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Are You “Phubbing” Me?

  June 02, 2017

By Gregory J. Skibinski, Executive Director, Agape Counseling Ltd.

Picture this: you are sitting at your dinner table and trying to have a conversation when the person you are talking to reaches over and picks up their phone just as you were talking to them. If you can relate to this experience, you have just been phubbed!

Phubbing has been defined as a fusion of the words “phone” and “snubbing.” Most of us know what it is liked to phubbed: trying to engage in a conversation with your partner, child, or a friend, only to realize that their attention has gone to their phone. You may also realize that you may be guilty of this yourself when you drift out of the conversation and reach for your phone only to be pulled into the quicksand of your Facebook feed.

It is estimated that the typical American checks his/her smartphone once every six and half minutes, or roughly 150 times each day. When you are phubbed, it adds to discontentment in your relationship with the other person.

How much do you phub
In a recent paper, published in Computers in Human Behavior, Baylor University business professors James Roberts and Meredith David conducted a number of questionnaires to see if phubbing was a real thing, and if so, does it lead to problems in relationships? The researchers sampled over 150 men and women who were in a relationship, asking them the following questions about their phubbing experiences on a rating of 1 = never and 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 they 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 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 cell phone.
And now, the results
If you are concerned about your answers, you’re definitely not alone. This study showed that 46.3 percent of respondents said their partners’ phubbed them, 22.6 reported that it caused issues in their relationship, and 36.6 percent reported that they felt depressed at least some of the time.

In the summary of their findings, Roberts and David concluded that even momentary cell phone distractions add up. If one partner is repeatedly distracted by his or her smartphone, chances are the other partner begins to feel less and less satisfied with the relationship.
We can blame technology all we want, but who holds it in the palm of their hand?

Gregory J. Skibinski LCPC,CADC,CSAT,CMAT, is the Executive Director of Agape Counseling, Ltd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact them at 309-663-2229. They are a group of Christian counselors, social workers, psychologists, and support staff committed to a therapeutic process which ministers to the whole person. Their Bloomington office is located at 211 N. Veterans Parkway (next to Krispy Kreme). They also have offices in Peoria and Morton. Visit them online at

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June 02, 2017


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