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Selfies could damage your Romantic Life

by Frank Racioppi 2 years ago in advice
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Several studies conclude that too many selfies can negatively impact your romantic relationship.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

 I witnessed an amazing “selfie” incident that I’m sure is repeated millions of times a day around the world. I was on vacation at the swim-up bar of this magnificent infinity pool surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Two young women in bikinis arrived at the pool in heels and proceeded to take selfies of themselves from about 15 different vantage points around the pool. At no time did they dip a toe into the pool, order a drink, or get comfy in a lounge chair. Then, after the quality of the selfies was reviewed on their expensive smartphones, the two young women beat a hasty retreat, now able to share with the world their “experience” at this incredibly scenic pool.

What these young women didn’t know was that posting too many "selfies" on social media might lead to serious problems with their romantic partners, according to a new study.

In fact, a number of scientific studies have shown that selfies aren’t just a harmless act of snapping a photo of oneself and sharing it on social media — they can actually be damaging to the individual's mental health as well as negatively impact viewers. Now a new study shows that the negative impact of a selfie can even make its way into your romantic relationships.

Researchers conducted an online survey of 420 users of the social media site Instagram. The users were aged 18 to 62. The investigators found that those who believed they were good-looking were more likely to post selfies, which are photographic self-portraits.

The study found that overindulgence in selfies led to people finding you less likable and increasing feelings of jealousy and self-absorption into a relationship.

The study from Florida State University in Tallahassee was published recently in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

What the selfie can do to “us”

According to research published in Telematics and Informatics, romantic relationships are negatively affected by selfie-taking for two reasons. First, because of the jealously incited from “excessive individual photo sharing or comments about those pictures” and also “the emerging of an online ideal persona in the picture-taker’s mind that diverges from real life.”

The survey assessed 305 Chilean adults over a two-year period and, according to PsyPost, determined that “the level of jealousy between romantic partners increased with the amount of selfies that were posted on social media sites” and “photo-related conflicts as a result of posting selfies negatively affected the quality of the relationship.”

It also determined that the more selfies somebody posts, the “more likely it is that they are trying to create an idealized persona of themselves for social-media connections to see.”

The team behind an initial study -- “The online ideal persona vs the jealousy effect” – found that the more selfies a couple take, the more likely they will view their relationship as a “lower quality.”

The researchers noted the creation of an “online ideal persona” that was different than real-life.

Their findings follow a previous study by the same team at Boston University that found that those who were more narcissistic take more selfies, but that the photos also boosted feelings of self-importance. 

These factors ultimately lead an individual’s perception of his or her relationship to be less than it actually is. In effect, the illusory affirmation that selfies invoke can make people feel as though they are “desired” and have more options than just their present romantic situations. This, in turn, can make them less satisfied with their partners. In addition, the selfie-taker’s partner is probably going to question the motivation for posting so many of these photos, perhaps wondering if he or she is searching for a new lover.

Does a selfie mean self-absorbed

According to two recent studies, people make dangerous assumptions from selfies. If, for example, you post provocative profile selfies, viewers are likely to perceive you as narcissistic, arrogant, and self-centered .  Further, some men consider women’s close-up selfies as indicative of low self-esteem, while women are generally unimpressed by “mirror shots,” viewing selfies taken by men when they are not wearing shirts as ultimately indicative of unfavorable partner characteristics.

The studies recommend that you post a photo you've been tagged in, instead of a selfie, as your profile picture. These photos are seen as less manipulative and are often viewed as more reliable sources of information.

Even for established couples, the photos you use on your Facebook page still bear significant meaning. If a profile picture is a thousand words, then changing a selfie to an “us-ie” tells your partner, as well as the world, a bit about the quality of your romantic relationship.

Recent evidence suggests that people who are more satisfied in their romantic relationships are more apt to post an “usie” as a primary Facebook profile picture compared to those who are less satisfied.  In other words, a person’s profile picture can be a pictorial representation of relationship closeness. The act of having your own profile photo include a picture of your partner, suggests that your own self-concept includes your partner.

By contrast, presenting a selfie as an “us” in a profile picture can send an unintended but nevertheless accurate snapshot of satisfaction and closeness in a relationship.

As selfies become this generation’s “Polaroid moment,” it’s critical to recognize that these scientific studies make a strong case that the level of jealousy between romantic partners increased with the amount of selfies that were posted on social media sites. Moreover, photo related conflicts as a result of posting selfies can negatively affect the quality of a relationship.

As geckoandfly.com so caustically says on its sarcastic selfies quotes website, “Something must be wrong. You haven’t posted a selfie in days. Feel better soon.”

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Frank Racioppi

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