Stop Phubbing!



This morning I read about a new word: phubbing.

Phubbing is the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

Alex Haigh, a 23-year-old Melbourne resident, presumably a victim of phubbing, recently started a campaign in an effort to end this offensive behavior. His hope is to once again turn social gatherings into occasions that focus on the people who are there rather than those who aren’t. Now that is a great thought but a sure challenge in this gadget world.

It’s a phenomena that has gripped the world. Including me. Although much of my time on the phone is related to what I consider “important work”, it cannot and should not be something that hinders genuine communication.

The next gen is particularly glued to it. They sit with us and simultaneously chat on the small screen. Amid a serious conversation they suddenly burst out laughing. ‘I just read a very funny tweet.’ That’s considered a very justified answer.

Smart phones and social media are good, but in moderation. As someone who has been involved in counselling, communication training, and public speaking, I see the need for us to get back to one of the most important aspects of communication: eye contact.

When we look into the eyes it sends a clear message: I am listening to you. Right now, you’re all that matters.

It communicates respect. It encourages response. It works as a catalyst to build relationships. It helps engage with the heart. It helps the listener receive the “correct” message.

So dear fellow phubber, let’s stop phubbing and let’s get back to some “eye contact” conversations.

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