A third of people in relationships are being ignored because their partners are staring at smartphones. Are you a snubber or a snubbee?
A YouGov poll has revealed that a third of people in a relationship have fallen victim to “screen snubbing” – when their partners are too distracted by their phones to properly engage with them.
Screen snubbing is to a degree understandable. After all, your partner is just a person and your phone is effectively the sum total of all human knowledge. But the damage the habit causes is real. The solicitor who commissioned the poll has spoken of the surge in divorce inquiries she has received as a result of people spending too long on their phones. Are you a screen snubber? Answer these six questions.
How do you spend your evenings?
If your evenings primarily consist of you sitting on the opposite end of your sofa from your partner, exhausted and constantly refreshing Instagram, you are a screen snubber. Put your phone down and try to connect.
What just happened on the TV show you’re ostensibly watching?
You don’t know, do you? Or if you do, it’s only because you’ve been absent-mindedly scrolling through the show’s Wikipedia page instead of watching it. It’s fine if you do this from time to time – it’s how I got through the first series of Game of Thrones – but try not to make it a habit. It’s one thing to screen snub a person. But if you’re screen snubbing another screen, you’ve got a problem.
What did your partner just say?
You know they definitely said something, because you heard their voice. But now whatever it was has ended and there’s an expectant silence, so you’ve got to do something. What? It can’t be another non-committal grunt – you’ve made dozens of those already tonight. Maybe it’s time to apologise.
What was the last meaningful discussion you had with your partner?
A couple of nights ago, I realised that the main topic of conversation I have with my wife is the string of unaffordable Zoopla properties we WhatsApp to each other in the midst of an extended screen-snubbing session. Is this the most damning indictment of modern marriage you’ve ever heard? Yes it is.
What is that noise?
There’s been a low-level yelping sound rumbling on for about an hour now. Look up. Is it one of your children, begging to be acknowledged as a valid human presence? Yes? Put your phone down.