Does Social Media Ruin Relationships?

 

“It goes down in the DM’s”

You’re addicted to your smart phone. I don’t blame you, because phones aren’t really phones anymore. They’re handheld computers that allow you to make voice calls when you can’t text, email, or FaceTime the person you’re trying to reach. They’re a crutch for when you don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to interact with people. It is a safety net you use when you’re surrounded by an unfamiliar crowd. Bored? Open up YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Periscope, Buzzfeed, or the latest game you’ve downloaded and immerse yourself. Forgetdmting your phone at home all day is a torture you would wish upon no one. Forgetting your charger leaves you in a slight state of panic all day. You better turn that brightness all the way down, close out every single app and keep all unnecessary usage to a minimum. Dropped it in the toilet? I bet you’re running to the nearest store to buy all the rice you can find. I hope you didn’t forget to pay your bill and now you’re shut off, because you’re not gonna be able to respond to the 2 text messages you received until your service has been restored. Your phone is not only your best friend, it is your lifeline and you can’t imagine what you would do without it. Not only are you provided with endless entertainment and up to date news at your leisure, you are also exposed to numerous platforms to interact with people whom you find interesting. Who needs Match.com when you have Twitter? Who needs BlackPeopleMeet.com when you have Tinder? Most social networking sites are free. There is no need for dating questionnaires or paying a monthly subscription fee. Your profile on the social media sites you engage in doubly serves as a dating platform, whether you want it to or not. Sure, you’re at family dinner but you just got a new match on Tinder and the chit-chat about your sister’s promotion can wait 90 seconds until you’ve responded to this new slice of opportunity that found his way into your inbox. You’re hooked and hopelessly attached to the internet. 

 

Charged Up

The ironic part about social media is that while the premise was to connect people, it actually disconnects us from those close to us. Go to a restaurant and notice how many couples and family members sit at a table together, but are actually absent because they are too distracted by their phones. We often don’t think about how being so engrossed in technology can affect our familial relationships in addition to our romantic ones. When I’m with family, at times I notice how while we are all sitting tumblr_o4er2qmppa1rpr5lvo1_500in the same room, we aren’t spending time together. Two people are on their phones, the others are watching TV, someone is on the laptop and the kids are on tablets. Rewind 20 years to when I was a kid and I was outside climbing trees, riding bikes and playing made up games with my sisters. My parents did not allow us to sit in the house all day, eyes glued to a television. How do we disconnect our kids when they use the same technology at school? With the direction the world is going in, I doubt anyone knows the answer to that question. Fortunately, my family is so close that we are never too far away from each other, mentally or physically. For a family that is not so close, I can’t imagine how weak the bonds must be with phones building up even bigger walls. Am I the only one who is afraid at how minimal human interaction will become as technology continues to advance? It really has gotten so ridiculous that I will be carrying dual conversations with the same person on two different apps. Weird, I know. You can’t use the excuse of calling someone and never getting a call back because if it is truly urgent, you not only will call but you can choose to Facebook Message, Tweet, email or do anything short of sending out a smoke signal. There are literally no excuses these days. With all these modes of communication, how has this damaged our romantic relationships?

“It’s Just Twitter”

Does social media ruin relationships? Do guns kill people, or do people kill people? Instagram didn’t ruin your relationship. Your cheating boyfriend did. It’s not Twitter’s fault that your girlfriend responds to every man that slides into her DMs. If social networks sabotage healthy relationships, why were people breaking up in the 90s? The only influence social media has had on modern relationships is that now a person has more avenues to cheat if that’s what they want to do. Everyday we are exposed to attractive people online who seem intriguing in some way. You don’t even have to leave your house to meet someone new. Once you hit the add or follow button, you can tune in all day. We have evolved, folks. Gone are the days when you can only talk to your side piece at work or late at night. Nowadays, you can be lying in bed with bae while he’s Snapchatting Becky. That’s scary. On the flip side of that, it is also much easier to get caught up. How did women back in the day find out their man was living foul? The classic lipstick on the collar or phone number was found crumpled in his pocket. If the lady was really bold, she would call your house phone. Scorned side pieces don’t have to resort to that anymore. Screenshots have solved that problem. Cheating aside, lets address pure speculation. If you’re caught flirting on the timeline or if some suspicious person keeps leaving heart eyes under your significant others photos, what is our classic response? “It’s just ____ (Twitter, FB, IG, etc).” mjI’ve said that several times. Sure, I saw those people as harmless, but the person I was involved with clearly didn’t. Why are we so insecure when it comes to our significant others online interactions? I think it has to do with having to visually see our romantic interests flirt with other people. When they’re not with you, you don’t know who they are interacting with, so it can’t really hurt much. For an insecure person, refreshing their timeline and seeing 15 tweets between you and Mr. Random could ignite some fury. Be aware, there is a huge difference between setting boundaries for your relationship and dealing with a person who can’t control their jealousy. I remember years ago when I first made my Twitter; I had absolutely no idea what I was doing so I was barely on it. My boyfriend at the time found out and acted as if I had signed up to be an escort on Backpage. Serious red flag.If you’re dealing with an insecure person, they will always find a way to let their issues shine through. You can’t hide your true colors for long. It will spill over from trivial matters on Facebook to who you’re texting, where you’re going, and is your Pizza Hut contact really for pizza or is it actually Betty. 

