Day 14 is all about phubbing.
What is phubbing exactly? Phubbing is another way to say “phone snubbing.” Phubbing is using your phone when you are with other people, and using it when you don’t need to. Examples of phubbing are leaving your phone on the table during a meal, checking your phone in the middle of a conversation, and texting while you’re at a party.
I’m getting better at not doing the first two as much as I used to, but could still use practice. The last one I believed I did because of feeling social anxiety in situations where you don’t know a lot of (if any) people. Reading more into why we use our phones, I’m starting to wonder if my phone is actually part of what made my social anxiety stronger.
Many of us do these types of things with our phones because it’s considered a social norm now. It used to be (and still can be) viewed as rude to answer a phone call in front of someone you’re spending time with, but so many of us started doing that, and it became normal to be overly active on our cellphones.
Mini Goal: Try not to phub until after Day 30 of this program.
Start off with trying to keep your phone away at the dinner table when you’re home or out at a restaurant. If you’re used to being on your phone or having it out, it’s going to be a struggle. But I know that you are capable of overcoming this technology that we have grown to fall “too in love with.”
Phubbing Rule of Thumb
Okay to pull out phone: If the involved parties agree that the phone is adding to the interaction. For example, showing a friend your vacation photos.
Not okay to pull out phone: If you are using your phone to distance yourself from the interaction you are supposedly having. For example, you’re bored with the conversation, so you start texting someone else.
What about other people’s phones?
This is tricky because you might be putting your phone away, but it doesn’t mean everyone else is going to. It’s interesting the less you use your phone, the more you notice how many times other people put theirs out.
Everyone has a right to choose what they do with their phones and how much time they spend on them.
One thing you can try is when you have guests over at your house, consider asking them to leave their phones in a basket by the door. It’s a weird concept for many to want to participate or try to understand, but if everyone can put their phones to the side for a few hours one night and see how much fun they had, it might be the start of everyone using their phones less when they spend time together.
*Christmas Eve and Christmas are coming up. Try not to be on your phone, and pay attention to how many times family members retreat to their phones.
Another concept to try out is asking whoever you’re with if it’s okay if you go on your phone. This is another thing that will sound weird to the average person, but this will show whoever you’re with that you are trying not to be rude and engaged in the current moment.
Me: Permission to use phone?
Friend: Permission granted.
It could be a fun little game with friends.
Another funny game is taking a picture of your friend on their phone, and texting them the picture with the caption, “I miss you.”
If you are a parent, boss, or teacher
It’s easier to deal with other’s using their phones because you are the one in charge. No-phone zones can help diminish phone usage, and rules are important to stand by so that others can develop healthy interpersonal relationships, complete a designated task, and/or learn the material in front of them.
From personal experience of being a boss, I witnessed and was guilty myself of telling others they couldn’t use their phones, but bosses and myself would be on our phones. The company would make us message sales numbers, but it completely defeated the purpose of the phone rule and I think it shows associates this message: I am allowed to enforce rules and break them too.
If you’re a kid and your parents phub you
In a respectful way, help them acknowledge their smartphone addictions (call them out). You could say, “Please stop phubbing me” or take an aggressive approach and say, “I hope you know that every minute you spend on your phone while we’re together is a minute that I’ll be spending in therapy.” I think the first one should suffice.
I had an associate call me out and maybe their approach was a little on the aggressive side, they were right. Everyone should be engaged in what is in front of them, and anyone is capable of being sucked in by their cellphone.
How to respond to phone calls and texts when you’re with other people
The first step is to consider not responding. I always tell myself, “If it’s a message on social media or a text message, it’s most likely not an emergency.” When the individual is calling you multiple times or leaves a voicemail that says it’s an emergency, those are exceptions I take into consideration.
The majority of the time, it’s not important. But it’s also a good feeling to receive messages, and we like responding back depending on who messages us. Try to enjoy your time with who you’re with, and you can get back to whoever is messaging you later. If you’re spending time with someone that you always want to escape to your phone from them, maybe you should spend your time differently.
If you decide that you are going to take a call or engage in a conversation by text while you’re around other people, consider leaving the room, even if you’re home. It’s less rude and it’s annoying to do, which might make you want to check your phone less.
How to be reached in an emergency
There will be times when there is an emergency , and no one wants to miss that type of call, especially when you have kids.
One thing to try so that you can still receive emergency messages while staying off of your phone is to adjust your “Do Not Disturb” settings. You can allow calls from a select group of contacts and create a group for them so that you can easily choose everyone at the same time.
There is also a feature with Do Not Disturb that will override its function if you get another call from the same person within 3 minutes, which is something a person who had an emergency would typically do if they needed to reach you.
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