social media

Social media and modern relationships: A new phenomenon

Scroll through your Facebook newsfeed for a minute – now, how many statuses or generic baby pictures made you cringe?

It’s so accessible these days to browse through all your social media accounts with the swoosh of a fingertip, but how many of these ‘friends’ do you actually care about? How many could you call late at night for a lift or would happily lend a tenner to? If you can’t count beyond ten, then perhaps it’s time for an online ‘friendship’ cull.

Modern Relationships are awkward

Personally, I feel social media friendships add a level of awkwardness to modern relationships. It is now a normal conversation topic to discuss who you’ve blocked, removed or unfollowed as it actually means something in today’s society. An ‘unfriending’ is 2014’s equivalent to experiencing a shunning in the street or a bitchy comment overheard behind your back. 

It’s also interesting to question how we know those on our contact list and if we’ve ever actually looked at their profile. If you can’t remember either, then you know what to do – your friend count will take a hit, but you may take more interest in browsing online if you actually know who you’re reading about. 

Are modern relationships all doom and gloom?

However, with the simplicity of searching for and connecting with old work or school colleagues, it’s so easy to become virtual acquaintances with someone and stay up to date with their life, depending how vocal they choose to be from behind their laptop screens of course. I personally love this about the internet.  Wherever you are in the world, you can check in with those you love and distance is less of an issue. Despite this appreciation of social media, it isn’t always plain-sailing. An old acquaintance who I hadn’t spoken to for many, many years popped up online one day and I decided to remove her – as we were no longer friends, I had no interest in pictures of her at festivals feeling ‘at one’ with nature and over-doing face painting.

However, this action caused my inbox to light up. Within less than a week, she had bombarded me with messages demanding to know why I had removed her. When I explained that we weren’t actually that chummy any more, she denied this and stated we were still friends. Cue six months later, and we hadn’t spoken after re-friending each other so once again, I hit the ‘remove’ button. I just didn’t see the point in maintaining this fake friendship, but this was just one of many on my account.

An Awkward Spiral

We’re also faced with the uncomfortableness of having to accept or follow new ‘friends’, when they straight-up ask you to add them and you can’t think of a good enough excuse on the spot to say no. Back in the days B.I., (Before Internet), we wouldn’t be forced into unnatural situations such as these and you could simply choose to avoid them and no one else would know. 

Let’s be honest – we all have that one friend online who we can’t remove – either their profile is just too entertaining for all the wrong reasons, you’ve kept them on your account out of pity or it’s an ex that you find yourself snooping on after one drink too many. Enough now – delete these oddities and breathe a sigh of relief!

Here’s a video of Ellen DeGeneres commenting on real Facebook statuses that viewers sent in. You’d be lying if you said you couldn’t relate to these!

Is this social phenomenon something we should just accept – that we’re stuck with unwanted ‘extras’ in our lives who insist on commenting and ‘liking’ absolutely anything we choose to share online? Who knows – the next big thing on social media could be a platform where you only have to mix with those you actually care about. Imagine that…

What do you think about modern relationships? Does social media make it hard to stop speaking to people? Write your thoughts below.