Addicted to Attention

While I do think it’s absurd to blame social media alone for ruining relationships, it does indeed play a part. It is apart of most of our daily lives so of course it would have an influence. Some people are so addicted to their online personas that they do not feel validated unless they have strangers telling them how good they look or co-signing their opinions. This reeks of insecurity. You can never love these types of people enough or give them enough reassurance to make them feel good about thtumblr_nzicgzchdl1u6b5qdo1_500emselves. This type of insecurity just leads to the jealous behavior that I spoke of above. I don’t think we realize how damaging it can be to depend on the internet to reaffirm the way we feel about ourselves. Not only is this sad, it is very annoying to be around. I’ve met men who are so caught up in their timelines, snapchat, and Instagram that I felt like I was basically hanging out with myself. Every 5 minutes he was making snapchat videos. That was followed be a selfie. In between, his phone was constantly going off. All the while I’m thinking to myself, for someone to be so social, he sure is acting anti-social. When you are getting to know someoneyese new, put your online interactions on hold. Not everything you think needs to be composed into a tweet. The vast majority of us are not Maya Angelou where our thoughts are so profound they must be immediately documented. The more you get to know someone, the easier it will be to tell if they are just the typical, engaged person, or if they are using social networks to boost themselves up. All you can do is take your time to peel back the potential layers of the person you are getting to know. Maybe the constant need for attention won’t bother you. Just be aware that a person who is an attention whore will most likely become your headache before it is all said and done.  

I Have a Confession. . .

“Keep your lust locked up in chambers, only those who pass your gates of love should be allowed to enter such levels.”

Celibacy. Self-imposed, maybe by default. After the months continue to go by, does it really matter the origin of the circumstance? I would know. I’ve done it. I’m currently doing it. Is it easy? No. Is there pressure? Duh.

I didn’t wake up one morning and have an epiphany that made me want to lock up the goods and hide the key. No one broke my heart, I didn’t have a rebellious phase that made me want to calm down. Before I knew it, it had just been awhile. And then an even longer while. Eventually I noticed that I  didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything so I figured why not keep going? Choosing to be celibate doesn’t mean you can’t date or enjoy the company of the opposite sex. We’re grown ups, it isn’t offensive to know that a man wants to have sex with you. However, knowing you aren’t giving out what’s so highly desired actually makes you feel powerful.


What’s The Point?

You’re not a virgin. He’s not a virgin. What are you waiting for? Everyone lately has had an opinion of Ciara and Russell Wilson’s vow of celibacy. Whether you believe it or not, this is what they are portraying. Why would two people who are attracted to each other and clearly have already established a bond put sex on hold? Apparently it was Russell’s idea, and after his previous marriage didn’t last duecc to infidelity, perhaps this was his method of ensuring his next relationship was the real deal. We’ve all had our hearts stepped on at least once and it sucks, to put it lightly. When you’re involved with someone and take sex out of the equation, you’re forced to view them as the person they are. Your judgement isn’t jaded by lust. Most people view celibacy as an undertaking of a single person so it is hard to understand why you wouldn’t want to connect with someone you’re in love with on such an intense level. I’ll admit, I don’t know how they’re doing it. It’s natural to want to get physical with someone you’re attracted to only on a physical level. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be totally in love with someone and remain hands off until marriage. What if you never make it to that point? What if you get there and realize you aren’t sexually compatible? Would you feel as if you wasted your time? If it doesn’t work out, do you leave the relationship feeling a sense of pride because while you invested your full 100%, he still didn’t have the privilege of sampling your most sacred possession? As a man, is this going to make someone’s true colors show faster? Most men would laugh at the idea of being celibate. If it isn’t for religious reasons, why would you voluntarily subject yourself to an indefinite period of horniness and sexual frustration? Furthermore, why would you continue it once you actually find the person who makes you want to settle down? Maybe we put too much emphasis on sexual gratification. A person has so much more to offer than what’s hidden in their jeans. Perhaps we should take more time to uncover what is in someone’s mind instead of trying to uncover what’s underneath their clothes.


