I think I’ve figured it out. Social media is still new. It hasn’t even reached it’s tenth birthday yet, and new members are constantly signing up, so there is no set precedent on what people should and shouldn’t post. For a lot of people, it seems their social media accounts serve as a stream of consciousness, a place to post whatever comes to their mind at any given moment. Therein lies the problem.
I know some people who swear Facebook and the like are horrible for relationships. They refuse to sign up and think people who have are making a terribly risky decision. I know other people who (apparently) think Facebook is a public diary, a place to share every syrupy sweet tidbit of romantic minutia. Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m not against it at all, but I’m also not about to invite everyone into my private life by sharing things that have nothing to do with them. Here are some things you need to know if you plan to be in a relationship while on social media.
Go easy on the “relationship status” feature
We’ve all seen it: a person who is obviously experiencing some romantic strife (you like how I worded that, huh?) goes from “in a relationship” to “single” to “it’s complicated” and back to “in a relationship” all in a matter of hours. I can only imagine what the person is thinking:
“Oh, it’s like that? So, that’s how you do me? THAT’S HOW YOU GON’ DO ME? Fine. Check this out.” Changes status to “single.” Instantly gets a phone call from the other party. Has a bit of a change of heart. Still mad, but not as mad. Kinda wanna work it out. Confused.
“This is so frustrating, but that’s my boo. Let me stop fronting.” Changes status to “it’s complicated.” Gets another phone call. Falls in love again.
“I love me some him.” Changes status back to “in a relationship.”
To that person, nothing strange has occurred. They’re just doing what comes naturally, keeping it real. But to everyone one else watching this spectacle, it looks immature, like you’re trying to teach your man a lesson in a very public and inappropriate way.
In general, it’s a good idea to leave your relationship status as it is for at least seven days before making any changes. Let’s say, for example, you break up. Don’t rush to change your status, because you two could make up the next day. Or if you just got in a relationship, don’t immediately change it to “in a relationship,” because you might soon discover that the person is not at all who you thought he was.
And if you’re married, I don’t wanna ever (I mean EVER, ever) see you changing your relationship status in reaction to something that happened between you two. That’s some tacky ish. I don’t care if you just had World War III in your living room. I don’t care if you went Waiting to Exhale on him and burnt his belongings (though I hope you’d never do that). Don’t change your status. Marriage is the real deal. As long as divorce papers haven’t been filed, it is your job to protect that relationship–even when you don’t want to, even when everything in you is upset or hurt. They’re called big girl panties. Get some.
Don’t chase likes
Let me tell you something about likes: they don’t mean squat. Well, wait, I take that back. They do have meaning, but the meaning isn’t always what you think it is. You have to understand that if you have more than your mother and your BFF on your friend list, you are bound to have “friends” who don’t like you as much as you think they do. That’s just life. If you’ve got ten Facebook friends, at least one of them cats is giving you the side eye. So don’t get caught up on likes. They don’t always mean “I’m happy about this/I support this/I agree with this.” Sometimes, they mean “I don’t like this and I’m actually sick of all your happy posts, but Imma go ahead and like it so I don’t look like a hater.”
You never know what emotions are behind the likes that accumulate on your posts. It may be your intention to share your joy, but you might actually be stirring jealousy and other negative feelings.
Don’t be passive aggressive
Here’s the scenario: You and your guy aren’t seeing eye to eye. He just got a new job that keeps him really busy and you’re feeling neglected. You’ve asked him to spend more time with you, but he hasn’t really made any changes. So what do you do?
You post this jewel: “People who neglect their lawn shouldn’t be mad when they find someone else watering it. #Message #ImJustSaying”
And you also post this: “Sooooo I guess I’m invisible. I must not exist. That’s got to be it. #FiguredItOut”
The problem with passive aggressive posts is that they don’t work, at all. They are supposed to be a clever way of saying what you want to say without directing it to anyone in particular, but to a lot of people, it’s obvious who you’re talking about. Plus, you’re grown. Why are you sending out supposedly random messages of dissatisfaction? If you’ve got something to say, call, text, inbox or speak in person. Period. Those are the only options for real live adults.
Know that most people don’t care
I know how it feels to be full of love for your husband. It’s a great feeling and I can totally understand your wanting to share that, but that feeling is yours and yours alone. No one else feels that way about your relationship; ergo, no one cares. That may sound harsh, but I’m just trying to make it plain. It’s cool to share quick pics and posts on his birthday or anniversary, but don’t annoy people. If you’re filling everyone’s newsfeeds with “Timothy knocks me socks off–feeling in love” and “I feel sorry for you if you don’t have a (insert name here) in your life” you’re just getting on everyone’s nerves. Yes, that’s great that your happy, but do you have to keep saying it over and over and over? (Also, if you have to say it that much, I have to wonder who you’re really trying to convince.) Imagine how that would look in person. What would you do if you and I were out to lunch and I kept busting out with, “My husband is the bomb dot com,” and, “Don’t you wish your husband was a hot like mine?” Wouldn’t you think, “What the hell is wrong with her? I don’t care how hot she thinks her husband is.”
In the end, we must all remember that the things we post invite people in. They create windows into our lives. We have to be careful with what we do in front of those windows.