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On Relationship Bragging per Social Media
Despite being off social media for both personal and business reasons, I've bottled up this rant for a good while, having witnessed it first-hand above all the other kinds of posts people/friends make. I have to hand it to the technological advancement of the Internet, given that it extracts and exposes various things about your own friend circle that otherwise you may not get an honest answer on, if you were to ask in person. Having done research on such topic, I feel like I'm not the only one who feels the same.
Since joining social media back as early as 1998, on messaging apps like AOL Instant Messenger, Xanga back in 2002, MySpace back in 2004, and Facebook back in 2007, I've noticed people have unknowingly resorted to thinking that an online profile is an extension of themselves—a platform to create an appeal in basking praise on the things they post/share, whether true or not. Aside from the crazy drama that has historically occurred online even up to today, along with juicy details others have found about someone, the raging waters seem to always find its calmness when it comes to online interaction. Part of this involves "impressing an imaginary audience," or realistically, rubbing the obvious to our faces, about someone being in a happy, loving relationship. Nevermind the academic accomplishments, getting a [new] job, owning/leasing a car for the first time, traveling and perhaps creating something that would otherwise require months of labor: What we, as friends, deserve to know, even if we don't want to, is to accept the assumption that we're dumb and unattentive to the fact that someone among our group is in a relationship and that they're happy. It's almost as if the universal odds were stacked against them, only to get something they presume everyone wants: A "second half."
Of course, anyone reading this off the bat, and disliking the topic of discussion, is thinking, "well, people can post what they want since it shouldn't bother anyone." Then I'd like to ask why it's appropriate for people to file complaints about the noises in their neighborhood(s). People can do what they want, right? Why not invite musical artists/bands for a week-long, live performance every 12AM in the middle of the streets at your residence, playing at decibels louder than a jet engine? That wouldn't be a bother, especially if you, or your neighbors, have children, and/or if you're assigned for work/school the next day. Even if you enjoyed the music, there's only so much 'noise' you can tolerate. Too much of anything is overwhelming, and changes must be made to curb some adjustment toward it.
Reason(s) people brag about their relationship
Every one of us remembers that one kid, who was so insecure and had low self-esteem, knowing s/he isn't capable of doing...well, anything. When it came to physical education and sports, some of us knew having that very kid on your team is bound for an automatic loss, over a moderately competitive exhibition game. After fully accepting the situation, there came a time when that very kid suddenly strung together crucial plays that helped your team win. It's one of those eyebrow-raising moments where you can't help but respect the kid for a job well done. After the game is done, s/he then brags about how they saved the team and their late-game heroics earned them respect from classmates and coaches. This respect then made the kid a "bragger," having to remind people that s/he was the savior that earned them praise and attention they loved, no matter what failures are bound for them in the near future. In order to uphold the attention they received, that very kid, since then, hasn't stopped mentioning their athletic performance(s), making them the center of scorn in using the respects earned to mask off their inabilities they knew they never had from the start. (Even if that kid deserved bragging rights, there's only so much that the avergae person can tolerate.)
Okay, perhaps that scenario didn't happen in such way exactly, but we all knew someone who did something similar.
Same goes with folks in a relationship. These folks never stop posting and reminding people that they're with someone who makes them happy. Doesn't changing your status to "in a relationship" enough for people to get a sense of what's new with you? There's this presumption, at least I think, knowing that anyone in a relationship knows you're happy without having to constantly remind everyone about it. This presumption also carries the thought that no matter how the couple clicked when they first met, their circle of friends just assume everything is going to be okay with them. After all, if that person, and/or their partner, are not doing okay, wouldn't be wise to separate and leave? Easier said than done, and I understand.
There's a difference between announcing and just telling people the obvious. The screenshot above is real. Wouldn't it be more sincere if she said that to her husband...face to face? Personally, for me, I don't need to know about it. However, just like that "bragging kid" I used as an example, it's like some badge of honor knowing you're now above everyone else. Does this mean that when you were single, you had no hope for yourself? Sounds like insecurity to me. Life is not a romantic comedy, nor is it a Hallmark movie. Not everyone acts in the same way as do the actors in such films, so why should you force your partner to become someone else in such way? Why expect your circle to swoon over the romantic posts you constantly share about your partner? Even if the couple were considered "cute," what makes them think they're any better than others? It's just a relationship, I mean, I've seen attractive couples, "okay-looking" couples, interracial couples, "May-December" couples, odd couples, young and old couples. While most of them have a story to tell about their relationship(s), Love brought them together. I'm sure we can agree that Love is Love, right? Okay, so if the bragging is justified, what makes that couple's Love better than everyone else's? Sounds like ego flexing from my perspective.
Let's take a look at some examples. Mind you, these are all real, from the words down to grammar:
• Happy Birthday to the most awesome, amazing, groovy guy out there. I love you so much and I can't wait to spend many more birthdays with you. (We should probably get out of bed now.)
