Social media gives you a daily reminder of just how many friends you have and just how much they truly, madly, and deeply care about you.
So, yes, that statement isn’t actually true, but it’s exactly how most of us feel when it comes to social media. Social media creeps into our friendships and makes our judgment messy when it comes to gauging our social worth and how our actual relationships are progressing. In fact, social media can do far more damage than good to our relationships.
Here are five ways social media is ruining friendships — so you can know what to avoid.
1. You Start to Resent Your Friends
Ever heard of the expression TMI (too much information)? That’s what you get when you spend too much quality time on social media... which leads to you getting all resentful and weird about the state of the relationships you have with your pals.
“They didn't like your photo? Didn't comment and support you? All of a sudden you feel a resentment for your friends that comes from out of nowhere! Perhaps they were working late or their algorithm didn't show your post,” says Lindsey Metselaar, the host of We Met At Acme podcast and a relationship expert.
2. You Have An Altered Perception
You think you know all about a person’s life based on what you see on social media, but the truth is, what you’re seeing is only a sliver of their life.
“We live in a fast-paced society, drowning in information, and so it's become easy to rely upon social media to assess how a friend might be doing,” says Antonia Hall, a psychologist, relationship expert, and the author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. “However social media provides snippets of how we wish to be perceived, rather than how we might actually be doing. What we see on social platforms rarely paints the real, full picture, and nothing can replace one-on-one time to truly connect with a friend.”
3. We Ignore the Ones We’re With
It's likely you’ve been in the presence of a friend recently and had to fight for their attention because they were too busy scrolling through Twitter or posting on their Instagram Story while they're at brunch with you.
“We're forgetting how to just BE with one another, engaging and interacting without taking pictures, posting, and checking social media,” says Hall. “It's becoming too common to ignore the people we're around IRL, opting instead to give our attention to social media streams.”
4. You Get Jealous About the Little Things
All of a sudden, you’re seeing things on social media that are making you extra jealous toward a person you usually have no issues with.
“Life is not a competition, but social media can make us forget that at times,” says Hall. “Seeing someone's new car or dream vacation can create some jealous feelings, even to the detriment of the friendship. When we're envious of our friends, it creates an unhealthy imbalance in the relationship, which can lead to distancing and even permanently ruin it.”
5. Your Friendships Feel Transactional
When it comes time to make plans with your friends, you might start to feel like you’re only doing things to get that perfect Instagram and not because you actually want to spend quality time with your bestie.
“Social media can make friendships feel more transactional,” says Annie Wright, a licensed psychotherapist and owner/clinical director of Evergreen Counseling. “For some in this age of social media, they will schedule times to hang out with friends or arrange meet-ups only if those activities are "postable" (i.e. good content for Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc). In other words, there is an agenda to the time spent together.”