Facebook stalking. We’re all guilty whether it be before the relationship, during the relationship, or even post-breakup. It’s a strange mixture of curiosity and, as much as we don’t like to admit it, jealousy. I’ll be the first to admit that I have disliked strangers for nothing else but simply liking a few pictures posted by a previous romantic partner. Studies (specifically one done in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking) have proven that having access to such information can be extremely damaging to relationships themselves.
Researchers surveyed 205 Facebook users about how often they use facebook, if they’ve had Facebook-related conflicts with a current or former partner, and what the consequences of these issues were. It was found that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses social media, the more they will facebook stalk their partner’s online activity! This can inevitably lead to feelings of jealousy. Another interesting thing the researchers note is that people who use social media often are more likely to reach out to past lovers, and thus issues arise on that front.
Now, I know. If the information is that readily available, it is hard to just not snoop. A lot of couples end up deactivating many social media accounts because of increased problems, however, this is not the only solution! Casey Gueren (writer of above linked article) suggests that if you follow a few simple rules, you could decrease the likelihood of social-media related relationship issues.
Much like the “sleep on it” rule in actual life, Casey Gueren suggests you follow the “log off” rule if you are upset. Nothing good will come of being online when upset, especially if you have access to your romantic partner’s pages. If you go searching for trouble, you will most likely find it, and then you are more likely to post something passive-aggressive (or maybe just aggressive?) that you will not be so proud of in the morning. Gueren also suggests that you friend exes with caution. Now, I have never personally done this because I easily see how this can be a one-way street top problems, but again, if you have information readily available, it’s likely you’ll take it. If this is something you’ve considered or that you’ve done, it is suggested that you take caution in the future. Scrolling too far back on an ex’s timeline or searching too far into their old pictures could leave you feeling jealous over things that don’t exist anymore. It’s like waking up angry at someone because they pissed you off in a dream. That them no longer exists! Don’t put yourself in that situation. Gueren also recommends bragging about your relationship. This can show dedication and seriousness, and can also let people know your partner is off-limits (since that needs to be explicitly stated online now, doesn’t it?). He warns, however, that going overboard with the posts can make a relationship seem immature and insincere, so there is a threshold that you should not pass when it comes to romantic posts.
If you’re not so about the romantic-relationships right now, you should know that Social media use is also affecting your relationships with friends, and life in general. Dr. Emma Seppälä suggests that social media users get too lost in the moment. By trying to connect virtually, you disengage and disconnect from reality and the people in it. You’ve thus lost your happiness by trying to reproduce it virtually! This can really put a damper on friendships- friends complaining about how you’re “always on your phone.” Dr. Emma Seppälä even says that the mere presence of a cellphone when two people are talking interferes with feelings of closeness, connection, and communication. Ultimately, if devices constantly run conversations, you lose some of your ability to connect with others.