The rise of social media and its effects on relationships is undeniable. People search for connections, and social media sites are an accessible and easy way to interact with others. However, the increased use of these sites to connect has affected the nature of relationships. The more time you spend on social media, the less time you spend with those around you. How can you interact with your loved one if you constantly check feeds, stories, or videos?
The friendships or relationships you have with friends, co-workers, or significant others are often more profound than the connections on social media sites. When you sit down or engage in activities with a person, you create a bond. As a result, conversations become meaningful and authentic. Talking with someone means you can hear their voice, see their facial gestures, and read body language. People are often unfiltered in their conversations because an emotional or respectful bond exists.
Relationships in real life (IRL) take time and effort. You need to invest yourself in learning about the other person to know them. In many cases, as you learn more about your friend, you also discover things about yourself.
Real-life relationships provide vital emotional and physical closeness many people need. In addition, the support and bonds formed in IRL relationships can boost your emotional health. Engaging in activities with others can decrease feelings of isolation or depression. Another positive thing about IRLs is that you can call or meet up whenever you need someone.
Perhaps many of your friends on social media sites are friends from your real life, but that doesn't mean you have a meaningful relationship with them. How often do you see or talk with them outside of a social media site? If you say "often," you probably have a healthy balance between social media "friendships" and real-life friendships.
However, if you answered "not much," the lack of face-to-face contact with others can increase harmful emotions. Reflect on how often you go out with friends. Perhaps you recognize a lack of personal socializing. The deficit of face-to-face friends may indicate you're not engaging beyond a social media platform.
What you see isn't always what is real. Unfortunately, people don't always know the truth behind a person's Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube posts. Scrolling through social media can skew how you see your day-to-day life. Sure, life looks like fun for many people, but is it? People tend to filter their life to make them seem better. While you may see some truth in what a person posts, many times, the pictures or posts you see are curated, filtered posts that aren't realistic.
If you try to measure up to the pages or people you follow, you may become disappointed, depressed, or stressed about your life or relationships. Maybe you envy the life you see another person living and begin to resent your life, partner, or job. Resentment or jealousy can damage IRL relationships.
Ask yourself how much time you spend scrolling through social media sites. Your happiness can be affected by your scrolling habits. For example, scrolling through a significant other's feed or keeping an eye on who they interact with isn't beneficial to your mental health or the relationship. Watching who your partner interacts with or the posts they like can increase feelings of insecurity or suspicion. Take a break from social media and do something with your significant other.
An increased or excessive amount of time spent on social media sites can increase the likelihood of fighting with your partner. The research article “Cheating, Breakup, Divorce: Is Facebook Use to Blame?” discovered couples who have been together for under three years are at an increased risk of social media conflict. Another hazard in relationships is if you overshare on your social media pages.
The time you spend on social media is within your control. There are ways to heal yourself and your relationships, including:
Make a conscious decision to decrease your interaction with a screen and increase your IRL activities.
Get out there and enjoy what your community and loved ones have to offer. Explore new activities or join groups that share your interests. Most importantly, reconnect with yourself.
Pay attention to how you feel when you're on social media. For example, sometimes specific profiles can make you feel depressed, jealous, or angry. Block or mute those profiles from your social media.
Delete all of your exes from your feeds and pages. Following them and watching what they're up to won't help you heal. You don't need to see how they are or who they're with.
Practice self-care by being kind to yourself, finding meaningful activities, and reconnecting with friends and family.
Although social media is fun, it can end up harming your relationships. Too often, people base their lives on what they see on another person's page or feed. Because they judge their life on the success or glamour of another, they fail to recognize the amazing things they accomplished. The time scrolling through pages and sites takes away from in-person conversations, taking away the possibility of bonding with another on a meaningful level. Instead of becoming caught up in influencers, friends, or celebrities' lives, unplug, limit your time, or delete your pages. Find out what you are missing. A benefit of stepping away from social media sites is improving your mental well-being. SokyaHealth provides the coaching or self-care you need to help you unplug from social media and re-connect with yourself and your loved ones. Our coaches and therapists provide care tailored to your needs. To learn more about what SokyaHealth can offer you, call (877) 840-6956.