real life

Phubbing might be ruining your relationship.

Have you phubbed today? Are you phubbing right now?

Does your partner phub YOU?

Phubbing. It’s a new term, and it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you spell it with the ‘ph’, because ‘phubbing’ means phone-snubbing. Fubbing is something entirely different, and makes the context of this article a little more delicate (FUB. Finger-up-bum. Especially problematic when not welcome.)

Anyway… Phubbing.

Phone-snubbing has been a problem since smart phones became more interesting than people (joking… mostly). The term ‘phubbing’ was made popular by a group of Sydney uni students a few years ago, when they made a public campaign to stop people from phubbing their friends (again – NOT fubbing. Don’t fub your friends either).


phubbing cover
Don’t be a phubber. Source: iStock

And now, two professors have proved that phubbing can directly impact relationships. In fact, it can ruin them.

University professors James Robert and Meredith David polled over 150 people online who were in relationships. The participants were asked to rate the following questions with a number from 1 (never) to 5 (always).

1. During a typical mealtime that my partner and I spend together, my partner pulls out and checks his/her cell phone.

2. My partner places his or her cell phone where we can see it when we are together.

3. My partner keeps his or her cell phone in their hand when he or she is with me.

4. When my partner’s cell phone rings or beeps, he/she pulls it out even if we are in the middle of a conversation.

5. My partner glances at his/her cell phone when talking to me.

6. During the leisure time that my partner and I are able to spend together, my partner uses his/her cell phone.

7. My partner does not use his or her phone when we are talking.

8. My partner uses his or her cell phone when we are out together.

9. If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her cell phone.


Even Beyonce gets phubbed. Source: Instagram #phubbers

A few factors came into the results, including any anxiety-attachment levels in the relationship (i.e if one partner is particularly likely to get upset if ignored), and how the participants would rate their satisfaction in the relationship.

The verdict: Exactly what you think. Phubbing contributes to unhappiness in a relationship. The more a person is snubbed for a lump of metal, the more pissed off they get about it.

You may say ‘duh’. But you should also let it be a warning.

If you regularly find yourself (or your partner) reaching to answer a text message in the middle of a human conversation, stop and think. Just because you have a mobile phone, does not mean you are obliged to be immediately contactable at all hours. If you don’t look up from your iScrabble game once in a while, you might be spelling A-L-O-N-E.


Think twice before you phub. And while we’re at it, before you fub too.

phubbing cover 2
Put it down. Source: iStock

Are you a phubber?