Just giving you a heads up now – this post is real, touching on a truth of how social media affects us, whether you like it or not. It might get some of us to make some changes and realize the effect that social media (actually all media) has on relationships and how we feel when we compare ourselves to others. How “digital / tech” also hinders the growth of relationships. Hopefully it’ll give some insights on the importance of *talking in-person* or *being with someone* rather than spending most of your time via social media.
I’m proud to partner with Murad in the #eyesUP movement to give more awareness to how overuse of social media is contributing to the decay of our health, wellness, and relationships.
The Effects Of Our Smartphone Addiction
Many of us can’t even go 30 minutes without checking our smartphones. I’ve been guilty of this, and I’m making the conscious effort to stop, as it clearly can hinder a positive, productive, and yes healthy, day. I’ve personally dated a few guys who’ve had a smartphone obsession. They are checking that phone constantly instead of enjoying the moment one-on-one or with a group they care about. I’ve heard countless stories of significant others coming home from work and they are on the phone for a good 30 minutes instead of making a *real life and in-person* connection with the one they’re with. Take a moment and think: how does this help build a relationship?
Raise your hand if you are valuing your worth based on social media. From likes, to comments, to who follows us and who we follow back. When you see the likes skyrocket on one of your posts, it gives you that extra boost of confidence. Meanwhile, you may have something real and unfiltered right in front of your face. This could be your family, your significant other, your friends.
But what happens when our real relationships hit a bump in the road? We turn to social media to seek validation from outside sources, instead of pulling up our big boy and big girl pants to actually *communicate* with those we care about when the going gets rough.
How Media Has Detrimental Effects On Relationships
It Hinders Your Social And Communication Skills
Too many of us are just hiding behind a text or a “DM” – feeling confident enough to converse and reach out to someone through their Instagram or Facebook. It can serve its original purpose when you are first reaching out. But once it comes to ACTUAL one-on-one communication, it gets tough for many when meeting new people because their face-to-face social skills are rusty from underuse. It takes time to have an actual conversation with someone, see the reaction on their face, actually understand what they mean based on their body language and gestures. The whole texting epidemic can be a relationship killer because there is no voice reflection or gesture coming through. Texting can come across as impersonal and can be misconstrued so easily…analyzing and trying to “read into” things that may, or may not, be there. So if you’re reading this – pick up the phone and CALL whoever you’re dating for once and have an actual conversation.
It Leads To Wandering Eyes
When you are going through a rough patch in your relationship, where do you turn for validation? For some, it could be social media or one of the countless dating sites because heck, you know women/men will give you attention there. All of this makes it so much easier to literally run from or push away your problems, than communicating with the one you care about.
Also – the deal with all these dating sites. Yes they do serve a purpose, but that can go either way…negative or positive and the options are endless. Do any of us wonder how on earth we can feel content and keep a healthy relationship going when there is a dumpster truck of “potentials” just one swipe away when the going gets tough?
It Causes Us To Create Assumptions And Jump To Conclusions
I personally love and use Instagram, but let’s take this scenario into account: You are scrolling through Instagram and decide to check out the activity of who you follow, when all of a sudden you see the current dude you’re dating “liking” half naked women (and no, they aren’t at the gym). Does this feel good? No. Does this make him look good in your eyes? No. It makes you think that this is what your dude likes, girls half naked with tata’s hanging out. Don’t they know that it’s visible to the public when they decide who to follow, like, and comment on? Enough said.
That “like”, or new Instagram connection, or new FB friend connection could very well be completely harmless and there is no outside communication. But for all we know and for all we are thinking – this is someone that our partner is secretly talking to or seeing behind our back. It is incredibly easy to jump to conclusions when we see a Snapchat that looks suspicious, or “liking” activity that turns us off. But will we ever know the truth? No, we’ll probably just get into petty arguments based on this deeper rooted issue.
It Can Consume Us
We all need to admit it. It is incredibly easy to go down the black whole of becoming consumed with checking your boyfriend/girlfriends activity on social media to see who they are talking to or “liking” when they aren’t near us. This causes an incredible amount of insecurity and does not make us feel secure in the relationship. It then may get to the point where it consumes your day – constantly checking the activity of your significant other which just makes things worse. When we start to see social media activity that doesn’t make us feel secure, example: our dude sees us post a Snapchat with one of our guy friends (but for all he knows it could be some other dating prospect), we each start to question each other’s interest, or perhaps wonder if cheating is involved.
It Makes Breakups Worse
Our smartphones make breakups worse because obviously we see what our ex is up to at almost every given moment. It draws out the pain of that broken connection. But remember, social media is literally a filter on what is actually happening. It’s not real (well sometime it can be, but mostly is not). And let’s be honest, we also post things on purpose to show our ex, or someone we are trying to make the point “Hey, I’m doing just fine and dandy”.
The Physical Effects
We are a generation growing older with “text neck”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and it’s becoming an epidemic. Constantly hunching over your mobile devices does a number on your neck structure and can cause permanent damage if not corrected.
Take a break from your smartphone and laptop. Look up and relieve eye strain.
If you don’t take frequent breaks from your repetitive use of these devices, then you can end up with headaches, itchy, watery eyes, blurred vision and difficulty with focusing on your task.
We Were Wired to Have a Connection
Keep your #eyesUP and start to learn to live in the moment. Learn to appreciate who will ride or die with you in REAL life. Because before you know it, what’s real will be gone and all your social media options may not be what you chalked them up to be.
Matthew Lieberman, a social neuroscientist at the UCLA, wrote the book “Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect”. According to Lieberman, there’s a patterned system in our brain that wires us for social connection allowing us the ability to feel the emotions of pain and pleasure, being able to read these same emotions in others and also having a deep interest in being involved with other humans through shared interests, values and beliefs.
The way I see it, you can’t genuinely “feel” these emotions from another person through social media. Besides, we all love physical contact.
This post is in partnership with Murad and the eyeUP campaign. All creative direction / writing / opinions are my own.