Social networking sites were designed to bring us closer together making communication easier through the use of technology. With the vast expansion of the social media universe, one would think that connecting online would strengthen relationships, but this is not the case. Social networking is leading to the decline of intimate friendships. Below are 3 ways social media is killing friendships.
An increase of online communication can lead to degradation of face-to-face communication.
Have you ever seen someone who you haven’t seen in person in years, only to find that you aren’t surprised to see them or you really don’t have anything to talk about? When you are around your friends, do you find that they already know what’s happening in your life? We are experiencing these encounters because we are sharing too much of our personal stories online. When we share our whole life on social media we don’t leave any room for connection outside of the social media universe.
People are likely to be ruder on social media.
Have you ever noticed that people are more vocal and bold on social media? Because of the digital barrier between us, people will risk making comments to others that they wouldn’t make in person. According to research conducted by Vital Smarts:
- 76 percent have witnessed an argument over social media
- 19 percent have decreased in-person contact with someone because of something they said online
- 88 percent believe people are less polite on social media than in person
- 81 percent say the difficult or emotionally charged conversations they have held over social media remain unresolved
Because of the increase in online tension, friendships are ending prematurely and/or they remain in limbo because of unresolved issues.
True friendships are diluted amongst the massive amount of friends we have online
How many “friends” do you have online, a hundred, a thousand? How many of these “friends” can you really call close friends? Because we are connected to so many people online, often we feel that we can manage all of these relationships in one place. Instead of reaching out to people directly, we’ll throw details about our lives on our timelines and expect everyone in our social media universe to see it. When we finally see our friends in person and we begin to discuss the details of our lives, we’ll say something like, “didn’t you see it? I posted it on Facebook.” Sharing details this way will lead to the virtual dynamic of our friendships outweighing the physical dynamics of our friendships. When we rely on the convenience of social media for personal information sharing, there is no need to connect intimately with someone on the phone or even in person.
So how exactly are we supposed to maintain our relationships when everyone is plugged into social media? First I would recommend being less personal with the details you share online. This will leave room for a face-to-face discussion with others about the current events in your life. Last, I would recommend that if you would like to know what is going on in a friend’s life, pick up the phone to call and have a conversation instead of checking social media.
How has social media affected your relationships? Has it hurt or helped? Comment below!