Love is a most amazing thing. “Really? You’re going to talk about love?” (Raised eyebrows) Well…I won’t go into the details, but I will say that there is a new threat to love!
L- is for the way you look at me. O- is for the only one I see. V- is very, very…oh, I just got a comment on my Facebook post! Oh, and Herman went to Paris. Oh, and my chubby cubby buddy from kindergarten just got pulled over by the cops! And so continues the never-ending newsfeed. What was the last part of the song, again?
I read an article published by CNN titled ‘Is phubbing ruining your relationship?’ For those of you unaware, ‘phubbing’ is a term used for ‘phone-snubbing,’ or the act of taking out one’s smartphone while spending time or in conversation with someone else. The article goes into how phubbing can actually damage your romantic relationship because the device is stealing attention away from your significant other. We may act like it’s not a big deal, but this act is sending a subconscious message to the ‘phubbed’ person that they are unimportant, or that what they’re saying is not worth the attention of their ‘listener.’
The author of this article, James A. Roberts, Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, has done excessive research on smartphone use. He discusses how smartphones are real “relationship downers.” He says that the device is a “source of conflict” that “leads to fights.” Roberts concludes, “We probably feel a little less important and the relationship feels a little less secure [when smartphones come out].”
I’m probably one of the lucky few who does not have to encounter this issue (thanks, Jules!), but I do see this very often among many couples. I will witness couples on their phones during a whole dinner out or while walking together hand-in-hand (one hand on the phone of course). This is, I believe, an even more prevalent issue when in a group of friends. I understand the occasional emergency, or the checking in to figure out where so and so is at. “He was supposed to be here thirty minutes ago!” But I have to say, it’s sad if your hanging out with someone and they would rather be spending their time scrolling through Facebook or surfing the web than interacting with you.
Society has very much adopted a reaction-base instead of an action-base. I would argue that most of us have good intentions of hanging out and catching up with our fellow compadres. We go in motivated to hear the latest and greatest and to learn about what’s happening in our good friend’s life. Then…BING (or buzz-buzz). We react. It’s as if our device is like, “WOAH! Hold the phone! (pun intended) You are not paying attention to me?! Hello!” (Takes out phone) “That’s more like it.” Forget about what your friend was saying. I propose an action-base where you make the conscious decision, the conscious action, to either leave your phone in the car, turn it off, or find the willpower not to check it so often. Many may argue that they can check their phones and listen at the same time. Nah…
This should be a very simple issue, but alas, it is somewhat complicated. We have established phubbing has a cultural norm, and yet it does impact the one who is phubbed. Though, speaking of a reaction-based culture, the phubbed must not get too upset about it, because hey, it’s a norm now. But what is being sacrificed in lieu of checking that Facebook notification or new Instagram photo? It may not seem like much, but it can potentially build overtime to a point where hanging out just means standing next to each other while on our phones.
What do you think? Are you upset when phubbed? Or do you just phub back? Do you think this is impacting both our friendships and romantic relationships? Comment below!