A Few Things I've Realized About Relationships and Social Media

Hello, my loves. Sorry for the weekend absence. I had a migraine/some sort of unidentified illness all weekend which meant that I could only do the following: lie in bed, drink green tea, lie on the couch, sleep, fall asleep while trying to watch Gladiator. Here are things I could not do: go to the gym, clean the apartment, go to TJ Maxx (lasted about four minutes, wanted to cry) or write.

My semi-conscious, Aleve-fueled state led me to some interesting thoughts. Most of this began because I read a fact on Uber Facts (my new favorite Twitter account) that said that we focus mostly on the negative traits in others as a way to protect ourselves. Who knows if that’s really true, but it’s an interesting concept. And it kind of makes sense. We focus on others’ flaws so we don’t let them get too close and have a chance to hurt us. In my mind, it makes sense. This got me thinking about relationships. It’s so much easier to think, “WHY does he (insert annoying thing here) all the time!?” as you skip over the fact that he does some other really nice thing that makes you smile. I know as a person I hold myself to high standards. I want to write all the time, talk to all my friends, go to the gym, read, take guitar lessons, and do all of these things. When I don’t have time/energy for all of it, I get aggravated with myself. I also hold other people to very high standards. To a certain extent, this is good. You should expect that your partner will treat you well. But you have to remember that you are not perfect, and neither is anyone else. People also can’t read your mind. Your expectation of how a situation should play out isn’t necessarily how someone else will view things. Instead of focusing on someone’s negative traits, it’s important to remember all of the dozens of great things that person has done for you.

For example, today I was aggravated that Chris didn’t want to come to the grocery store with me. I always go to the grocery store alone and do all of the shopping for the apartment. Normally I don’t mind it, but I was still feeling sick and weak and generally “blah” and I wanted him to come. He hates the store and didn’t want to go. I was annoyed. Was it a huge deal? No, but I wasn’t feeling well so it seemed like a big deal at the time. Then I remembered that he laid around with me all weekend while I was a useless, migraine-y fool. He got me green tea from Starbucks since staying hydrated is really important when I get a migraine and I was sick of drinking water non-stop. Those were two very nice, very considerate things. They definitely made up for his opting out of the grocery store trip. Focus on the positive, not the negative. No one is perfect and no one sees a situation exactly like you do. Also, weigh what’s really a big deal and what’s a small, insignificant thing.

Just something I’ve been thinking about and thought I’d share. Also: Facebook is totally fake. Like, insanely fake. I was looking through one friend’s album of a great, tropical vacation she went on with her boyfriend. Literally moments later she sent me a text talking about all the problems they were having. If I judged strictly on Facebook photos, they were blissfully in love. In real life? Not so much. Another example: another friend and her man posted love notes on each others’ walls non-stop. Almost had to defriend them because it was getting out of control. Notes of eternal love and devotion. I felt like a creep for seeing/reading them, that’s how private and intense they were. A month later they were broken up. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors. This isn’t a knock on my friends, I’m just saying that it’s hard to judge a situation when you don’t know the full story. Or only see the best parts of it (the “highlight reel”, if you will).

Everyone who posts something on there knows that other people are going to see it. It’s like any reality show. It is reality…kind of…with a twist. So just keep that in mind, and don’t let yourself compare your relationship to others that you may see/read about on Facebook. Because chances are you’re not seeing the entire story. I just read this quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I really liked it. It’s so true, especially in this very social media-based life we all lead. You’re sitting at home wishing you were one of your other Facebook friends, while that person may very well be sitting at home thinking the same thing about you.

In a way, I think relationships that aren’t very heavy on the social media tend to fare better. Chris HATES Facebook. Like, rarely goes on it. At first this used to bother me. During the day I work in social media, so it’s a huge part of my life. I used to feel like Chris was ashamed of our relationship or didn’t care or something because he didn’t write on my wall. Then I was like, “Wait…I’m a fool. He just hates Facebook and would rather text me or tell me he loves me to my face. This is normal, considering our relationship is between us.”

I’ll still write on his wall sometimes, but social media isn’t a big part of our relationship and I like it that way. People who detail their whole lives on social media are either lacking something in real life or are in serious need of attention. If you have a good relationship, you don’t need people to see it on Facebook. You know it and the other person knows it and that’s what matters.

How do you balance social media and your relationship? What about focusing on your partner’s positive traits instead of the not-so-great ones?

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Comments

  1. I am a firm believer than 95% of what people post on Facebook are lies. Everyone wants to make others jealous of their happiness or awesome life. There are girls I know who purposely write on certain people’s walls to try to make couples get angry or ruin friendships.

    As far as the Facebook and relationship goes, I totally agree with you as well. It’s important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to using social media.

    • ljmlevine says:

      Hi Rachel, I absolutely agree with you. It’s kind of sad that people post things on Facebook keeping in mind how these things will look to other people. It’s hard to believe that ten (even five) years ago, no one knew what Facebook was. Facebook is great and useful, but it’s so important to remember that not everything is as it seems on Facebook. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone and everything. A well-placed Facebook detox is crucial every now and then.

  2. It used to bother me that my boyfriend and I never interacted on facebook, but eventually I realized that it was really dumb of me. Almost everyone I want to interact with I do through text, email, or phone and basically only write Happy birthday messages on facebook. And I would much rather communicate in a more personal way.
    As for the focusing on the positive thing, I recently had to learn this lesson AGAIN! Things have been a little rough in our relationship and every time I would finally get to see my bf I would be angry/frustrated and let it ruin our time together. But I realized that if I can just let things go and enjoy the time it is so much better. Of course, we still have things to talk about, but I know I am not going to solve any of the problems when we are hanging out with a group of friends.

    • ljmlevine says:

      Hi Alyssa! I feel the same way about Facebook. I’ve found that since I’ve graduated I rarely use Facebook to talk with friends. It’s mostly for mild stalking purposes. Focusing on the positives can definitely be a struggle, especially when you’ve been dating someone for a while. I feel like we hold the people we love the most to the highest standards, and sometimes that’s not fair. But that’s the way it is. But you’re right. If you can let things go and pick your battles it definitely does make your time together more enjoyable. This is my first serious relationship so I feel like I’m still learning these things. It’s definitely a learning experience so it’s really helpful to hear how other people approach things and what they’ve learned in their own relationships. Thanks for the comment!

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