The real title of this post is: “Relationships in the age of social media.”
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. I’ve seen some relationships flourish and flounder from my front row seat on Facebook and Twitter. To get the full perspective we should back up a bit. In the 50’s, you went “steady” or you wore their “pin.” In the 60’s you avoided labels, you were just “groovy.” In the 70’s, you we’re their “Cool Cat.” In the 80’s relationships were “Totally bitchin'” and in the 90’s, there were all sorts of labels to define what your relationship was, and a couple of really awesome breakup songs.
Then came Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.
Having recently entered a relationship, I was excited to update my Facebook status. To what, though? The two of us had to have a discussion to what this really meant. Not only were we in a relationship, but how public did we want this to really be? Declaring a relationship has now been given this extra punctuation mark of Facebook. What that means to each relationship is different for everyone. Is it a Period? Is it a question mark, “it’s complicated?” Or is it an exclamation(!!) point?
After you negotiate what and if you’re going to change your status to something, then you have to ask the question if you want to attach the name to it. It’s not if you’re comfortable or not, it’s if you can handle the attention. I tend to live my life in the wide open. I share a lot with you people, all 50 regular readers, but I have 900+ friends on Facebook. Half of those Facebook friends, I’m sure, never see me on their walls, they would never know that I’m in a relationship, or that I’m pretty happy, or that I post a quote of the day, every day. What happens when the person you’re dating isn’t as public, isn’t as comfortable with the media-glare? Relationships are hard enough without the added eyes.
Interesting enough, that’s not the end of it. I’ve never been a fan of public displays of affection, (PDAs,) although, I think there’s some appropriateness of sharing your relationship on these networks. A great example, I ran across the other day: In the above example you’ll note that there’s a hint of playful, some serious whimsy, and even if you didn’t know them, and I do, you’d think, “that’s sweet, and kind.” It’s not forced.
Too many times, I have seen relationships where the people involved are repeatedly publicly posting how happy their significant other has made them, how truly wonderful they are, how special they feel, how blessed they feel.
The single me would roll my eyes, choke down the bile accumulating in my throat, and move on. The me who is currently in a new relationship, wonders: “Are you telling me, or trying to convince me?”
You know how great a relationship is from the outside on how very little you see being thrust in your face. A good relationship makes you think, as an outsider, “Aw, that’s cute,” not, “Oh god, really?”
Others will celebrate your relationship because they see from your conversation how much you respect and adore each other, not because you have to tell them everyday how amazing they are. PDA’s on social media are even more obtrusive. It’s worse than your neighbors at your local bistro swapping their gum without using their hands.
Just something to think about when you’re talking to your significant other in public forums. Is it something that if you saw from the other side of the table, would your response be: “UGH!” or “AWW!”
In case you’re wondering, I love you all and I think you’re fantastic and I want to celebrate your relationships, but I just don’t want to gag on them.