Ladies and gentlemen, put the smartphone DOWN.
Do we really need research to validate the complete anger and disrespect we all feel when someone we’re dating, a friend, or a new acquaintance reaches into their pocket, pulls out their cell phone and responds to someone else’s text, while we’re mid-sentence in conversation with them?
If you need the research, it’s all here. A recent study found that p-phubbing, otherwise known as ignoring friends and family in favor of a smartphone, has a negative impact on relationship satisfaction, life satisfaction can even contribute to depression.
P-phubbing is especially problematic for people with an anxious attachment style.
Anxious attachers make up about 20 percent of the population, according to a study by Shaver and Hazan. For these people, p-phubbing is more than just rude. It’s a sign of rejection, and an indicator that the p-phubber just doesn’t care. Pull out your cell phone mid-conversation with one of these people and you’ll likely be removed from their contact list.
Anxious attachers are not the only ones for whom p-phubbing is a problem.
It can also be a problem for the p-phubber themselves. This problem may feel like an individual thing, however it marks a bigger trend in Western culture, according to Sherry Turkle, MIT psychologist and researcher.
Technology, with its instant communication and the capacity to build intricate global networks, provides us with infinite opportunities to expand our sphere of connections. Lots of followers and virtual friends can bring an individual sense of purpose and notoriety. Connectivity can build our egos and expand our minds.
However, this kind of connectivity can also bring intense feelings of disengagement.
We feel invisible and unheard when the vast majority of our daily connections are superficial in nature. The irony is, we struggle to alleviate our loneliness by reaching out through our phones in search of instantaneous and easy connection, which is the source of loneliness. We do this instead of sharing a deeper intimacy with those around us, through conversation and face-to-face experiences.
Modern technology keeps us “alone together.”
So give your thumbs a rest and give your p-phubbing self a chance to experience deeper intimacy with friends and family. That is, after all, what you’re really searching for.