Social media allows users to foster positive relationships online. It has created a sphere where the socially awkward can be vocal with reckless abandon, otherwise isolated groups experience more inclusivity and communication is made easier, especially with loved ones that live far apart.
Social media has come and allowed people to connect in ways that otherwise would have been impossible. Social circles have expanded and conversations have become more global, with all of this at the click of a button or tap of a screen.
For example, on a regular day to day basis, you may not interact with people facing similar circumstances but with social media, you have the opportunity to connect with such people every second of the day.
People who are challenged with social anxiety, isolation, insecurities and a myriad of other struggles can now find connections and relationships online.
I praise social media as often as I can for all the good it does in the world, but like all things, it has its disadvantages. In romantic relationships particularly, social media has been known to cause more rifts than unions.
My opinion has always been that relationships online are very misleading. Many paint pictures of perfection, wealth, unattainable beauty and physique and all the other shallow aspects about dating and companionship and show us less of the real work that goes into maintaining a relationship.
Just like comparing yourself to your friends and peers and where they are in life, it is equally dangerous to do the same with your relationship. We have become so fixated with gawking at relationships, whose ins and outs we know nothing about, that we lose sight of what is real.
Is your relationship any less worthy because your boyfriend did not buy you a Range Rover with a bow on your birthday? Is your girlfriend less of a human being because she does not have social media’s idea of a perfect body to take bikini pictures in while on vacation?
I am in no way suggesting that we are entitled to the intimate details of a couple’s struggles but rather that we need to be smarter and kinder to ourselves when taking in images at face value and thinking that is how our lives should be.
Ironically enough, while on Instagram, a friend stumbled across a post (that she subsequently shared with me) unpacking eight uncomfortable truths about dating and social media. I will not unpack each and every one of them but I will share what stood out for me.
The gentleman mentioned; “Instagram has made perfect relationships look achievable, so now real relationships have become undesirable.” And I thought to myself, “wow, that is actually what it is.” Many of us are unhappy because instead of holding onto what is real, we are busy chasing after what is superficial. No depth, just vibes you can post in a picture or video for others to marvel at, and is that just not the saddest thing?
We have forgotten that real love means sacrifice, real love is not going to Santorini every other week like an influencer because you have got other financial responsibilities. Real love is more than matching tattoos and cars.
Many of us chase these fabricated notions of a relationship and end up incredibly unhappy with the black hole we have created for ourselves. Do yourself a favour, pick and choose carefully what you internalise from relationships on social media.
Do the things you want to do as a couple solely based on the fact that you want to do them. No one ever prospered trying to keep up with the Joneses. Let that never be too far removed from your mind.