Social media (SM) is a way of being connected with family and friends. However, it also comes with the risk of causing tension in relationships. To stop that happening let’s talk about how you can make sure it doesn’t cause tension in yours!
Did you know that the average person spends up to 144 minutes every day on social media?
Omg, 2 hours a day is a big chunk of time!
Compare that to the 10 minutes that the average couple spend talking to each other and you can see why it can become a problem. Especially when the ten minutes of conversation is generally made up of discussing to-do lists.
Research found that the higher dependence you have on social media, then the stronger influence it will have on your behaviour and opinions. It can also lead to lower levels of happiness in relationships.
If you think it is negatively affecting your life and your relationships you are not being dramatic. Or maybe you don’t think that social media use is a big deal. The reality is that you shouldn’t underestimate its effect! Read more about the research here.
Is SM a Risk to Your Relationship?
SM can easily become a risk to your relationship but you can do some risk management! The way to manage that risk is to have an honest and open talk about SM, rather than leaving that to chance! Look at what social media means to the other person as everyone has a different point of view. Understanding what you both think about social media prevents misunderstandings.
Put Social Media Boundaries in Place!
Boundaries are what is and isn’t ok. They make everything clear and get rid of grey areas.
Take the time to talk about your expectations about how social media will play a role in your relationship.
One person may attach meaning to updating the relationship status, while the other person may not. Instead of making assumptions have an honest/open conversation.
Talk about it from the start to avoid misunderstanding. Talk about what SM use is and isn’t ok. I know this may sound like a lot of work but it can save you arguments and heartache down the track! Don’t see them as ‘rules’ but as risk management!
Ask specific questions like:
- Will you become friends on SM?
- Do you update your relationship status or when do you update your relationship status?
- How much do you both feel is ok to share on social media about your relationship?
- How much time do you want to spend on social media?
- Do you want any specific rules to be in place around social media use?
- How do you deal with direct messages?
- Do you share your login information with each other?
- What do you feel is inappropriate behaviour online?
- Have you had any problems around SM in past relationships?
- Talk about ex-partners. Have an open conversation about what is and isn’t ok for both of you. This will save misunderstanding in the future.
When you are able to have specific conversations, it makes things clear to both of you rather than ignoring what could become an issue.
Don’t Compare on Social Media
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your relationship with anyone else’s relationship! You may see flowers, romantic dinners and getaways on other people’s social media newsfeed and feel like your relationship doesn’t measure up. However, couples usually only post the ‘happy’ parts of their relationship online. You are unlikely to see the arguments, tears and tensions on an Instagram feed.
Interestingly, research has found that having plenty of ‘happy couple’ posts/pictures on social media is a sign of unhappiness! Happy couples are enjoying the moment rather than attempting to capture the ‘perfect’ picture. Remember social media is not always reality!
Comparison is the way to continually feel disappointment! Because your real-life experiences won’t ever measure up to carefully planned highlights of other people’s relationships.
Comparison is the perfect recipe for insecurity! That insecurity could be personal about how you look or about your relationship. You could compare yourself with better-looking people and start to question why your partner would want to be with you.
Maybe you are feeling insecure that your partner doesn’t spend enough time with you and all you see on your feed is couples doing fun things together. Or you want more commitment from your partner and your newsfeed is full of couples moving in, couples getting engaged or married.
It is important not to let social media start arguments because you are caught in the comparison trap. The reality is there is no such thing as the perfect relationship, no matter what you see on social media!
11 Ways to Stop Social Media Destroying Your Relationship
- Make a specific time for each other and turn your phones off so you aren’t distracted. In fact, prioritise quality time without social media
- Make sure it is okay to post about your partner or your relationship on social media before you do it.
- Don’t air your dirty laundry online. You don’t’ need to share your arguments/problems for all the world to see.
- Don’t be a timeline stalker. When you are social media friends it gives you access to plenty of information from the last decade! You can see past relationships, comments and likes. These can make you have doubts, be obsessive when there isn’t any reason to be! That is the past and this is now!
- Like as if you are liking in front of your partner.
- If you wouldn’t say or do it in person then don’t do it online!
- Be transparent about what you are doing to prevent negative consequences down the track! Social Media is a public platform and people can screenshot your conversation. If you don’t want your partner to see it, then don’t say it! Commenting on someone’s public feed where everyone can see it is different to sending a personal message. Is there a valid reason for the PM?
- Be conscious of the time you post or like other people’s posts. Liking or messaging at 2 am may create the wrong impression.
- Agree to take some time off social media and do a social media detox!
- Allow the other person privacy! This may sound like a contradiction but with ground rules in place trust is possible.
- Have quarterly conversations about social media and your relationship to see if your ‘guidelines’ are still working.
It can feel uncomfortable having these ‘bigger conversations’ about something that is a part of everyday life. But the benefit outweighs the discomfort.
It gives you the chance to talk about how both of you really feel. It allows you to put in place boundaries that make you both feel safe and that will only make your relationship stronger.
If you are struggling to have that conversation or when you do, you find you can’t agree. A session with a Relationship coach will help, give me a call to see how.