Social Media in Relationships – Toxic or Not?
I was once a junkie. A certified junkie of social media and all that comes with it. You know how you want to share every aspect of your life with other friends and strangers online. You’ve woken up, you’re working, you have too much work, the music you’re listening to, you’re bored, you’re shopping, your location, you’re eating, you’ve gone to bed and the likes. It was fun to say the least, while it lasted. You didn’t have to quite go out of your way to communicate, because this is information that you’re freely divulging, no one is pressuring you for it or telling you how to go on about it. It’s like you’re in relationship with your phone (or gadget) and you’re the one in control. The social media sites are your journals where you say what’s going on in your life at a particular point.
My friends would also comment on how I was into social media. Well, it hadn’t occurred to me to say the least. Especially since what I was doing wasn’t wrong. If anything, I was just being the social animal that I am. So I would just brush it off. They would say about the number of friends and followers I had, but still nah. It was good for me in the sense that while socializing I got to learn a few tricks here and there that we could use for business to gain some competitive advantage, make new friends and the best of all, kill bore-dome. Talk of making your lifestyle somehow work for you and enable you to make ends meet in more ways that one.
Then of course, things get a bit more serious. There’s school and work. In as much as social media was part of my JD, it wasn’t the fun-filled life updates no more. This one comes with targets, KPI’s, you can’t just post whatever comes to your mind. It’s basically different. To some extent it taught me that I should be responsible for what I expose online, how far should I go in. Is what I’m posting necessary, what impact will it have on those people who follow me or those who are my friends. So much thought process goes into it. Such that a simple post could be expected to do a lot. For business purposes, it should create awareness and push a customer to purchase your goods or service.
Bearing this in mind, I also became a follower and a reader (observer). I would like to know what other say about something before blindly posting. Sometimes I just want to be on the sidelines and read what others have to say. It’s somewhat interesting, it’s like you’re gossiping with imaginary friends, getting updates on what’s going on with your real friends and strangers, getting news on what’s happening around the world. So sometimes I could find myself so deeply engrossed.
Then came something I didn’t quite have before. A relationship. Now, a relationship means that there’s this person who wants your attention and needs some time out of the ordinary to get to know you better. A bit better than the rest know you. This is because that’s the other person you spend lots of time with, they foresee a future with you. Now, when was it that we used to access social media the most? After work and school. Now, here’s this special person who’s craving your attention. This person you have to kind of please by making some delish dinner once in a while. Before, I would reach home so exhausted, throw myself on the couch, grab my phone follow-up on “social media news updates or better yet gossip and things that don’t quite add value to my life”. Before I know it, it’s so late that the best I can feed on is cornflakes or milk and bread and an egg or baked beans to make it a tad bit healthier.
It’s just interesting. Of course it didn’t take me a day to realize that social media can be addictive and it can also be quite an anti social behavior. Until the mister pointed it out. It was more like, “you spend so much time on the phone and especially on social media”, or once or twice in an argument he made a random statement like “you can just talk to your online friends, they listen to you better”. Of course me in my defensive nature, I didn’t get the point then. I was like “how can you even say something like that? *sob*” It’s later I asked him what he meant by that statement because it kept ringing and ringing at the back of my mind.
Then he says, it’s like you’re more comfortable talking to your online friends, giving them updates more than you are telling me or talking to me. I know right, it came as a shock to me as well. Took me a while to even accept that he would think that. Of course that’s the reality that was. I just wasn’t ready to accept it. This is the life am used to. When you’re alone, there’s no one to share your stuff with, so you resort to strangers – social media. When you say something people would comment or say something in addition and make some fun out it. It’s better than talking to walls ain’t it?
Social media is not so social when it comes to relationships.
Well, that was a problem. Social media can be a problem. It can be a problem when there’s someone sited next to you, someone hanging out with you or someone trying to get your attention. That other person feels like they’re the ones talking to a wall. Like you want to share certain aspects of your life online but whatever it is that you’re telling other people online you can also tell them. Why not? Is it they won’t catch the joke or is it that you have more fun with this other people, that you probably don’t even know than you do with them. Or you have a problem between the two of you and you all go your separate ways and update you status with some subtle hints to your significant other. Such that when they read they know it’s directed to them. Why not just tell them, text them privately.
Social media becomes a middle man in relationships, the communication hub between spouses. The one who says he said this, she said this. Or the third wheel, you know that friend who tags along on your dates even when uninvited.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be on social media and be in a relationship. LOL. Would I survive? Just kidding. It just means that you have to respect your “you time”. You have to set your own boundaries. When you’re hanging out, put away the phone. When there’s something interesting to update, share with your significant other (because they are there with you) then you can even go like let me share this one *on your preferred social media platform*. It just goes ahead to show that you’re free with them and that they’re also fun to hang around with. It gives you time to catch up, talk about your lives, your expectations and other important things that relate to you and your lives. It doesn’t make sense that you can post your location on social media but you find it weird that your spouse wants to know where you are or they would like to at least be updated on the same. He/She cares, people on social media really don’t.
If it’s an issue in your relationship, the subtle hints posted as notes or updates on social media hurt more than they pass the message along. So instead of telling your online friends, why not just communicate between the two of you and try solve whatever it is without people prying into your business? I think it ends up better than when you air out your dirty linen. We’re all human and we all have dirty linen, unless you’re perfect. How you handle your problem or clean your linen is what makes all the difference.
Let people see your linen hung on the lines sparkling clean and not dirty. They even don’t need to know how the linen got dirty, if it got dirty or how it was cleaned. That’s none of their business. But they do care that you’re both cool with each other.
I didn’t learn this in a day and also not in the easiest of ways. Oh, neither am I an expert on relationships. But I eventually did, still am, that’s what that matters. Making a mistake ‘big or small’ and learning from it, then sharing it with you.
For those in a relationship, what has been your experience on the same? For the singles, do you ever think this will be a problem when you start dating?
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*