Are You Ready to Go “Social Media Official”?
So you’ve found someone special, and want to break the happy news on social media. But have you really thought it through? Here are some questions to reflect on, and dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
By Lin Peishan
Before changing that relationship status, or posting that cute photo of the two of you, ask yourself…
Are you and your partner prepared for scrutiny?
Going official on social media means that all of your friends, family and everyone else in their circles will know about your relationship. While that may be the point of sharing the news, it comes with the downside of public scrutiny, which may range from harmless gossip at best to hurtful criticism at worst. This can put strain on your relationship, especially if it is still in its early stages where you and your partner are just getting to know each other.
If your relationship is still at the infant stage, you should consider whether you and your partner are committed to it yet. Making your relationship public on social media while you are still buoyed by the initial glow – only to call it off quickly – can invite unwanted judgment on the both of you.
Have you and your partner discussed how much of your relationship to make public?
Find out each other’s comfort levels regarding sharing of photos, information and expressions of affection on social media. Setting boundaries and expectations early on can prevent awkward situations down the line where one person unintentionally shares information about the relationship that their partner is not comfortable with making public, or embarrasses their partner with too many enthusiastic declarations of affection.
You and your partner may also have different expectations of how couples should interact on social media. If the two of you place unequal importance on expressions of affection, it may result in a situation where one person misinterprets their partner’s inexpressiveness online as coldness and being less invested in the relationship. Establishing expectations at the outset can help you avoid such misunderstandings.
If you think you are ready, here are some tips to remember going forward…
Your friends and family do not need or want to know every detail of your relationship. As much as you would like to share your happiness, announcing every little moment can come across as annoying, obnoxious or even try-hard to others. If you constantly post about how wonderful your relationship is, others may assume you are compensating for a secretly troubled relationship.
DON’T broadcast the bumps in your relationship on social media
This is a bad idea, whether it’s openly complaining, posting passive aggressive comments about your significant other or direct confrontational interactions with them on social media.
The public nature of social media means you invite an audience to your relationship issues. People may judge, gossip and even take sides on your personal problems, and that can make resolving matters between you and your partner more complicated. It can also make it harder for the both of you to move on after making up, because people in your circles may not forget the dirty laundry you aired so quickly.
… and DO put your real relationship front and center before sharing about it on social media
Focus your emotional energy on building the personal connection between you and your partner, and enjoy your time together. Sharing your happiness should follow naturally from a genuine relationship, and not from any pressure to maintain a picture-perfect online image for the validation of your social media circle. At the end of the day, the relationship itself should be more important than its social media status.