2 weeks ago, many of you who are social media experts may found the Instagram page of social media queen, Kendall Jenner, was gone. When everyone was so confused why her Instagram page was shown as an error page, Jenner explained why on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“I just wanted to detox. I felt like I just wanted a break from social media… I definitely have close friends, and even some family members, who are so connected to their phone and can’t get off of it.”
Recalling a vacation she had with Kylie Jenner, she said “I was just zoning out, taking it all in. And Kylie wouldn’t put her phone down. I’m like, that’s so crazy to me that you are not experiencing this.”
The case that Jenner has encountered is “phubbing”. As someone snubs you because of their smart phones, you are phubbed. Labeled as “the end of civilization” by experts on stopphubbing.com, phubbing is seen as devastating as massive crisis, such as, natural disasters, wars and massacres, and having Donald Trump for making America great again.
Phubbing has ruined our relationships with others without us even noticing. It’s ironic that my Chinese friends around me always hold the grudge that making new friends while studying abroad is tough. However, without seeing them making any effort in valuing the time of hanging out with friends here in America, I am thrilled to see how addicted and dependent they are toward smart phones. WeChatting with friends and family in China can wait, but the face-to-face time we spend with meeting friends here can’t. So, put your smart phones down ladies and gentlemen. How can we stop being phubbed or phubbing before our life is damaged by it?
When you are PHUBBED…
Stop & Wait. Stop what you are talking about and wait for phubbers to finish whatever they are doing on cell phones. If they feel the pause but are still busy with their phones by saying “I’m listening, keep on”, you can just reply politely and say that you are ok with waiting. In most cases, people will feel your existence and put their phones away.
Be direct about your feelings. You are always free to express your feelings about being snubbed and cared less about to your partners and friends. Urge them to put their phones away when you want to have quality time together in a gentle but serious tone. Many people really don’t have the sense that they are phubbing people around them, reminding, warning or texting them is indeed a way to show that you don’t want them to miss the relationship.
Lead for change. If your partner seems to phub you endlessly, never be afraid to initiate some meeting rules and start applying them persistently. For example, you can ask your friends to stack all of your phones together, and whoever touches his/her phones first will pay for the bills of the date, meal or coffee.
When you are PHUBBING…
Ask & Wait. Ask your partner if you can reply to any notification when something urgent happens that demands your attention; otherwise, just put your phones away from the table. Instead of letting your partners bum out and fade in the background, realize that you should reply the message in a few seconds, or do Google search quickly. As long as you are done with your cell phone, start talking with your partner or friend again can force to keep the mind that someone is waiting for your presence.
Be present & care about your interpersonal relationships. Even if your friends and you keep taking selfies and switching between filters in order to pose on Instagram with hashtags like #bff #happymoments #fun, it doesn’t mean that the time you spend together is of high quality. Sometimes, if you don’t trust your self-discipline, just mitigate your random phone checks by not charging it consistently. You can also install some surveilling Apps that can track you cell phone usage on a daily basis. The one I have been using is called Moment. I challenged my partner by competing the time we consume on iPhones every day, and both of us have reduced our weekly phone addicted time by at least 20%.
Trust me, the more quality time you spend with your new friends, your old pals or your family, the more cheerful your relationships with them will be. Walking and talking without frictions is the best thing that two people can do for their relationships. Just like most beautiful things, there is always a time and space for life, so as your cell phones. Put your phones down when you are not alone, otherwise you will feel miserably lonelier.