We live in the age of social media. We let it consume and somewhat run our lives. I mean good gracious, my family Thanksgiving dinner is now a Facebook event.
Social media has affected the way we engage and think about relationships. Take the app, Tinder for example. Tinder is basically Match.com in app form. I know couples that have met on Tinder. Social media makes starting a relationship ten times easier and light years faster. Now I’m not talking extreme cases like the reality show “Catfish” where you fall in love with someone you’ve never met and then realize you’ve been lied to the entire relationship. I’m referring to the growth of a relationship based on a Facebook status, a tweet, or through texting.
Flirting on social media comes down to the consistent “liking” of another person’s photo or status on Facebook, or in the Twitter-sphere, favoriting or retweeting someone’s tweet. You get that jittery feeling every time you get a notification that your “significant other” in question likes your photo. It’s a discrete way of saying, “hey you’re cute” or “I’m thinking about you.” The “likes”, tweets and statuses have become an important form of communication that in a relationship often turns into “flirting.”
I still remember being in middle school when we came back from recess everyone would check their desks to see if their crush wrote you a “love note” and hid it in your desk. Those crumpled up pieces of paper were our way of communicating feelings. Mind you, we were young and immature but then again, what middle school kid doesn’t have a Facebook or a cell phone these days?
Texting is the next step. The more you text someone the more you get to know them. It’s the “get to know you” stage of a relationship. The more comfortable you feel with sharing intimate things about yourself comes from the amount of time you have been texting someone. Can you really know someone so well from just texting? (Read: The Seven Deadly Sins of Dating)
After a while the casual “what’s up” text turns into “I like you” or an “I miss you.” Feelings have been developed from a message someone has sent you on your phone with little effort. It takes seconds to send a text message, yet somehow we take this to mean more than it really does.
Once feelings have been developed you suddenly find a sense of entitlement to that person. Jealousy, love, disappointment, longing and need come so much easier and way too fast. Seeing him with another girl is devastating, or god forbid he has a picture on Facebook with a girl that is definitely not his mom, sister or grandmother. All of a sudden you feel like he belongs to you when in reality he hasn’t claimed you and you haven’t claimed him. So when does the line get drawn between texting and dating?
After the said, “break-up,” dealing with it via social media has become a constant. The first thing we do is make a status or a tweet that has something to do with how we feel or what we are thinking. It used to be after a break up you called your best friend and she brought over ice cream and a bag of peanut butter M&M’s. You ate your sorrows away while watching the saddest chick-flick you could find. Now everyone on your friends list knows that you’re dealing with a break up because you put a depressing quote or an inspiring status about how it’ll all be okay one day.
Or there is always the art of staging pictures and faking your happiness in hopes that he sees it and figures that you’re fine without him, and doing much better than he expected.
When it comes down to it we use social media to start, continue, and end our relationships in ways that we don’t even realize. It has taken control of our thinking and the way we deal with relationships.