Is the #WorldsBestBoyfriend really the best?
Status update: New research backs up your suspicion that your Facebook friend’s perfect relationship might not be so perfect after all. According to a recent study, individuals who feel more insecure about their partner’s feelings tend to make their relationships more visible on Facebook than those who feel secure in their relationship.
This phenomenon was studied by researchers who asked 108 couples to keep a diary about their relationship for two weeks. Then they compared the diary entries with their Facebook posts. They found that when individuals felt down about their relationship, the number of wall posts, status updates and photo comments related to the relationship increased.
“On a daily basis, when people felt more insecure about their partner’s feelings, they tended to make their relationships visible,” researchers wrote. “These studies highlight the role of relationships in how people portray themselves to others.”
Social media can alter our sense of reality, according to Sarah Katula, Ph.D., an advanced practice nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. In some cases, the social networking phenomenon may cause mental health problems.
“Looking at status updates, pictures, social posts of what people are doing can cause those who are less secure to feel ‘out of the loop,’ disenfranchised, not as good looking, somehow ‘less than,’” said Katula. “Because we post pictures when we’re happy and beautiful, not when we’re struggling, this may lead some to think that ‘everyone else’s life is better than mine.’”
To avoid these negative feelings, Katula recommends that individuals evaluate their social media use by asking these four questions:
1) How much time do you spend on social media sites?
2) Are you comparing yourself to others?
3) Are you isolating yourself from family and friends?
4) Are you finding yourself more comfortable behind the screen rather than in front of people having a real life experience?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to these questions, it may be necessary to take a break from social media sites. When you are on Facebook, just remember that the #pictureperfect relationships being posted may not be so perfect after all.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.