Navigating a Social Media Disconnect

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What to do when your partner's social media habits are different from yours

A friend of mine is a fairly well known blogger with a large social media presence. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, barely ever posts anything. In fact, he's a borderline Luddite when it comes to social media. Given such social media disparity, you'd think that it would be a source of tension between them. But it isn't. Not at all. In fact, when it comes to her Instagram account, he is often the one behind the camera. The reason that it works so well between them is that he understands how important social media is to her career, and rather than bemoan the situation, chooses to help her so that she can flourish in her work.

Another couple I know is in a similar situation, only the boyfriend steers entirely clear of social media, even hers. But it works for them because she respects his desire to avoid it all, even going so far as to create a secret hashtag for him so that he isn't ever officially tagged in posts. Though both couples take different approaches to navigating their social media disparity, they are similar in the way that they empathize with their partner's choices.

Given the wide range of social media approaches today, it can often be a source of tension in a serious relationship: one loves it while the other wants no part of it. The problem with differing approaches is that, unlike tastes in movies or food, if one person is really into it, the other is by default roped into it as well. If your boyfriend or husband is posting his entire life on Instagram, chances you're going to show up in a lot of those photos too. Which is why it helps when both parties in a relationship understand and respect the other's view on the subject. Obviously neither person should be forced into doing what they don't want to do, but that said, a little bit of compromise can certainly go a long way.

Which is why I like the two stories from above; both of them reflect a bit of compromise on their approaches to social media, but not so much that either party feels as if their hand is being forced. In a way, navigating social media disparity is a great little microcosm for navigating the bigger picture of a serious relationship. It's up to both parties to understand that they are a unit now and not a lone wolf who can do whatever they want. And being able to compromise a bit on either end of the relationship is going to go a hell of a long way in ensuring that it lasts. Once you throw it in together, social media, just like the relationship itself, has to become a “we" enterprise, not an “I" one.


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