Don’t ‘phub’ up time with loved ones

Dear Heloise: Have you ever heard the word “phubbing”? It refers to someone who ignores their friends and family in order to pay attention to their phone or tablet instead. As a clinical psychologist, I hear about it every day.

It’s become a serious problem in this country, because people walk down the street or cross a road and pay no attention to their surroundings. Needless to say, accidents occur because of this behavior.

Perhaps one of the saddest parts of phubbing is the way people have lost the art of conversation. They’d rather read their emails or play on social media sites than engage in a one-on-one conversation with their friend or partner, who may be sitting next to them. After a while, the other person feels ignored, neglected and often decides to look for someone else who shows an interest in them.

Eye contact is so important when talking to another person. If your eyes are glued to a tiny screen, you’re not really listening. This tells your partner or children that they aren’t important to you. The other person might be significant to you, but how would they know that when you’re not looking at them or speaking to them?

So what should you do? Put your cell phone away when you get home, go out on a date or spend time with your children. Nothing on that phone is as important as your loved ones. The best way to let them know you care about them is to be present. That means talking to them and making eye contact.

Ask about their day, about school, about anything. Do things together like preparing dinner, helping with homework or going somewhere together as a family. Otherwise, you might wake up one day to find you no longer have a connection with the people you love the most. — R.T.K., New York



P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com


Dear Heloise: About three weeks ago, my wife and I lost our dog to cancer. She was a sweet, loving girl, and my wife took her almost everywhere. We took excellent care of her, and she lived to be 16 years old. We couldn’t have children, so I guess you could say our dog was sort of like a child to us.

My wife can’t seem to stop crying over the loss of our sweet pet. She claims she is sad and finds no joy in living. I want to help her, but I don’t know where to turn or who to call. Do you know anyone who might be helpful in this sort of situation? — Ronald J., Burlington, Wisconsin

Ronald, first, let me express my condolences on the loss of a most beloved pet. There are places that help people cope with the loss of a pet: Pet Loss Partners (petlosspartners.org) and the Pet Compassion Careline (1-855-245-8214). The careline is open 24/7.

For many people, a pet becomes a member of the family, and their death is a heavy loss to bear. Time will usually help heal this pain, although you’ll never forget your little furry friend. — Heloise


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