El phubbing


To talk about phubbing, we must first put ourselves in context. We face familiar and modern challenges in the changing world of human relationships. With the evolution of new technological forms, we update certain relationship problems and adopt new vocabulary such as ghosting or cloaking. Despite the apparent ease of staying connected in this digital age, the quality of communication, essential in any relationship, is not determined by the number of channels available, but by the availability to care for and nurture it.

The advent of smartphones in the middle of the last decade marked a turning point in modern life and they are now present in all walks of life. Digital connectivity has become ubiquitous. Many people with cell phones regularly access platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Instagram in search of social interaction. This fact implies a constant evolution in the way we relate to each other.


The term phubbing comes from the combination of phone and snubbing and refers to the practice of paying more attention to the cell phone than to the people around us, especially in social situations such as meetings with friends, family, and dates. This behavior can make people feel belittled, generating the feeling that what they say is not important to whoever is engrossed in their device. This attitude diminishes closeness and trust in the relationship, as the person on the phone becomes disconnected from the conversation and may even stop responding when spoken to.

While cell phone use may seem like a way to connect with others through social networks, it can lead to disconnection from face-to-face relationships. Studies indicate that this practice can have negative consequences on both personal relationships and mental health.


Phubbing may be related to an addiction to the device or a lack of self-control. Our brain is designed to reward behaviors it perceives as rewarding by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasurable and relaxing sensations.

When we check our phones and receive notifications, these unexpected actions activate the reward system in our brain, releasing dopamine and generating a feeling of satisfaction. This instant gratification reinforces the behavior of constantly checking the phone, even in social situations where we should be paying attention to the people around us.

The Australian dictionary Macquaire launched a global campaign in 2012 to spread awareness of the term phubbing, which has become an increasingly common behavior in society. Research reveals that cell phone addiction is one of the main causes of this behavior, with significant psychological and social implications.

In shared moments, a simple notification on the phone can trigger an instant disconnect, leading one person to neglect the other. This behavior is a common source of conflict in relationships. Psychological professionals, and specialists in couple relationships, point out that this is a recurring complaint among their patients, who regret being ignored by their romantic partners due to their addiction to cell phones.


1. Set time limits for phone use

Dedicate specific periods of the day to check your phone and respond to messages or emails. Outside of these periods, keep your phone in silent mode or turn off notifications to minimize the temptation to check it constantly.

2. rioritizes face-to-face communication

When you are with friends, family, or loved ones, focus on being present in the moment and the conversation. Avoid the temptation to check your phone during these interactions and show respect and full attention to those around you.

3. Practice self-awareness

Recognize when you are using your phone excessively or in inappropriate situations, such as during meals or conversations. Stay in control of your device use and be aware of the impact it can have on your relationships and emotional well-being.

4. Be empathetic

Do you know how your phone use can affect those around you? Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and be aware of how your actions can influence their feelings and experiences.

5. Establish clear rules in your relationships

If there is someone around you who, when you share moments, keeps looking at their cell phone, tell them. Talk about your concerns about phubbing. You can agree on rules for the proper use of phones. Setting clear expectations can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts related to the use of technology.

6. Find alternatives to phone dependence

Find activities that allow you to connect with others and enjoy the present moment without relying on your phone. This could include creative activities, outdoors, or simply sharing a face-to-face conversation without digital distractions.