This is such a dumb thing to deal with, especially because it's a problem only folks w/ smartphones have. That being said, I have been conditioned to react to any and every smartphone that buzzes/dings in a 5-meter radius.
...lamest superpower ever.
I can't exactly recall when I first started experiencing the phenomenon of "phantom phone buzzing", though it's only been in the past year or so that I've started becoming aware of it. Like the comic suggests, I entertained the idea of getting a watch to make checking notifications easier, but then I figured that the phantom buzzing would just move from the pocket of my jeans to my wrist.