 

Be Choosy

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You may have heard about how sexual energy can be transferred between two people. If you haven’t, click here. The more you interact with someone, the more you take in their energy. Think about that. If you’re dealing with someone that seems to be of low morality, questionable character, etc., you are allowing that energy into your body. I am a firm believer that negative energy impacts your life in negative ways. Is sex important enough that you will cloud your aura with negativity? There are people who have sex on the first night or in the early stages of meeting someone and have gone on to have successful relationships. The article in the link above explains that you must find a way to release the sexual energy of those you’ve engaged with that may not be very desirable. Until the person you are sexually involved with finds a way to cleanse their sexual energy as well, you will carry around all of their prior partners. Give it a read. It’s quite interesting.


I Have Needs!

Hormones are tricky. One day you’re feeling strong and like you have everything under control. Next thing you know, Mr. Potential texts you and asks about dinner and drinks. You start to feel a little weak. What do you do? Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Do you wlustant to sabotage all of your progress for one night? It really isn’t worth it. The majority of people that you come across will never make it past the stage of casual dating, so hold out. What’s even harder? Falling into a moment with someone and having to refocus yourself. I think that at times we overestimate our willpower. I also think that we are professionals at lying to ourselves. If you end up alone with someone you are attracted to, the temptation levels skyrocket. Add in alcohol and they shoot through the roof. In a perfect world, we would never put ourselves in a situation that would deter us from our goals.Don’t even allow yourself to be put into a situation that you know you’re not strong enough to resist. But do you ruin the moment by backing out once things get heated? Yes, that’s exactly what you do if you know this isn’t the right time. On the flip side, this could be a person that is passing all of your tests and meeting all of your criteria. In your mind, you could easily justify this the next morning. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that you allowed your horniness to cloud your judgement. You haven’t taken the time to reevaluate this person on your own time to decide whether or not the time is right. Furthermore, if this person begins to pressure you, then you already know it’s a dead end. A person who cares for you will never pressure you for sex. Period.


It’s Been Fun But…

When is the right time to end a period of celibacy? Do you wait until you find someone worth it or do you end it when the drought has become too much to bear? It really is a personal decision that should only be influenced by you. Personally, it will continue until I know I have found someone worth my while. No amount of horniness is worth several months of self-discovery, reflection and empowerment. While the opinions of others have never been a deciding factor on how I choose to conduct myself, people tend to respect any type of decision that is helping you better yourself. If your hormones have kicked you in the A and the vibrator just isn’t doing for you anymore, that’s fine too. Everyone is different. In no way am I putting down those who choose tkisso fully indulge in their sexual freedom. The beautiful thing about the time and place we live in is that there are no holds barred on whom you can be intimate with. The thing with women is that we often lie about what we want. Sure, a no strings attached arrangement may sound good, but deep down many of us know that we would always desire something more. Men catch feelings too, but unless you’re showing signs that you may be different, when they say they don’t want any of the extras, they usually mean it . Since that is normally the case, how about we take the time to expose someone’s true intentions by thoroughly getting to know them. Not having sex with someone won’t keep you from getting your heart broken. You can’t use celibacy as a shield from the scary world of dating. If you’re choosing this route, use it to empower yourself. Learn about what you want from someone without letting your hormones kick things into overdrive too quickly. Lust is controllable.

You’re Still Single?!

“The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.”

