We live in a society where everyone, even the youngest, has a social media profile. Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, chances are you are using one of them yourself. And there is no denying that they play a vital role in our life. For many, it is the last and the first thing we see throughout the week. We wake up we check our phones and we go to be also checking our phones. No wonder that the effects of social media on relationships are substantial.
Indeed, research shows that on average, a person typically spends upwards of two hours on social media. This is more than enough to affect the way you communicate with your significant other, study shows. This is also the reason why we decided to invite a professional psychologist. Today we will be covering all kinds of relationships and social media questions in hopes to get some practical advice. So, join us as we uncover all the nitty-gritty details of social media effects on relationships.
Joe Berik is a social media and relationship expert with a degree in psychology. Joe is helping individuals and couples combat all kinds of relationship issues and is currently studying the effects of social media on interpersonal connections.
Q: What are the effects of social media on interpersonal relationships?
A: There are many effects of social media on interpersonal relationships. For starters, social media websites are effective in bringing people together but they are (paradoxically) just as effective at alienating them. A typical example would be when a couple is sitting at the bar but each of them is starring at their smart device. They are together physically but mentally, they are miles away. This alone can hinder the progression of that relationship.
Another issue is the fact that social media platforms develop hyperconnected syndrome. What it means is that people who constantly stay online have a hard time disconnecting. These people have no patience and they need to stay online at all times unless they are sleeping. It is a drug, an opiate of this generation as it prevents thought. This inability to drop the device often results in arguments, fights, and ultimately, break-ups.
A: The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have the convenience of talking to your loved one remotely, but on the other hand, you have a time-consuming portal that doesn’t have an end. The more the Internet becomes advanced, the harder it is to get detached from it. It is no longer a means of communication. It’s a workplace, it’s an entertainment hub, it’s a shop, and it’s a phone. And that’s not all, today social media and relationships are tightly connected.
How many times have you heard someone found a date on the Internet? Or how someone met their wife online? Today, it is hard to avoid the Internet as it is practically everywhere. This poses a problem for those people who aren’t keen on meeting strangers online, as well as it is an issue for those people who want a little bit of more privacy.
Q: Social networks can influence people through contagion. What does that mean?
A: This is one of the most popular questions. And thankfully, one of the easiest to answer. First off, this theory falls under social media and interpersonal relationships umbrella. Contagion is best understood when applied to a real-world situation. Imagine, every time there is something bad happening in your close circle, you will feel it. It can be anything, from different opinions to arguments to fights.
Another case is when a person is following a specific community, he/she will have certain opinions, behaviors, and attitudes regarding certain subjects. If your opinion is different or somehow discredits theirs, then you will most likely have a hard time communicating with said person. This can pose an issue and will put your relationship at risk due to you not belonging to their community.
Q: What is the Relational Dialectics Theory?
A: The Relational Dialectics Theory, or RDT in short, is a theory that aims to explain how certain communication patterns arise within a relationship, namely tension, struggle, and resolution. When online, it is critical that both individuals set a boundary between “we” and “I” and should go online and what should stay private. Not having these rules established can lead to all kinds of issues. But there’s also balance. Couples need to share just enough information to others so that questions regarding the authenticity of the relationship won’t arise again. Good communication and understanding are key to solving this particular issue.
Q: Clearly, the Internet affects the way we communicate. Does it have something to do with jealousy provocation?
A: One of the most damaging things about the Internet is the fact that it can influence our mood in a negative way. Social media changing relationships as a fact is not new but what is new is that social media is capable of evoking jealousy. One social media and relationship study proves that there is a ton of different factors that can evoke jealousy. Posting photos where you are attending a memorable event or visited an exotic county is considered to be popular content.
And when so much weight is put on likes, retweets, and comments, no wonder that some people will feel jealousy. If your profile has a ton of online activity, you are viewed as someone who is worthy of following. This can put a lot of pressure on your significant other who is less popular.
Q: How social media affect romantic relationships?
A: The answer is pretty straightforward, they aren’t immune to the effects of social media platforms. Many old-school romantic couples used social media platforms before. From a specialized dating site to a dedicated photo sharing platform such as Instagram, chances are said couples are using them as we speak.
The reason why they still use these platforms is pretty simple, they could be changing their relationship statuses or sharing their life experiences with others. They’ve most likely forged a social circle that they can’t leave behind or feel responsible for certain things. These couples are less involved but saying they weren’t affected by social media would be inaccurate as most of them are still active online.
We could continue this conversation but that would probably take us all day, so we are stopping here. If you like what you see and want us to share more expert opinions, be sure to let us know. But in the meantime, see you soon!