Jargon Buster No. 5 – Phubbing

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

A campaign had recently been launched in Australia, to stop Phubbing. http://stopphubbing.com/


It does make me sad that there is a need for a campaign to remind people to be polite. Not acknowledging another person who is working to provide you a service it completely inexcusable and the height of arrogance. Spending time with friends and family staring at your phone and not at them is just rude. I highly doubt you will be talking to someone on your shiny smartphone about an awaiting kidney transplant whilst ordering a skinny latte. So put the phone down!!

I, Dear Reader, love my phone but treating others with dignity and respect is far more important, so next time you are out with friends or someone is providing you with a service, treat them as you would want to be treated remember to make eye contact and don’t forget say please and thank you.

Is it that urgent?

Today I flew to Brisbane, I was grateful for my iPhone to keep me entertained during the flight. But what really amazed me was the number of people who as soon as we landed reached for their phone.

What could be so urgent? Then I found myself doing it, announcing my arrival via text message to my friend who was picking me up. Why did I need to tell her? It wasn’t urgent. I spoke to her last night, we had agreed where we would meet and I knew she would be there. Yes my flight was 15 minutes late but she would know that thanks to the arrivals board in the airport.

Why has everything become so urgent? Why do we need to stay in touch all the time? Is it because we can rather than we have to?

Tonight I went to the theatre and came very close to strangling a man 3 seats down from me who turned his phone on during the show to read his email. What made it worse was it was only 10 minutes after the interval.


For the record this man was in his 60s and the over 20 teenage girls on a school trip to the theatre did not look at their phones once during the performance.

Surely if you are waiting for urgent news, a kidney transplant, a new grandchild or a signed contract from work, it can wait a few hours. The good news will be waiting for you when you check your phone.

I’m fascinated by my own need to feel connected. In an odd way I’m reassured that I’m not alone. Tonight after a wonderful theatre performance I watched and almost all of the people around me reached for their phones as soon as they could. Young and old alike, checked their phone before they had even left the theatre.

Why do we do it? Why do you do it? What is so urgent?

I would love to hear your thoughts about how quickly you reach for your phone after it has been turned off for a couple of hours.