A pretty, smart thing like you, why are you still single? I know the boys should be lining up at your feet!” The more I progress into my 20’s, the more this question is asked, as if pretty and smart should be a shoe in for a healthy relationship. Not only am I asked this from family members and old friends, I ask myself this question quite frequently as well. Even though I ponder over my relationship status, it is not done in a mind frame of loneliness, desperation, or fear of my biological clock running out. Society tells us that after you finish your education and secure a decent job, the next step should be a serious relationship and thoughts of settling down. So, like anyone who is continuously exposed to something, these thoughts do surface from time to time.

The pressure on young women to settle down seems to be a consistent nagging voice in the back of our heads. I have made it a habit to tell these thoughts to shut up. Men typically do not face this external pressure from society to settle down and raise a family. They are encouraged to grow into their careers, date at their leisure, and finally choose their Cinderella. The terminal bachelor is not looked down upon with the same disdain as the old cat lady or spinster. If a man is single for substantial amounts of time, people believe the “I just haven’t found the right one” rhetoric. Chronically single women must have something wrong with them, right?

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Where’s Your Man At?

We see it on reality TV and probably in our own lives all the time. A taken woman’s favorite insult to throw at a single woman is “where’s your man at, though” or any similar phrase that is used to undercut a female because she is not in a committed relationship. Let’s break down all of the things wrong with this argument:

  1. Being Single Is Not A Character Flaw
    1. If you need the validation of a man to make you feel better about yourself, please reevaluate your self-esteem. You should be happy with yourself whether you are in a relationship or not.
  2. Alone Does Not Equal Lonely
    1. Believe it or not, there are people who choose not to date in order to better themselves personally, professionally, etc. It is better to bring what you feel is your best and to be happy with what you have going on before diving into serious relationships. If you’re unhappy, no one else can make you happy.
  3. Not Every Relationship Is A Healthy One
    1. All that glitters isn’t gold. Not everyone in a relationship is happy. We’ve all witnessed dysfunctional relationships. Being single is better than participating in a dysfunctional relationship just for the sake of saying you’re in one.

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Your Business Is Your Business

As we all know, people act like if you didn’t broadcast it on social media, it didn’t happen. Don’t give in to the pressure of wanting someone to show off on Facebook and Instagram. Even once you start dating someone, there is not a requirement that says, ‘must post one selfie of you and bae weekly to show its real.’ No matter your age, do not allow the internet to make you feel left out. This creates desperation and desperate people do desperate things! You will never yield the results you want this way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship, but chasing a relationship just to prove you are wanted is extremely shallow and it will not work.

If you put too much pressure on something, it will ultimately break. Do not break yourself in an attempt to prove you are worthy. If everyone seems to be concerned about your relationship status, ignore them. You owe no one an explanation. If you do not ever want to get married, that is your personal business. If your relationships never work out, who cares if people speculate about what your issues are. Of course the world would be a much better place if people minded their own business, but since they don’t, let them assume whatever they choose to. External pressure will never cease, so if you find that you’re 33 and still alone, so what! If you’re happy, be happy. If you’re not, then you have the power to change your circumstances. Do not allow Tumblr’s #ForeverAlone quotes to make you think you’re doomed to an eternity of only you and Netflix.

  “The years between 18 and 28 are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.”
-Helen Mirren

It’s finally here. Your 18th birthday. “I’m finally an adult now!” is what you think to yourself. You are “grown” and you will make your own decisions. No one can tell you what to do anymore. You may not smoke, but you feel a small surge of power because you can buy tobacco products. You can buy lottery tickets. You can get into a few clubs. For some of us, moving away to college is now on the horizon. You are finally free.

Oh, how naive you were.

Adulthood is not something you transition into overnight like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. Sure, there are perks. The independence of adulthood is always novel, but with independence comes responsibility. With responsibility comes stress. Stress over choosing a career, where to settle down; fear of failing and disappointing those close to us.

Our 20’s are spent trying to figure out what we want to do and where we belong. Turning 18 is just another birthday. We are sort of shoved into adulthood without even realizing it. If you are in your mid to early 20s and feel lost, stuck or just plain confused about life, you may be experiencing your quarter-life crisis.

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What am I Going to do With My Life?

If you are cool with mediocrity, you may never experience a quarter-life crisis. If you do have ambitions and having personal success is a goal, you will be able to relate to this post so keep reading!

