Originally published on PhiladelphiaMFT

With the average user spending over 6 and half hours a month on sites like Instagram and Facebook, it’s no wonder social media has become one of the easiest ways to meet, communicate, and keep up with people. Even though social media has its benefits when it comes to connecting with others, it also has its draw backs specifically in the realm of relationships.

Presenting problems that I’ve seen over the past years in terms of social media include an increase in trust issues with a partner’s use of social media, an inability to effectively communicate in person or misunderstanding what was posted on a social media site, and a person’s need for instant gratification or a response when someone posts something online. If you’ve experienced any problems involving social media and your relationships, here are four ways to improve your social media usage and avoid potential problems:

1. Improve Communication
Learning how to discuss matters in person with people you interact with is important. You can’t take everything to social media and you’re more likely to misunderstand something that was posted online. Actually seeing a person, reading their emotions and facial expressions when they speak can help you understand what it is they’re trying to convey when they’re talking to you. All of that is lost online unless you’re video chatting.

2. Establish Boundaries
Be mindful and respectful about what you post, especially if it has something to do with your friends, family or partner(s). Not everyone is going to share the same level of openness or limits you have when it comes to posting things online. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation about it.

3. Develop a Balance
It’s important to establish a healthy offline presence. Make sure that you’re spending as much time offline with friends, family, and partner(s) as you are online. Also be mindful of how much time you’re online when you’re out and about. If you’re spending time with someone, limit how much you use your phone to access social media. Enjoy the present moment.

4. Increase Your Awareness
Stop and think before you post something online. Regardless of how high your privacy settings are, take a moment to think about how the post or image would be viewed by others or if it would negatively impact you.

Social media’s meteoric rise over the past decade has impacted our relationships and the way we communicate on and off line. Social media should be something that you enjoy, not something that is wreaking havoc on your life and relationships.

  • balance is key. everyone can spend so much time on social media that at times, they lose touch on the real world

  • Having quality time is indeed a must for every relationships. So putting up social media or phone behind your bags is a way to make sure you are really spending time with each other.

    • I find putting my phone on do not disturb helps too.

  • Leah Shafik

    Me and my wife take time out to spend time together offline. It really does help our relationship as we communicate really well x

    • That’s so good Leah-I need to be better about it!

  • This was such an interesting article. I guess I do spend more time on Instagram than I should, but I do try and have a balance between social media and my family. I hope I get it right x

    • I’m addicted to Instagram too!

  • Well put, it is all about respecting each others boundaries and if your spending all your time online then that is not healthy. It is about creating a fine balance between the two x

  • Beautyqueenuk

    I agree with boundaries when it comes to social media, it can become too consuming x

    • It’s so time-consuming!

  • I think it’s really important to have boundaries with social media, this is really great advice.

    • Thanks for commenting Jemma!

  • I am pretty sure I spend more than 6.5 hours a month on social media sadly but I try to not use technology when I am with other people unless it’s something quick or a neccessity x

    • I know spend about 6 hours a week on social so I know I need to be better about it too.

  • Chloe Griffiths

    I’m addicted to insatgram I just love it but I always try to not use my phone when I’m spending time with my boyfriend. xo

    • I’m addicted to Instagram too!

  • Emma Oxley

    Wow, 6 and a half months seems like so much time!! I know people who have met online an are now married so it can definitely work if you cultivate a great relationship over the net!

    • Yes it definitely can Emma!

  • this is a great post especially for those still learning ot love themselves x

    • Yes, it’s really helpful!

  • I think this is very good for younger people mainly teenagers early 20s. My partner has a very clear understanding of what can and can’t be posted and he accepts what and why I share the things I do, I post many pictures of my children which we both agree to as I have family far away. I would say that instagram is probably one of the better ones to use I find Whatsapp and snapchat are the worst x

    • Thanks for commenting Jade!

  • Jodie Whitham

    I don’t have instagram, but feel you need to be careful with what you do and don’t post on social media x

  • This is really great advice, especially for those younger people who are growing up doing most of their social interactions on social media. Learning to effectively communicate in person and spending quality time offline is so very important.

    • Communicating in person is such an important skill!

  • You should always think twice before you post something online. As my online media teacher used to say, you should assume everything you post on the internet regardless of the privacy settings. Once posted, consider it public as it can be found.

    • That’s so true- once it’s online it’s there forever!

  • Donna

    Great post for the younger generation specifically! It must be so hard for them negotiating life and love on social media!

    • Thanks for commenting Donna!

  • Bec Boop

    This is a great post! it’s so important to find that balance between social media and offline time.

  • shoshana sue

    You are right about keeping a healthy offline balance. Too many people live online these days and out of touch with reality

    • I completely agree Shoshana!

  • Great post, these days social media does seem to rule our lives and everyone is attached to social media in one way or another. Great tips here x

  • It’s such a shame but social media can really ruin relationships. These are great tips though x

    • Thanks for commenting Stephanie!

  • Melanie Williams

    This is so true and balance is so important 🙂 x

  • Gareth Torrance

    I know an awful lot of people who have had their relationships tested because of social media. You’re completely right when you talk about balance. You need to have that balance in everything in life!

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