What is 'Phubbing' and How Does One Avoid It?

REUTERS / Dado RuvicPeople are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.

A new trend is putting thousands of relationships at risk today. In modern day language, it is called "phubbing" - the tendency of phone users to look at their smartphones too much to the point of glossing over the people they are supposed to physically interact with.

Nowadays, it is normal for people to wake up in the morning and check their smartphones first before anything else. At night, they are just as attached to their phone screens as they are in the morning, checking their social media accounts or playing games.

According to reports, language evolves as modern romance evolves, and phubbing is just one of the many proofs of that.

A made-up word coined from the combination of the words "phone" and "snubbing," phubbing happens when people get too absorbed with their mobile phones when they are in the company of others. It is generally considered detrimental behavior that lay relationships on the line, and there are studies to back that up.

In a recent interview, Julie Hart of The Hart Centre said: "There are three important connection factors that will give us a sense of satisfaction in our relationships. The first one is accessibility, that you're both open and listening to one another."

Next to accessibility, she said, is responsiveness, which refers to the ability to identify oneself with another person by understanding how they feel. Lastly, engagement has to do with showing interest in another person by giving them enough attention.

According to Hart, phubbing tends to get in the way of these three connection factors, causing people to feel dissatisfied with their relationships. However, the good news is that there are ways to save relationships from being ruined by this behavior.

Couples who think their relationships are suffering from phubbing may want to sit down together one time and set rules on when they can use their phones and when they should put it aside. It also pays to make certain areas of one's home a "phone-free" zone.