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You’ve been phubbing!

And not only is it really annoying but also bad for your relationships!

It’s a term I just recently learned about and then realized… I’ve done it. You’ve done. We’ve probably all done it.

Phubbing (a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing”) is when you’re looking at your phone during a conversation instead of paying attention to the other person.

I am pretty sure you know exactly how it feels when you’re being phubbed, but how aware are you when you’re doing it to others?

Think about the last time you were at a coffee shop or restaurant with a friend and they start browsing social media on their phone… What did you do?

Did you ask them to be present with you? Or did you simply also pull out your phone to check your notifications? It’s like a vicious cycle that is (ironically) supposed to connect you with someone through social media, but it disconnects you even more from being present with the people around you.

A lot of apps are designed to be addictive and keep you there longer and it can be very hard to break this habit and get off your phone, so I compiled a list of my 5 tips for taking control of your attention and focusing on being present in your conversations instead.


#1 Eye Contact

The simple act of holding someone’s gaze is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to make a person feel recognizedunderstood and validated.

#2 Smile

Scientists at the University of Virginia ran a study that showed that we are less approachable when we are on our phones and that we tend to smile less!

So if you want to come across as more open and friendly, smile more to increase your ability to connect.

#3 Listen

Get out of your head and stop thinking about the story that YOU want to share and imagine yourself in the other person’s story, lean into your genuine curiosity and ask follow up questions.

#4 Use Technology

I know this sounds like a paradox. Using technology to get off technology, but it is one of my not-so-secret ways to limit my use of tech.

First I recommend starting to track your social media use to get a sense of how big this problem might be for you. I’ve used the app RescueTime (mobile app and chrom extension) to learn that I spent hours on Facebook every day.

And then turn off all the unnecessary notifications on your phone – which is anything that isn’t urgent. I use the app Daywise (Android only) to manage my notifications and batch the together to only show up 4x per day.

#5 Share Your Intentions

Many customers have shared with me that simply placing my ASK DEEP QUESTIONS cards deck on the table already sets the tone for more meaningful conversations – without even drawing a question card.

So why not simply state at the beginning of your meeting that you’d like to be fully present and catch up – for real!

And if you’re looking for more tips on how to have deep and meaningful conversations, check out my Deep Conversations Guide where I share more tips on how to get beyond small talk and I even included a “Small Talk Cheatsheet” with conversation starters that you can simply copy and use in your next conversation.


Learn how to skip the small talk and get to the deep and meaningful conversations at the next event you attend.


What can you do if your friend is phubbing you?

That’s probably content for a whole new blog post, but here are my top 3 suggestions that I crowdsourced from my community:

  • Set a good example and remember to leave your phone in your bag when you’re hanging out with your loved ones. Maybe even make it obvious when you do so at the beginning of your meeting.
  • Stop talking, make eye contact, smile and wait
  • In a non-passive-aggressive tone simply tell them directly: “It’s hard for me to feel present and open when we’re on our phones during a conversation. Can we do a no-phone chat for a bit? Is that cool?”

What would you do? Let me know in the comments below 👇

Jan Keck

Jan Keck

Trainer | Facilitator | Experience Designer · Turning Meetings into Inclusive, Engaging and Memorable Experiences 🙌