So many of my clients ask what I think about Facebook and social media. I have to be honest, at my age I don't consider myself to be a social media guru, but I do know something about good decorum. Just because we are in a digital age doesn't mean that manners go out the door. The same etiquette that you apply to everyday life should be applied to social mediums. As a matter of fact, you might want to tread the waters even more carefully when it comes to social media and putting information and opinions on a public forum. Regardless of your "settings," things that are put onto a medium with billions of users should be looked at with caution.
It's estimated that over 1.3 billion people use Facebook today and half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. Knowing this, it boggles my mind when I see the types of posts that people put on their status updates. I've seen so many people complain on their social media about their relationship drama as well as call out their significant other for doing something they didn't agree with. Later they come back to me telling me how humiliated they felt when the relationship ended and everyone knew. My response: "You had it coming."
I'm not saying a little banter on Facebook isn't fun, but know when things become rude and insensitive.
Here are my top five rules for using social media while in a relationship:
1. Never put your relationship problems as a status update.
Telling all your "friends" via a "post" that your boyfriend forgot your birthday again won't win you sympathy, but it will earn you some pity points, and no one wants to be pitiful. Social media is not the place to address hurt feelings or wrong-doings, the best and only place this should be discussed is IN PERSON. Unless you are in a long distance relationship in which case I would suggest Skype, FaceTime or a phone call. Let your significant other know that they hurt you, find a resolution and move on. Putting it on a social medium so everyone can see only makes it that much more hurtful and permanent. It becomes harder to move past an issue when everyone knows about it.
2. Stop posting selfies of the both of you kissing.
It's just plain weird. Not many people are fans of PDA's because no one wants to see you swap spit with another human being and honestly, the cutesy kissy pics get old too if you are constantly posting them. Your friends get it -- you're happy and want to show everyone -- but why not just live in the moment and enjoy it for what it's worth? How can you really enjoy that kiss when you were too busy trying to capture it on your phone? Don't be so concerned that people SEE that you're happy, be concerned about actually BEING happy and enjoying the company of who you are with. When I am on a date, I like to turn off my phone or even leave it in the car so that I am not pulled away from my special time with my special someone.
3. Stop posting so many sexy selfies.
Having a body that you're proud of or an outfit that you confident in are great, but if you're constantly posting pictures of yourself in a bikini and you're not heading to the beach or in a towel in the bathroom, red flags go up. Your partner might wonder who you're trying to impress and it also begs the question if you are in constant need of attention.
4. Don't post pictures of wild and crazy nights out.
This may seem a bit on the overly sensitive side but hear me out. If you are in a new relationship and relationship statuses have not been changed, this might alter the great course that your relationship is headed. Ladies, if you post pictures of yourself dancing on tables or bars with "the girls" expect to be taken as the "party girl" that you are portraying yourself to be. Not many men want to be in a relationship with a party girl. Men, same goes for you. If you post pictures of a night out on the town with scantily clad women on your lap, don't expect a call from that really nice woman that you had an incredible date with.
I get it, it's all just a bit of fun and you were just hanging out, but you absolutely need to take the feelings of the person that you've been dating into consideration.
5. Facebook is not your misery diary.
This falls along the lines as the first rule but it extends far beyond relationship woes. Social media is exactly that, SOCIAL. When we are in a social setting with large groups of people we normally don't go on rifling about how lonely we feel, how depressed we are, how we can never find love, etc. This applies to social media as well. No one likes a negative Nelly. Being negative on social media can influence how people view you -- especially someone you are dating. So keep it light, fun, and social. If you wouldn't talk about it in a room full of 300 people you happen to know then don't post it on a social medium with the potential of 300-plus people seeing it.
My overall advice for social media is to lay off of it and enjoy the real world. Get outdoors, enjoy the day and the people around you.