I think back to those long nights of staying up late waiting by the phone for my crush to call. Anxiously jumping at every noise and intently staring at the phone, willing it to ring. Oh, wait a minute…. this is the 21st Century, boys don’t call girls anymore. You’d be lucky to receive a text from a love interest, but more likely you would get a mass snap chat, one that was also sent out to his mom.
Social media has reshaped the way relationships work and has transformed the way we communicate with one another. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and social media but I feel like the recent rapid expansion of it has altered our lives, especially our love lives, in negative ways. Things such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter severely strain our relationships and open the door to unnecessary drama and heartbreak. I have seen, and experienced, many of the problems linked to social media and dating.
Relationships take work, and lucky for us they now take more work than they did in the past because we are thrown social media obstacles left and right. There are Instagram pictures that make you jealous, poorly worded tweets that piss you off, and Snapchat best friend lists that make you paranoid. Social media creates numerous trivial issues that we have to fight against to keep a healthy long lasting relationship. In short, social media breeds jealousy and drama.
Guys, have you ever lied to your girlfriend about being sick on a Monday night to skip out on the new episode of the Bachelor? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but if so, you have to be careful about what posts go up on social media. You don’t want to get caught secretly watching a basketball game with the guys. It is okay that you don’t want to watch the girliest show on earth, but lying and then getting caught red handed on Instagram or Twitter can lead to an argument.
The world we live in where everyone knows everything and everyone’s actions are on display creates a dangerous environment for couples. There are too many ways to creep on people because so much information is shared. You should trust your significant other and learn to overcome the desire to search his or her social media accounts to find out more info. Maybe that random girl on his Snapchat best friend list is only his 3rd cousin and that obscure angry tweet had nothing to do with you, but was about his mom’s pestering phone calls. Do not allow social media to bully its way into your relationship because there is no place for it.
Dating used to be as simple as getting a phone call from a guy to go out on a date. It has since evolved into a game where if you look too interested or call before you text then the game is over and you have lost your chances. Social media flirting has turned into the new thing. There is very little personal contact and most of the communicating is done via text or social media. As I have experienced it, there is a natural progression of how you advance to dating.
It first begins with becoming Facebook friends. Facebook is one of the least intimate social media platforms and so becoming Facebook friends is not too creepy or forward. Next, you can request to follow each other on Instagram. Now you can find out what they are doing more currently through photo posts and geotags. Once you have exchanged a good amount of photo likes you can graduate to becoming followers of one another on Twitter. This is where you learn more about their personality and can stay up to date on what occurs in their every day life. If you have linked on all these social media sites and frequently ‘like’ and ‘favorite’ each other’s posts then it is time to swap numbers. Warning, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can call each other. This phone number is only good for sending text messages. Once you start texting you can become Snapchat friends and can feel free to send each other selfies. If all is going well and you have been successfully social media flirting for a while you may begin calling each other. If you reach that step than you can expect to be dating shortly after! Of course this is not exactly how it happens but from what I have seen and experienced this is a pretty standard social media relationship track.
The thing I find most vexing about social media’s impact on relationships is its ability to completely strip kind words and gestures of sincerity. But in all honesty… what happened to love letters? Maybe I am just old fashioned and cliché but I think that love letters are so much more meaningful and sincere than a “love” text message or email. I am not saying that a loving text message is not great to get, but it does not carry the same depth and authenticity that a letter does.
Years ago when people had long distance relationships, and wanted to speak to their loved ones, they had no other choice but to send letters. Now that we have electronics to communicate we pretend like paper and pens do not exist. Writing a letter is a foreign concept to many. I like letters though because they are genuine and personal and show a time commitment. There is something charming about reading a handwritten message. It is not just the boring Helvetica Light font that has zero individuality or personality.
Our relationships have become shallow. Everything we do is done in a hasty manner. Maybe we’re on a vacation or we go to a different college than our significant other and to let them know we miss them we shoot them a quick text. The text is probably really sweet and loving but really, it is so impersonal. Anyone can send a text message, it takes a few seconds (or minutes, depending on how fast you type). An I-miss-you tweet is always great to receive too but it is not very heartfelt. A handwritten letter is a tangible item that allows you to feel a connection with your loved one because they too were once holding that piece of paper in their hand. To me, that kind of message is so much more meaningful.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, tweets, Facebook posts, and text messages are the go to methods of speaking with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I like that social media makes speaking with one another much more direct and immediate but you lose a lot of value in what is being said. The sound of someone’s voice, the curve of someone’s handwriting; all those little personal touches are lost when using social media.
As a consequence of social media, many young people have a twisted idea of what a sincere gesture is. I cannot tell you how many people I know feel that unless they are “Facebook official” than their relationship is not real. People find getting a Facebook relationship invite to be a sincere gesture and I think that goes to show just how much social media has interfered with relationships. It is as if we need technology to solidify the fact that we are in a relationship, when really the only thing that solidifies a relationship is a commitment between two people. You don’t need social media for that.
It shouldn’t matter if you are FBO or not (I did not make up that term, I promise. Check out the definition on Urban Dictionary if you want further proof). That’s not what counts though and whether your Facebook status says ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’ that will not determine how successful or unsuccessful your relationship will be. It is up to you! I completely understand that becoming official on Facebook is exciting because you are publicly announcing your relationship to friends and family but it doesn’t mean everything. Social media has begun to make people place a lot of weight on the most insignificant aspects of a relationship. What counts are the little things, not the titles and tweets, and number of tagged photos together.
Social media is wonderful, but we need to make sure that we do not make it the biggest most important aspect of our relationship. It can be a lot of fun but don’t let it consume you or your relationship. So girls, stop checking on what other girls like your boyfriends profile picture and why care about who he follows on Twitter? And guys, if you like a girl don’t be afraid to let her know. Social media tends to turn dating into a game but it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to learn how to break the cycle and form deep connections. In a relationship there is only room for two, not three, so do not let social media wedge its way in there.