Sorry for Phubbing


Untitled by Leon Fishman, on Flickr

I learned a new word the other day. It really brought home to me some anti-social behaviours I’ve been exhibiting lately, and I want to apologise in public to all who have been affected by them, especially my family.

So, the neologism is phubbing. It was apparently invented by an Australian advertising firm to describe the act of snubbing the people who are physically in your presence in favour of the ghostly ones inside your phone. They started a hilarious site against phubbing, apparently as part of an elaborate ad campaign for a dictionary, but amusing nonetheless.

So here goes. My name is Hadass, and I am an inveterate phubber. I freely confess that I am addicted to that “cold, rectangular thing with the pretty lights”. Sometimes the use is justified, such as when somebody asks me to look something up, but more often, it isn’t. Shame on me.

My kids have had a “no toys at the table” rule since they were little. The other day, they applied it to me. Oh, the pain.

Sometimes I have work I need to do, and things I need to look up or deal with. This is true, but the key word here is “sometimes”. Working from home as I do, it’s important to set boundaries for my little pocket taskmaster. I don’t need to be always on and always available. I’m already offline for 26 hours every week – I have no problem turning all of the electronics off for Shabbat. I need to find a way to extend that courtesy to my family and friends at other times, while fulfilling my online obligations as well.

I need to set times that I am working, and other times when I am available to the real, breathing humans around me, with full attention. They will not be there forever. I don’t want to look up one day and realise that they’ve gone off and I didn’t even notice, or enjoy the time I had with them.

So I hereby declare, for all to see: I will phub no more. When I am with real humans, I will give them my attention. I may occasionally need to interact with another real human via the phone, but I will not go wandering off into cyberland.

How about you, are you ready to ditch the phubbing and come back to real life?



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4 Responses to “Sorry for Phubbing”

  1. Aharon Eviatar Says:

    I am glad to see that the no toys at the table rule has passed down to the next generation. I once walked out of a general’s office after he took a few calls while he was supposed to be listening to me. His secretary chased me out the door but I refused to return. I usually say I will get back to you and continue with the real person unless the call is from you. Then I apologize to the present person because there are priorities. Love, Daddy

  2. Peter Wright Says:

    It may be one advantage of being a baby boomer that I spent my teenage and early adult years free of any addiction to communication devices.

    Although I did get a Blackberry a few years ago because I spent some time away my office, I hardly used it.

    I spent more time deleting emails that I had already read or would read on my computer, than anything else.

    When my latest Blackberry – thanks to a free upgrade – died, I resurrected my older 2G model and just use it as a phone.

    I have never sent a text message, have disabled this feature and manage quite well with email on my desktop computer and using phones for talking.

    My reasoning is that if someone wants to reach me, email or phone are good enough.
    Peter Wright recently posted…Why following your passion might not lead to success.My Profile

  3. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Heh. I was also raised without cellphones (in fact, we didn’t even get a landline until I was in my early teens, and my mother wouldn’t let me use it because each call was so expensive). But I have teens, so I text and all that. I even have Snapchat, G-d help me. I just need to make sure it has its place and no more.

  4. counterentropy Says:

    Facebook is a gateway drug :-).

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