s friendships, romantic relationships, and even their mental health. It’s important to recognize this behavior in yourself so you can work on dealing with it.

What is phubbing?
“Phubbing” describes the act of intentionally or unintentionally “ignoring the phone” another person. The term was first used by the McCann advertising agency in 2012, but has gained popularity with the increasing use of mobile phones. Phubbing can occur in any relationship, be it platonic, romantic, or familial.

Effects of phubbing
Phubbing can negatively affect many different aspects of a person’s life, particularly their relationships with other people. For example, think about the last time you were out with your friends. Did someone pull out their phone in the middle of the story while telling an important story? How did this behavior make you feel?

“Phubber” may not be fully aware of this habit, but the effects of his behavior can still be detrimental. While phubbing can cause tension in relationships, it can also result in increased stress, low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness for the person who is “phubbed”.

Phubbing and relationships
The type of relationship in which phubbing occurred will likely play an important role in determining the lasting effects of this behavior. For example, phubbing the partner on a date may be seen as more offensive than doing the same to the sibling at a family dinner. If friends are constantly applying this behavior to each other; this could be a sign that they are not interested in the friendship or that they are actually a fake friend. It’s also not uncommon for one partner in a relationship to use their phone to silence the other during an argument.

The effects of phubbing on relationships can include:

• The “Phubbed” person feels excluded: A person may begin to feel excluded if they witness their friend constantly laughing or giggling at their phone during a conversation. This gives the impression that phubber doesn’t care about their speech.

• Causes Frustration: Having to start and stop a conversation just because someone is constantly on their phone is frustrating and frustrating. This can create a separation between two people.

• May lead to hostility:If someone constantly feels ignored while talking to or hanging out with the phubber, it may cause feelings of hostility towards the phubber.

• Decreases relationship satisfaction: When a person is neglected by a phubber; this can affect the level of satisfaction with the relationship, whether friendly or romantic.

• Affects the ability to connect with others: Eye contact is important when interacting with each other. Because it allows people to establish a mutual bond with each other. Phubbing spoils this by implying that he has no interest in establishing that bond.

Phubbing and mental health
Constant phubbing can negatively affect a person’s mental health by making them feel invalid in their relationship. Being around a phubber can lower a person’s self-esteem, which can contribute to increased stress and anxiety. Victims can turn to their phones to compensate for the phubber’s behavior. Therefore, exposure to phubbing can unintentionally reinforce the cycle of inattention and avoidance.

Effects of phubbing on a person’s mental health:

• Increased sense of loneliness:Constant phubbing can increase feelings of loneliness as a person feels they are not valued in their relationship.

• Increased stress level:Constantly struggling to gain another person’s attention can increase cortisol levels, thereby raising stress levels.

• Low self-esteem:Being a victim of phubbing can lower a person’s self-esteem because they begin to feel uninterested.

How do you know if you’re a “phubber”?
Some may immediately notice phubbing behaviors in themselves; while others may deny it or be completely unaware of it. If you often turn to your phone during conversations, you may be a phubber.

Here are the signs that you are a phubber:

• You surf social media right after you sit down to dinner with a friend.
• You think of constantly checking your phone while someone else is talking.
• You constantly take out your phone in social media.
• You cannot complete a conversation without checking your phone.
• When you are with others, you pick up every phone that rings.
• You constantly post photos of food or drinks at social events (You spend all your event time on this).

How can you stop your own phubbing behavior in relationships?
Understanding your phubbing behavior is the first step in the change process. This habit is not always your fault because we are constantly surrounded by technology and it can sometimes seem impossible to escape it. Still, it’s important to prevent it from affecting your life.

Here are some ways to stop phubbing in your relationships:

• Taking a break from social media: If you want to curb your phubbing behaviors, it may be helpful to take a break from social media. This can divert your attention from being constantly on the phone to maintaining relationships. However, you don’t need to delete social media completely; Taking breaks at daily or weekly intervals can be a good starting point.

• Leave your phone behind: It may be helpful to choose to leave your phone unreachable during social events. To be fair, you can demand the same from your spouse. If you are worried about being unreachable by family, children or employers, you can put your phone in a bag and pocket.

• Turn your phone over: Sometimes just turning your phone over on the table can help you stop phubbing. This may lessen your urge to look at your phone; It shows that you are interested in the conversation.

• Track your usage: There are many applications that allow you to track your daily or weekly phone usage. So you get a data-backed report of how long you’ve actually been on your phone, which can be an eye-opener for some people. So you can take steps to reduce your phone usage and try to be more present.

• Filter your searches: If your phone is ringing, you don’t have to pick it up right away. You can avoid phubbing someone by simply answering a call that needs your immediate attention. If you need to open the call, let the other person know before doing so.

Ways to deal with phubbing in a relationship

Being exposed to phubbing can be extremely frustrating. If you are the occasional victim of phubbing, it may be easier to overlook it in a friend or partner – everyone can be a phubber from time to time. However, if this is a frequent occurrence in your relationships, there are ways to deal with it.

Here are some ways to deal with phubbing in your relationships:

• Uncover the behavior: Depending on the nature of your relationship, it can be helpful to be direct about phubbing. Sometimes people may be unintentionally phubbing and open to manipulation when their behavior is brought to attention. When exposing someone’s phubbing behavior it is important to do this gently. Begin by stating this gently by saying, “You seem distracted.”

• Be understanding: Try to be understanding and empathetic when dealing with phubbing in relationships. A phubber doesn’t usually act like that to be rude and will be open to hearing your feelings. If you are dating or are with someone with social anxiety disorder, they may phubbing frequently in a group setting. In that case, put yourself in their shoes instead of getting upset. Then, you can discuss these behaviors while the two of you are alone.

• Set phone-free zones: Excessive use of social media can negatively impact relationships, especially if it contributes to discussions or affects quality time spent together. Identifying “phone-free zones” like the dinner table or bedroom can help highlight the importance of your relationship.

• Stop talking and wait: If your partner is staring at their phone while you’re in the middle of a conversation, just stop talking. This can redirect their attention to you and then remind them of their behavior.

• If the phubbing gets too bad, leave the room: After being overtly ignored or trying to divert someone’s attention to yourself, sometimes it’s best to distance yourself from the situation. That way, you can distance yourself, reconsider the situation, and calmly speak up to lessen the phubber’s behavior.

Situations where therapy can help

Since there is a close relationship between social media and mental health, it can be helpful to pay attention to how you feel when using online platforms and how much it increases your phone usage. If it seems like you or a loved one can’t put down the phone, it may be a sign that you need therapy for phone or social media addiction.

If you are considering therapy, there are many options available to you. Online therapy options can be especially helpful if you have a busy schedule or live in an area where you lack mental health resources. Also, couple or marriage counseling can help you develop and improve your communication skills.

According to studies, if phubbing is not handled properly; it can create feelings of anger and frustration, especially if this is about someone who isn’t open to behavior change. Taking steps to address the problem is important, but the other person needs to be open to feedback and willing to change their behavior. It is never acceptable to use it as a way to pass off, ignore, or pretend to be a stonewall someone who is engaging in phubbing. If this happens often in a romantic relationship, it’s important to encourage your partner to go to therapy or attend sessions together to combat the behavior.

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