The role of social media in bringing people together from all over the globe has been widely documented. Unfortunately, sometimes social media can have the opposite effect and actually drive people apart. One place I’ve seen this happen is with couples – while one partner becomes invested in social media, the other doesn’t understand it and objects to its place in their partner’s life. The good news is that relationships don’t have to be this way.
Here are a few suggestions on how social media mavens can stay close to a partner who doesn’t know a hash tag from a hash brown.
Inform Your Partner
The less your partner knows about social media, the more likely they are to be suspicious of it. Instead of leaving your partner in the dark, tell them about the friendships you’ve made online, the business connections you’ve established, and the fun you’ve had. Explaining to your partner what you get out of social media is so important. If they understand how it is benefiting your life in a very real way, they will be more likely to accept it.
Make Your Partner Feel Valued
Part of a partner’s dislike of social media may be rooted in the feeling that it is taking away from your relationship. Have you ever turned to social media before your partner to share big news, seek comfort, or discuss key events? If so, that can be hurtful to a partner. Even if they never find out you went to social media first, your lack of enthusiasm when discussing the issue with them for the second (or third or fourth time) will show. Go to your partner first to discuss the important things, and make it clear that they come first.
Be Honest With Yourself
Are you spending too much time on the computer? Is it taking away from your relationship? Has it become somewhere you go to escape the problems with your partner? If so, it is important that you be honest with yourself and take action to rectify the problem.
Keep Relationship Issues Off-Line
Venting about problems with your partner or your in-laws online can be tempting, but it is a very bad idea. Should your partner (or one of their friends, family, or co-workers) stumble across a tweet or post that is critical of them or their family, they will forever hold a grudge against social media and your participation in it.
Set Times To Be Off-Line
Establishing clear times when you turn off the technology and focus on your partner is important. Some great times to do this are when you have dinner, when you see each other for the first time after work (no one wants to walk into the door to find their partner focused on their computer), and before you turn in for the night.
Social media, as we all know, is awesome, and needn’t cause any trouble with your relationships. All it takes is a little bit of effort to ensure that you live in harmony online AND off.