As an avid social networker, I am no stranger to watching how relationships function mostly negatively on Facebook. I am not proud to admit that the men I have liked the most are immediately condemned from my news feed so I will not obsess. I have coaxed friends out of hysterical fits due to suggestive tweets. Also have I purposely posted a status/tweeted something in order to make a love interest jealous or even just curious. The thing is I am not alone! Social networking is alive and real, and present day relationships need beware. I believe in balance, so I’ve given a lot of thought to how relationships can operate healthily without ridding of social networks altogether, because let’s face it, the world loves to chat! So here’s what I’ve gathered to stop the jealousy monster from rearing its ugly head:
1. To be «In a Relationship» or Not to be
So you have a new person to call your own, well that’s wonderful. It is completely relevant nowadays to question whether or not you should tell the whole world about it. I am personally not a fan of any options other than «In a Relationship» or «Single». None of this «It’s Complicated» nonsense folks! Remember that you are not defined by how you relate to other people, so don’t feel obligated to label it publicly. If you do not mind announcing your relationship, just be wary of opinions that will flow in. Comments and «likes», especially controversial friends such as ex-boyfriend/girlfriends may appear. You also have the option to immediately hide it so that the effect is less. Same goes for ending a relationship, which attracts even more attention.
2. Photo Op
Ah yes you knew it was coming, we’re addressing photos now. Has your heart ever sunk over the person you’re involved with (or wish you were) liking a photo that wasn’t of you? What a tricky situation, should you risk sounding crazy and confront the person or brush it off and never bring it up? Well, it is universal that people respond based on responses. For example, imagine the difference between the following inquiry with a big smile and a laugh, verses a solemn and condemning tone: «I saw you liked that guy’s photo on Facebook, am I not hot enough for you?» The latter results in defensiveness, changing the subject, a sense of guilt, and even bitterness, while the former more often than not stems silliness and an honest answer. Tone matters more than you think! As for someone you are not dating, definitely shrug it off. It is a whole different ball game when you’re still competing.
3. The Check Up
Last but arguably foremost are the dangers of «checking up» or «stalking» someone. This includes an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, a current significant other, or someone you are perusing. In my experience there is no such thing as innocent stalking. All those that have experienced any sort of anxiety from viewing that special someone’s page know what I am talking about. I find it crucial to self-discipline yourself if ever you are tempted to check up. It is not healthy to find photos and statuses and tweets in order to educate yourself on what said person is up to. For your own sake and well-being, avoid this at all costs. If that means you must delete news feed information, un-follow, or even unfriend someone, I have your back on this one. If it comes down to un-friending your boyfriend/girlfriend, explain to them that you do not want to risk the drama that often comes along with social networking, and they will more than likely understand.
No one knows when Facebook and Twitter will reach MySpace level and «disappear», but social networking appears to be here to stay. This can be a very positive experience (i. e. connecting with old friends etcetera) if you allow yourself to engage in a balanced and healthy manner. Try hard not to check your tweets and notifications whilst in the presence of someone you care about, which defeats having real-life relationships altogether. Enjoy the time you spend with your significant other, posting about it can always wait.