“Oh come on, someone’s over reacting again!” – you may be thinking… and honestly, I don’t blame you if you are. I mean, it is such a cute little innocent social platform – just like its friends FB, YT and the rest of the crew… right? However, a lot of debates were led in the recent past about the negative impacts social media brought to us in the new era… so let’s scratch the surface and explore the psychological depths underneath it by diving into the dark side. (I heard they have really good cookies over there… like chocolate chip ones.)
Turning your fairytale into the worst nightmare
Let’s start from the simplest possible scenario – you have this steaming – hot girlfriend/ boyfriend, and you’re madly in love, and everything seems to be going great: you already figured out which house you’ll build your nest in, what type of rose to plant in front of the patio, your children’s names, and your dog’s name.
A movie- like fairytale! And then, one evening, just before you go to sleep and carelessly browse the above mentioned app, a moment of horror occurs- your SO liked someone else’s photo! Like, someone who is the opposite gender than your significant other, of course… and the real problem is – this person has nicer boobs/ firmer abs than you!
The only thing possibly worse than this scene is if you stumble upon your beloved partner, apparently having the time of his/ her life at a random party, drunkenly hugging another girl/ boy… a best friend… or the first neighbor… or an ex, god forbid… okay, the possibilities are endless really, but you get the point nonetheless – that someone is not you, and you are not in that photo, and all you can do now is helplessly stare from the loneliness of your bedroom, wishing you have never opened that cruel, heartless app.
What do you do next? Obviously, you don’t feel particularly happy about it. Again, the possible scenarios are multiple: you’ve been told they are sick, or at a family reunion, or going to sleep, or they simply never mentioned going to an event in the first place. Why weren’t you invited?
When was the last time you took a photo together and shared it with the world, so everyone can see how happily dating you two lovebirds are? You gave someone the benefit of the doubt but it came back to you just like a boomerang, and now the worm of doubt is being planted in your head instead…You may jump to conclusions as some new stories start to unravel in your mind… but… what if you are exaggerating? After all, maybe it’s (just) a cousin you never met before?
Jealousy is an inevitable sign of love…
According to some researchers, jealousy is the number one killer of a relationship (and it can be also extremely dangerous). In the above example, it is triggered by a photo- or an app, if you will. As the majority of Instagram users belong to the younger population – some of them REALLY young!- it is not hard to see that this way of “ruining” a relationship mostly applies to younger couples. A definition states that jealousy is a mix of fear, concern, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection.
And another amazingly important thing I would like to add- it is a popular misconception that jealousy itself is a sign of love- IT IS NOT! It is a sign of other things though- such as low self – esteem, feelings of insecurity or inadequacy in a relationship… so before you start raging on your partner, question yourself and the reasons behind your jealousy. If you come to the conclusion that there is ‘nothing wrong with you’ (because, honestly, why would there be?), feel free to give your partner ‘the talk’ and clear up some things, making space for your relationship to grow.
So you think selfies are awesome?
Another major thing that came with the wave of social media is the so – called SELFIE. ‘Selfie’ made such an impact on our lives that in 2013 Oxford Dictionaries declared it the word of the year. Even the Pope is making them! However, a recently conducted study showed that taking selfies and sharing them via platforms, such as Instagram, in the order to gain what we call more free followers on Instagram, has the ability of negatively affecting a relationship.
Another study showed that individuals who regularly post photos of themselves online score higher on tests measuring narcissism and psychopathy (of course, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re suffering from these traits if you like posting selfies, but it is an interesting fact to have in mind, nevertheless.)
One important thing no one ever speaks about
When it comes to relationships and social media, I noticed one huge thing. Whenever there’s a story about Facebook doing this, Snapchat doing that and Instagram doing the third to and with your relationship(s)- it is always about your relationship with others. No one ever mentions the most important relationship one can possibly have- the relationship we have with ourselves. Instagram can affect greatly the way we perceive ourselves as well, especially our bodies.
Admit it, you’re only human- how many times have you browsed through photos of ridiculously fit and attractive people – male or female – in order to get inspired and hit the gym next week and felt terrible afterwards? Often we forget that a great deal of these pictures is photoshopped, and the entire process ends up with us spiraling down the whirlpool of misery and remorse – why did I eat that last candy, or any at all? Why can’t I ever keep my New Year resolutions?
Look at her, she’s a mom of four and fitter than I’ll ever be, and besides that, I can’t stand looking at these awful stretch marks anymore, plus her makeup is flawless, while I’m the ugliest duckling of them all… just to give you some realistic examples. For those who are not – so – self – conscious about their looks, there’s always another option – envying someone else’s luxurious lifestyle, or the amount of traveling they get to make, or the extravagant parties they get to attend…
As with just about everything else in life, there’s a double edged sword to Instagram as well- while it gave us the opportunity to share our photos with the world, meet new friends and simply have some easy fun in the free time, it proved us on multiple occasions that it can trigger the nastiest beasts in us. And just like with anything else in life – balancing and knowing where our priorities stand is the key to ‘surviving’ it.