For better or for worse, 3.48 billion people use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. While these platforms have proven themselves as excellent ways to strengthen friendships, encourage the spread of information, and broaden perspectives, social media has become infamous for destroying relationships, too.
However, being conscientious and thoughtful about social media use will greatly reduce the risk of online-fueled arguments. The tips below are a great place to start.
1. Keep the Boundaries
Here’s the thing about social media—internet users tend to overshare online when they’re “typing into the void” and not being forced to make eye contact. In other words, information may come out on social media that wouldn’t be mentioned on a first, second, third, or even fourth date.
To avoid the sharing of startling information which might be best left to an in-person discussion, social media users would do well to think before they type, snap, or share to their stories.
2. Window to the Past
Social media timelines and profiles are like digital scrapbooks. Unlike a scrapbook, however, the backlog of information doesn’t stop at the front of the book. For those who have used social media for years of their lives, these memories can seem to go on forever.
Past versions of a person are available for the world to see on social media, but this point goes both ways—partners should respect each other’s privacy rather than search timelines full of ancient posts. Reminiscing in person over a cup of coffee is a much better way for partners to go about discussions of the past.
3. Put the Phone Down
It’s no surprise that the time spent on social media is increasing. For some individuals, social media has nearly become an addiction rather than a useful tool or a fun way to relax and catch up with friends after work. Frequently, this attachment to social media can overshadow time spent in a relationship to become a cause of jealousy or contention.
4. Forget the Expectations
Believe it or not, social media doesn’t exist solely as an outlet for validation, and a person’s social media information shouldn’t revolve only around their partner. Those who frequent their partner’s social media in search of posts bragging about their relationship are only setting themselves up for disappointment. In short, relying on social media for compliments from a partner is unreasonable at best and harmful at worst.
5. Avoid Timeline Stalking
Snapchat and Instagram stories, as well as Twitter timelines, are fast-paced environments which encourage frequent posting. Some users go so far as to document their day-to-day lives on these apps, tempting their partners to check on them constantly.
This phenomenon of “timeline stalking” has made it easier to forget about boundaries and, in many cases, is the first step toward users becoming distrusting of their partners. Even those in committed relationships don’t need to know every detail of what their partner is doing and who they’re talking to.
6. Talk In Person
Due to the built-in feature of private, instant messaging, social media provides an excuse to avoid having difficult discussions face-to-face. Often, this hinders meaningful and thoughtful communication essential to the development of a stronger relationship, and the lack of tone found in text-only discussions can result in a myriad of misunderstandings that would be avoided if not for relying on social media messaging to have serious, deep discussions.
Enjoying social media with a romantic partner is definitely possible, but keep it at that—enjoyment. Avoid using Facebook as a way to gauge a relationship’s worth or solve the rough patches, and instead share pictures, jokes, and of course the occasional flirty message!