A few years back, I was in a pretty bad place. My boyfriend at the time, who I had thought would love me forever, had recently dumped me. Leaving me to become the original Taylor Swift — minus the songwriting thing.
In the days before social media existed, you would get over breakups the good old fashion way: by stalking his friends at their place of work while threatening for closure details and listening to sad songs on repeat. It was that simple.
Today, we have a lot more access to people via social media, which makes breaking up, moving on, and creating genuine connections a whole lot harder. Why? How many of us have found ourselves believing that what our ex or crush posts on Facebok is truth? How many of us have obsessed over the “like” he handed his high school sweetheart (who is recently single, might I add) when she posted a photo of her adorable pug?
It’s okay. Hi, my name is Nikki, and I’m a recovering Facebook addict, too. There was a time I had to limit my use to one day a week. Not surprisingly, it was my favorite day of the week.
If we use this technology for the wrong reasons, it’s easy to find ourselves caught in the world of make-believe online lives. But here’s the truth: the same way those romantic comedies only show us tiny snippets of what real romantic relationships are made of, Facebook (and other social media platforms) only gives us a peephole into other’s lives. And let’s not forget, the subject also curates what you see. So what you see is not really what you get.
Let’s put breakups aside and talk about creating new relationships with the added pressure of what we see on our favorite social network site. It’s natural to want to do research on the guy you gave your number to at the charity event. You friend request him or he sends you one, and then you begin your investigation.
At first, it’s all fun and games when you’re just browsing his photos, his liked pages, friends in common… you know, the norm. But as the days go by, you begin to build your online relationship, which without even noticing you start to mistake as your real-life relationship. And this is where things get complicated.
You begin to wonder why he throws you a “like” on the Spotify song you’re listening to, but hasn’t returned your text in two days. Slowly, you begin to justify his lack of attentiveness in the real world by giving value to the meaningless gestures he makes online.
Let’s think about this for a moment. How easy is it to click the “like” button? It takes no effort. Calling, emailing, and even texting requires a little more than that. Do you really want to date someone who puts that little of an effort into you? No, you deserve more.
If he were really interested, he would make a real-life effort. And those are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with — the kind of people who value you enough to make a respectable gesture that actually requires some thought.
There’s no need to judge a person for his social media activity. Just don’t throw him up on that pedestal, simply because you’ve decided to see what you want to see, rather than experience the truth.
The bottom line is, what happens offline is what counts. Don’t mistake him trying to kill some hours at work on Facebook as a genuine interest. I’m sorry, but you’re smarter than that. Gather your info based on your one-on-one time and the real-life gestures. And always remember, actions speak louder than likes.