Promoting Healthy Relationships: Starting with the One We have with Our Cell Phones: Are you a *Phubber*?

Everyday, we are all faced with choices about how we interact with other people and the world around us. I’ve always been curious about how people engage with each other. For as long as I can remember I’ve been an observer of relationships. And, more recently, I’ve often wondered about the impact of technology on our relationships with each other.

I would imagine that we’ve all noticed that cell phone use impacts how we connect (or don’t) with each other. And, for this article (and breakfast presentation), I thought it would be interesting to explore a recently identified and named (2012) behaviour called  *Phubbing*.

You might be wondering, “What is *Phubbing*?” *Phubbing* is defined as the act of snubbing someone with a cell phone.

My only goal in writing this article is to bring our awareness to *PHUBBING* and it’s impact.

“It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness…” ~Meredith David and James Roberts from their study, Phubbed and Alone.

The Impact of *Phubbing*:

“A set of studies actually showed that just having a phone out and present during a conversation — say, on the table between you — interferes with your sense of connection to the other person, the feelings of closeness experienced, and the quality of the conversation.”

Increasing our *Phubbing* Awareness involves these three main areas of focus:

So, are you a *Phubber*?

How would you answer these questions?

“Phubbing is an impulse. And this is the good news. We can learn to control our impulses.” Starting with developing our own awareness of when we feel this impulse. The impulse to answer, check, look up information. Then we might ask ourselves, how will going with this impulse impact me and those around me?

Ways to Decrease or Stop *Phubbing*:

What to do if you are *Phubbed*:

It is really important to remember that we are all still learning how to be in healthy relationship to our cell phones (cell phone use). And that nobody means to be a *Phubber*. If we can be non-judgemental and offer kind and gentle encouragement, then most people will choose to change their behaviour.

So, here’s the challenge to all of us... “The next time you’re with another person, and you feel tempted to pull out your phone — stop. Put it away. Look them in the eyes, and listen to what they have to say. Do it for them, do it for yourself, and do it to make the world a better place.”

Submitted by Amy Greenleaf Brassert MSW RSW.

Amy is a Relationship Therapist with over 25 years of clinical experience. She describes herself as a "Relationship Re-combobulator". Amy believes her role is to help people "re-assemble" their relationships in new, creative and innovative ways that support health and growth. She works with individuals and with couples, business partners and any two people who want to change or grow their relationship. Amy believes that strong relationships take care and attunement. For more information or inquiries please visit her website


Seppala, Emma M., Ph.D Phubbing—The #1 Phone Habit to Drop For Better Relationships
D'Souza, Joy 'Phubbing’ Is Destroying Your Relationships: Sometimes even before they begin.
Ducharme, Jamie ‘Phubbing’ Is Hurting Your Relationships. Here’s What It Is.