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Is “Phubbing” Ruining Your Dating Life? Here’s Why It Needs to Stop

phubbing on a date

Chumming. Ghosting. Mooning. If you thought you were up to date on all the latest dating vocabulary, think again. Meet, “phubbing” – the newest addition to the romantic lexicon.

The word phubbing may be new, but I’m willing to guess if you’ve dated at all in the past decade, you’re intimately familiar with the concept. A combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing,” phubbing is exactly that: snubbing your date by paying more attention to your phone. In fact, it may even be ruining your love life as we speak.

A recent study at Baylor University found that 46 percent of people in relationships have fallen victim to phubbing, and 22 percent from that group actually fight about it. In fact, from a sample of 143 individuals involved in romantic relationships, 70 percent responded that cell phones “sometimes,” “often,” “very often,” or “all the time” interfered in their interactions with their partners.

Other statistics are equally as grim: According to StopPhubbing.com, the average restaurant will see 36 cases of phubbing each dinner seating — which is the equivalent of spending 570 days alone, despite being with others. Yikes.

As the researchers at Baylor University pointed out,  “the presence and use of cellphones is ever-increasing, causing the boundaries that separate our work and other interests from our romantic relationships to become more and more blurred.”

True – smartphones have become a nearly unavoidable part of daily life, which is why I think we all need to be more careful about how and when we use them, especially when we’re out on a date or spending time with a partner.

I’m willing to bet that most of us have been phubbed (or been the phubber) at some time in our dating careers.

In my experience, phubbing increases once there’s a certain level of comfort between myself and my date. Everyone is typically on the best behavior for the first few dates until their phone etiquette slips – like when you’re in the middle of telling your date about “that time you almost died in a shark attack in South Africa” and you notice that they’ve been simultaneously texting and playing Candy Crush the entire time. Alternatively, you’re trying to have a super serious conversation with your date (i.e. that the shark attack has put everything in focus for you and you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level) and you can only seem to get a few sentences in before they have to take a call or answer a text from their Aunt Gladys. Simply put, phubbing is a total bummer and here’s why it needs to stop.

  1. It distracts you from the task at hand: getting to know the person you’re on a date with. A date is about getting to know the other person. How are you going to do that if you’re attending to the needs of everyone in your contact list? If you can’t put your phone down for an hour or two, you shouldn’t be on the date.
  1. It’s rude. Some people think that just because smartphones can be answered whenever and wherever, they should be. But nothing could be further from the truth. You wouldn’t invite someone to your house and then spend the whole time on your landline, so what makes it OK to text your friend Becky while you’re out on a date with someone else? It’s rude, it’s inconsiderate and it makes the other person feel crappy. Put your phone away.
  1. Phubbing is actually harmful to relationships. As the researchers from Baylor University point out in their study, “Pphubbing (phubbing when you’re with a partner) creates conflict over such use of one’s cell phone, which in turn decreases relationship satisfaction, and ultimately personal well-being through decreased life satisfaction and increased depression.”

So, what should you do if you feel like you’re being phubbed? Speak up. Be honest with your date about how you feel. The only way we’re going to change things for the better is by refusing to accept phubbing as a normal part of modern dating.




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