Choosing a career or educational path may be the hardest component of conquering your quarter life crisis. Even if you went to college and earned a degree, you may graduate still with thoughts of “what am I going to do with my life” haunting you. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to know our passions from Day 1, so to find where our interests lie can take a bit of work through soul searching and exploring new hobbies and interests.

Figuring this out can prove to be quite challenging when the majority of us are stuck at a 9 to 5 job that is utterly dissatisfying. Yes, it pays the bills and the money may be decent or even great, but if sitting outside watching grass grow sounds more appealing than your job, it may be time to venture into greener pastures.

Take a class that sounds interesting, read a few books, travel a little more; anything that exposes you to new viewpoints and allows you explore mentally and socially.

The amazing thing about traveling is that it has a way of undoing that “stuck” feeling. If you are content with your job and not really interested in finding something new, or if where you live doesn’t offer the things you would like in a location, being able to travel gives you the opportunity to absorb the culture of other areas without having to commit to a move. If money is an issue, save! It is much more fulfilling to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 

Social media can be a self-esteem depressant. If you let it. Each day we hop on our phones and scroll through Twitter, Facebook &/or Instagram and have the accomplishments and accolades of others shoved in our faces. Aside from the typical online Debbie Downers, no one shares their lows. If you are not where you would like to be in life, personally or professionally, this can easily make you feel left out or as if you are failing at life. STOP. THIS. NOW. You may not even realize you are doing it, but if you scroll by Ballin’ Betty’s Instagram post of her new home purchase while you’re still living with 3 roommates, you may feel some type of way. Process those emotions and let them go. You are running your own race and are exactly where you are supposed to be in life because you are learning whatever lesson you are meant to conquer. Measuring yourself using someone else’s yardstick will never elevate you to where you hope to be. However, do not become complacent. Yes, you are where you are supposed to be but never stop striving to better yourself.  Just make sure you are doing it for your own personal growth and not to compete with everyone else. The grass is greener where you water it.

Life is not a race. Life is not a competition. People love to say “I’m not worried about what the next person is doing,” yet say to themselves, “I’m already 25, shouldn’t I be married or have a kid by now?” Thoughts such as those are indicative of a need to fit in with what society tells us are appropriate milestones for our age group. How boring would life be if we all did the same exact things as everyone else? Variety is the spice of life. We are able to learn from others who are experiencing different things from ourselves. Instead of comparing where you are to what a friend, acquaintance or random person is doing, channel that frustration into inspiration. We are all equipped with our own unique talents and abilities that can never be discovered unless we take the time to explore our own minds. You are your only competition and the only person you should compare yourself to is the person you used to be.

 

Fear

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Fear is an emotion that has allowed human beings to remain a species over the course of time. Without fear or a sense of danger, we would have been extinct long ago. In our personal lives, however, fear can paralyze us from taking risks because the fear of failure seems too great a burden to bear. During a quarter-life crisis, you have vivid visions of how you would like your life to be, you just have no idea of how to get there. Success takes work and risk, but what if you fail? You want to enroll back into school to study fashion design, but your research has told you this is a tough field to make a living in and you don’t want to rack up a bunch of student loan debt to end up unemployed. This is fear. You want to start over in a new city. You’ve done your research, taken a visit and can imagine yourself there, but in the back of your mind, you’re skeptical. What if you can’t find a job? What if you have to move back home and end up embarrassed? Fear strikes again.

The bright side of the confusion that comes with being in your 20s is that this is the best time to take risks and make mistakes because time is on your side. Mistakes are blessings if you learn from them. You can’t grow if you never screw up. Life is nothing but trial and error. There is only failure if you allow the disappointment you feel from a few bad experiences stop you from getting up and starting again. A large component of growing is the ability to listen and learn from the mistakes of others.

Many people lack the ability to listen. Thinking you know it all will keep you boxed in and you will continue to fail. The more you fail the more you will be held back by fear. It is a vicious cycle that will not stop until you can put your pride aside and take the wisdom from those who have been in your shoes before. If you do not have a positive role model in your life whose wisdom and advice you trust, pick up a book. Go online and search for the answers you’ve been looking for.

You are in a transitionary period in your life, but it does not have to a mental prison. The anxiety of not having any idea what to do with your life can take its toll, but it all depends how you choose to look at it. You can choose to feel lost, confused and scared. You can choose to see the adventure of what the unknown has to offer. You are an artist and the world is your canvas. Create your own masterpiece.