• I got married this past year to an amazing man. He's my dream man. I know, it's a cliche, but I am not kidding. He treats me like a queen. He takes interest in my interests.
• I love you more than I could possible say on a FB post. So, cheers to 3yrs and I can't wait to get scared with you for the rest of my life.
Let's not forget when this circulated:
"Come on ladies, the challenge is on! If you have a man in your life who helps bring balance to your world, who isn't perfect but he's perfect for you, who works hard and would do anything for you, who makes you laugh but drives you crazy, who is your best friend and sometimes your only friend, who you want to grow old with who you are thankful for and truly adore, let him have a moment and put this as your status. (Copy paste this status and add a picture)"
That's all I could provide; I can't bare the pain anymore.
I'm not sure about you, but having read those posts make me feel there's some anxiety behind their words. If you want to look at it in another way, you get information about someone else's relationship without even asking them! It's like celebrity gossip: Nobody particularly has to know what a public figure is up to, however, all the juicy details are there for anyone to read and be up to date about. Only difference is that there are companies that profit off the rumors and personal details celebrities know they have to live with; As for regular folks, they don't have that status despite taking their privacy for granted, yet they feel the need to share and remind people that they're loved and are capable of being loved. Yeah..telling people that you're capable of loving and being loved—that most definitely is insecurity (lack of confidence, to be specific).
According to the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin published back in September 2014, they have stated the following: "We also found that daily changes in people's feelings about their relationship influence their Facebook posts. On days when people felt more insecure about their relationships than usual, they posted more about their relationships on Facebook." That must mean the "happiness" these people constantly mutter isn't a post based on pure happiness. Think about it: Doesn't telling your partner "I love you" sound more sincere and romantic IN PERSON, instead of on social media? Considering that, means those relationship braggers have an ego/reputation to protect. They want to know that they've made the right decision when choosing a partner, and know they have to live with their companion's bodily and mental imperfections, but that denial only solidifies the relationship bragging theory closer to fact. I even feel that those telling all of us, or even myself directly, that they're in a relationship is an insult because they're on the assumption that I'm dumb not to know about it...or I'm just dumb. Either way, I find it an insult.
Insecurity is a personal problem, not social injustice
It's sad that people's arrogance has led them to accept their own denial(s) and carry such issue into some social/political stance. It's no wonder why some writers swear that humanity's leading cause of death in the future won't be cancer nor heart disease, but their own arrogance. Yeah, because no matter what you say or do, it's someone else's fault—isn't that how people think today? Being unhappy with yourself and your partner is asking for trouble. Worse, these people parade on like their life is happy with their significant other, when in reality, they're both wasting each other's time. The worse part is these people's friends aren't doing anything to lead them to the truth. I know, no one wants to face reality and/nor the truth, but I personally believe we need to face them, and accept it straight on, in order to help us guide into better life decisions and a more stable peace of mind. Anyone who knows someone that brags about their relationship would be kind enough to let them know why bragging isn't healthy behavior. Oh I know, there are far worse actions being done and shared on the internet, but like my "noisy neighbor" example mentioned above, we may not mind but it's also hurting the bragger and their partner. While I can make time to give all sorts of relationship advice, as well as being able to love and accept the person you are, and knowing what it is you want in life, this post is more geared toward questioning why relationship bragging is even a thing. Granted, I don't think there's any blueprint mentioning this, dictating what you should and shouldn't do on the internet. The unhappiness in these people is clear as day, and again, they're living in denial not caring much about it. The attention, the jealousy, the envy, the praise...reap any reward(s) you can get because not feeling sure on the decision you've made, let alone not feeling any confidence if you partner feels the same as you do, may make you look bad toward your friends and family. No one wants to look bad over a decision they've made, right? Everything you do should be considered perfect with no criticism, is that right? Obtaining reassurance in how you and partner look together is also something that needs to be stated over and over until you feel secure, isn't it?
Lastly, some folks are thinking, "oh, Kris wrote this blog post cause he's jealous of those couples." Me, jealous? I'm glad you said so, because I'm in a relationship as well. That's right, Pumpkin and I have isolated ourselves from the world, and been keeping and sharing everything between us. Isn't that how it should be, at least? (Oh, she is not on social media too.) I'm also sure people think "quiet" couples like us stay silent because we aren't doing well, so that's fine. They are welcome to say whatever they want.
Respect your fellow neighbors, and keep the noise down. What you do in your relationship shouldn't be a problem, nor be a concern to others, unless you want everyone to know. In that case, you're responsible for the paparazzi-like "press interviews" you'll be getting yourself in to, the moment you and your partner call it quits. Sure, you can use social media's tools to hide posts to specific people, or to yourself, however, given the time people spend online, don't expect them to forget about it, and thus questions will be asked anyway. After all, people can do, and post, whatever they want! Make all the noise you want! Why care and provide any sense of respect toward others when the Universe revolves around you? Everything about you is perfect, and all the things you say are always right! The world requires that they agree with all that you do and preach about! Keep it up!
This is Kris speaking for Food For The Saints.