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Social Media Moody

social media imagesCommunication through social media has evolved dramatically in the last decade, allowing terms such as “hashtags”, “tweets”, and “likes” to be a part of our everyday lingo.  Children, adolescents, and adults are socially connected and mentally wired to be conveniently accessible at the press of a few buttons.  Gaming systems, smart phones, tablets, televisions, and other electronic devices all have the capacity to keep people “talking”….or not talking.  But social media communication, in all of its technological splendor, has also had some profound implications in the way that we communicate and respond to each other.  As a professional mental health counselor, I have been privy to countless individuals of all ages that have been plagued with some degree of “social media-related moodiness”.  Consider these situations….

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A text message is not returned in a timely fashion…Suspicious. FrustratedAnnoyed.

A “wink” is not reciprocated on Match.com… Insecure.  Sad.  Rejected.

A wife is facebook friends with her ex-boyfriend… JealousyAnger.  Suspicious.

Friends from school are “unfollowing” her on Twitter… AnxietyWorry. Insecurity.

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The ability to have a virtual connection with others is a double-edged sword.  The immediacy of response is anticipated, and often times expected.  When that gratification is ignored, delayed, or otherwise not provided, it leaves you stuck in your own head trying to figure it out.  Some degree of confusion, anxiety, anger, and frustration are likely by products. Without tangible, more direct, verbal conversation, it’s common to be stuck with that negative feeling, thought, or conclusion until there is a response…if there is a response.  So what do we do?  How do we navigate our moods and conversations in this social media society?

Know this…

  • Some conversations are not built for text messaging.  Call me old-fashioned, but there are not enough emoticons in the world to express feeling jealous, suspicious, rejected, and/or insecure in your relationship with a friend or significant other.  That requires a direct, authentic, verbal conversation.  If you cannot bring yourself to have the “tough talk”, then write it down.  Whether in email or in script, writing requires you to take a moment and gather your thoughts. The writing in this sense serves as a bridge to the direct verbal conversation; but it should not replace it.
  • Social media gives us access to too much information.  If you are finding yourself conducting “virtual research” on someone’s friends and followers lists, whereabouts, timelines, text messages, and emails, the relationship is already in jeopardy.  Please know that regardless of what you discover, your behavior has now become a part of the relationship problems, instead of working toward the solution.
  • Social media is an extension of you as a person.  It is a snapshot of who you are, what you like, dislike, and do in your life.  So if you are finding yourself feeling out of sorts because of things you see on a social media site (jealous of others’ pictures, feeling sad that you don’t have enough followers, etc), then it is fair to say that the feeling exists in you outside of the social media world.  So you need to deal with that personally, not virtually.  Perhaps there’s some personal changes you need to visit within yourself, as not to feel out of sorts because of what is happening or not happening on social media.  This can work in tandem with “Am I A Hater?”

Closing thought:  Social media is a fun and convenient way to connect with others, and share things at the mere press of a button.  If it becomes emotional, dramatic, or upsetting…dis-connect.

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