Did you know that experts have linked social media with anxiety, envy, depression, a decrease in social skills, and loneliness? It’s true. Perhaps the larger question is why? It doesn’t take long to put together a picture of why is true. For the most part, when people share information on social media it’s to celebrate. They are showing off. So, as you scroll your timelines and news feeds, the message you receive is that these people are leading amazing lives. They have great vacations, their relationships are perfect, and they are quite literally living the dream.
The Highlight Reel
Here’s the thing… those people aren’t sharing their dirty laundry (though there are those that do). What you are actually seeing are the highlights. Yet, you compare your entire life to the highlights that others share. Naturally, this has an impact on your relationships.
There has been a steady stream of studies that point to the negative effects social media has on self-esteem, relationships, and social wellness.
In our bid to become super connected, we have actually cut ourselves off. Instead of choosing to meet up with people in person, we prefer to like their photos of last night’s dinner. When it comes to relationships, romantic partners have reported arguing over how much time is spent on social media. Almost half of internet users, aged 18-29, report that the internet has had a negative impact on their relationship.
Don’t Miss Out
Over 50% of single social media users are worried about missing out. This leads to this creation of a false reality. So, we strive to share content that is likely to receive a positive response. We seek positive reinforcement as we post, and our complete focus in life becomes about creating those highlight reels. How then can we express or deal with the negative experiences?
We are too busy seeking immediate gratification to worry about that. There are a number of issues with that, but one of the biggest ones is our inability to cope when we are ultimately rejected, whether it’s rejection from a friend or a romantic interest.
Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits that come with using social media. One of the greatest things about social media is that you can easily keep in touch with friends. Now, while this can also be a negative, it makes long-distance friendships much easier to manage. You don’t need to wait for a Christmas email newsletter to find out your second cousin’s daughter had twins in March. It also makes it easier to make new friends who share your interests. Of course, it’s also much easier to end a relationship via social media.
For couples, interacting on social media helps integrate your social networks. Your friends interact with your partner and vice versa, which means meetings in-person are much more comfortable. It also allows you easy access to people. It can actually be beneficial to romantic relationships to share photos of each other and tag your partner in your posts. It can increase relationship satisfaction.
There are drawbacks, too, of course. It can be a source of anxiety, jealousy, and conflict. It all comes down to how you choose to use social media. If you do it responsibly, you have nothing to worry about.