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‘Sidebarring’ Is Kind of Mean, but It Actually Makes You Closer to the Person You’re Texting

It’s your friend’s birthday dinner, but she’s being a total downer because the restaurant’s out of osso buco. You can’t say anything out loud (it’s her birthday, after all), but you can send another friend an eye-roll emoji. She gets it, looks across the table and nods in agreement.  

This interaction is called “sidebarring.” Similar to phubbing (aka relationship-ruining phone snubbing), sidebarring is the more specific act of having a secret text conversation while doing something else—whether that’s out to dinner, in a meeting or watching TV. 

Yep, it’s totally gossipy and mean-spirited, but let’s be honest: Don’t we all do it?

According to a study from Facebook, nearly 71 percent of people have admitted to sidebarring. So yeah, most of us are guilty.

But here’s the silver lining. The study notes that 62 percent of respondents say this behavior makes them feel closer to the people they’re having a sidebar with. It’s like when Uncle Fred gets political at Thanksgiving and your cousin sends you an eye-roll emoji—you suddenly feel closer, like you’re sharing a secret. And, well, that’s because you are.

Of course, while sidebarring makes you feel closer to the person you’re chatting with, try to keep it to a minimum. No one likes to be on the wrong end of the phubbing stick.

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