Social Media; the good, the bad and the stalker. In this generation, social media is the center. While being a fairly new phenomenon, it has become so widespread across the world that it's actually considered unusual when a person doesn't have some form of social media. We eat, sleep, and breathe it. Literally. When we wake up in the morning, the first thing most of us do is click to twitter and scroll through to make sure that we don't miss a thing. Our friends, family and even that girl from history you pass in the hallway are right at our fingertips. Social media has completely changed the tone of relationships, and here's how.
1. It has become normal to "stalk" your significant other.
How dare he tweet her a smiley face emoji four years ago!? Really, though. Social media has made it completely normal to know every move your relationship partner makes, ever. You can track every follow, like and location. Contrary to popular belief, this is neither normal nor healthy for any relationship.
2. A "like" on a screen has become the largest romantic gesture.
Remember the days of love letters and opening car doors? Yeah, me neither. These days clicking "like" on an Instagram photo is considered the sweetest thing a person can do. Not to mention, when your significant other doesn't like your picture, it actually hurts your feelings. Isn't that crazy? Since when did our self validation come from a like on a screen? Why are our relationships centered around this?
This one can be kept short and sweet; comparison. Social media is filled with "#relationshipgoals"; pictures and videos of what the ideal relationship should look like. We see these photos and ask ourselves, "Why doesn't my relationship look like that? What's wrong with us? Why don't I have this?" The answer is nothing. The reality is that every relationship is different. We all have different love languages and different ways of expressing our love. Do not think that your relationship has to look like social media "goals" to be a good one. Do not think that you have to be in a relationship either, just because it's what the media says you're supposed to do. The wrong relationship is so much worse than no relationship at all. Not to mention, many of these photos/videos are all of the highs of relationships and none of the lows; those matter, too.
What happened to looking someone in the eye? What happened to shaking hands, and ringing the doorbell for a date? Social media, while connecting us, has simultaneously disconnected us. Most of us literally do not know how to have a face to face conversation anymore. We start conversations over direct message on twitter and this is how we feel comfortable. It scares me because face to face interaction is what connects us all. It's the only way to truly get to know someone. I hate that we are falling in love over screens. There's nothing that could replace seeing a smile on someone's face or holding someone's hand for the first time. We need more of that, and less likes.
5. It dictates entirely the way we see others.
"She only got 60 likes? He doesn't have very many pictures. His captions are weird." Really? We're all guilty of this. We are all judgmental at some point, if not everyday. It's human nature and it's what we do. But how can we possibly think that a photo and the number of likes it has exemplifies who someone is as a person? We are so focused on these trivial things that we miss out on so many opportunities to get to know awesome people. It's so important to not let a social media site define you, or dictate the ways in which you define someone else.
Social media, as great as it can be for a lot of things, is becoming detrimental to relationships. We care more about likes than we do about connection. Learn to put your phone down and just live. Experience something amazing with people you love and just be there in that moment. Make an effort to build face to face relationships and you will be so appreciative for them. A screen should not be a companion.