How to Stop Being “Phubbed”

You’re not wrong. It’s rude.

First, know that when you have a negative reaction to being phubbed, it’s not because you are overly-sensitive. “Phub” comes from the word “snub” (“Phone” + “Snub” = “Phub”). Being phubbed very much feels like being snubbed, and that’s usually a bad feeling.

1. Check your own behavior

Sometimes the reason we get phubbed is because we’ve phubbed others, now or in the past. In doing so, we inadvertently taught the people around us that we’re cool with this behavior.

2. Name the problem

It’s likely the phubber not only doesn’t know they’re phubbing you, they don’t know how to fix it. You may have to give them that information.

  1. You’re not interested in continuing until the behavior has stopped.
  2. When it stops, you’d be happy to resume the interaction.

3. Share your feelings

Another option is to say to the phubber, “You know, when you look down at your phone while I’m talking to you, it makes me feel like you’re not really listening to me and that makes me feel sad. Could you take a break from it for a little while?”

  1. Why this behavior bothers you.
  2. How this behavior makes you feel.
  3. What you’d like them to do instead.

4. Draw some boundaries

Lastly, it may help to establish “phone down” times (e.g. mealtime) or zones (e.g. no phones in bedroom) in your life or home. These sorts of artificial boundaries can help do some of the hard work of policing phubbing for you.

Digital Wellness Coach and Consultant | Author | Speaker| More info at