397: Stop “Phubbing” People, Plus Hacks to Get Organized, Clear Clutter, and Take Medications


We send our best wishes and thoughts to the people of Puerto Rico, who are dealing with the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

The Four Tendencies Gift Boxes are now on sale! Inside, you’ll find:

  • A mug and sticker to put your Tendency on display.
  • The Tackle Box—a set of five sticky pads with different approaches to tackle your day, designed with the Four Tendencies in mind.
  • The new Four Tendencies Companion Guide, a collection of exclusive interviews with each Tendency, as well as journal prompts to help you gain more self-knowledge and find new ways to harness your Tendency.

If you also want a copy of The Four Tendencies book, get 10% off the Gift Box when you buy them together (discount applied automatically at checkout).

In other Tendency news, I’ve loved following the hashtag #TendencySpotting across social media. Keep them coming!

Try This at Home

Stop “phubbing” people.

“Phubbing” is “phone snubbing,” when you’re in a social situation, and you check your phone instead of paying attention to the person you’re talking to.

Research shows that when people were asked to rate an interaction, they found it less enjoyable, with reduced feelings of connection and engagement, if someone else used a phone. They felt excluded and ignored.

However, when people considered their own phone use, they significantly underestimated the negative effect it had. Researchers call this the “phubbing blind spot.”

I mention using the Strategy of Inconvenience, which is one of the 21 strategies for habit change that I discuss in my book Better Than Before.

Happiness Hack

If you often have many documents you want to bind together, consider buying a comb-binder.

Four Tendencies Tips

  • An Obliger created outer accountability for clutter clearing by donating items to support someone in rehabilitation. She mentions my book Outer Order Inner Calm.
  • A Rebel focused on the negative consequences to follow a demanding medical regimen.


Demerits & Gold Stars

  • Gretchen’s Demerit: I came on too strong with suggested edits for my daughter Eleanor’s homework essay.
  • Elizabeth’s Gold Star: In a single day, as part of her Summer of Health, she got both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. Inspired by her example, I got my Covid booster and flu vaccine. Elizabeth mentions the terrific Satellite Sisters podcast.


  • The Happier app — All month long in the Happier app, we’ve been featuring content designed to help you build self-knowledge and put it to use. You’ll find Four Tendencies-related audio clips, tips, 5-minute challenges, and more. Head to thehappierapp.com to learn more and download the app.
  • In episode 324, we celebrated the wisdom of teachers with some “Proverbs of the Professions.” I’ve created a free PDF with the great insights I collected. To download, or share with a teacher in your life, visit gretchenrubin.com/resources under Podcast Resources.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Amazon, Bookshop)
  • Gretchen: I’m re-reading My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Amazon, Bookshop)

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