Social media is a big part of our everyday lives, whether we’re happy about it or not. Most people check their accounts on their platforms of choice at least once a day purely out of habit and, even though scrolling through your feeds becomes somewhat of a routine, the different things you experience each day as a result of doing so aren’t.
In fact, what can be a normal, even calming experience one day can turn into a cringe-worthy drama-fest the next.
Have you ever wondered how to deal with it all? Well, don’t worry—we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to keep your social media interactions from being #awkward.
You like something DEEP into someone’s feed.
We’ve been there before, and we’d be willing to bet you have, too—whether you’re just bored or trying to learn a little bit more about the coworker you have a crush on, you’ve probably found yourself digging around on someone else’s social media account. However, from time to time the unthinkable might happen and you accidentally “like” one of their photos or tweets.
In your mind, you’ve just branded yourself as a stalker for life, and the other person is probably telling everyone they know about how creepy you are at that very moment.
Really, though? They’re probably not thinking much of it, and they’ve probably done it themselves. “That’s what social media is for—to look and to scroll,” said Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas said to Reader’s Digest. “That’s why we post things.” If they tease you about it later, you can always tell them you zoned out and didn’t realize how far back you had scrolled, which is probably mostly true anyway.
Your friends are being negative on your page.
When it comes to the online world, sometimes even the most innocent post can be taken the wrong way. Suddenly, you might find that a friend you’ve known for years is leaving a negative remark on something you didn’t even think would get much attention, leaving you confused and maybe even a little angry, wondering what their deal is.
You’ll never be able to please people who are just looking for a fight, but one thing we’re typically not able to convey online is our tone. If someone is offended by something you wrote, read it over and think about whether or not the message could’ve been misconstrued. If the mistake was yours, reword your message at the very least.
If you truly feel they’re just misunderstanding what you wrote, take the conversation offline or at least into a private message so you can each explain your thought processes further. “Finding out how people arrive at their opinions can be a better way to counter them than telling them to shut up,” said Emma Brockes, writer for The Guardian.
You’re tired of one friend’s nonstop ranting.
Politics are clearly a hot topic these days, and we all have one friend who just can’t seem to stop the commentary. Yes, they have every right to say whatever they want on their social media accounts and you may even agree with them, but what if you’re just tired of hearing about it? For many people, the answer is to start a comment war, letting them hear your opinion just like you’ve heard theirs—however, try to hold yourself back next time.
For one thing, no one’s mind is going to be changed by an online argument—a thoughtful discussion is one thing, but people rarely go into these battles with that much of an open mind.
You can always stop following the person if you didn’t really know them well anyway—a Monmouth University survey found that approximately 7 percent of those surveyed either lost a friend or ended a friendship themselves after the 2016 presidential election.
However, if you’re more so tired of the never-ending commentary rather than what people are actually saying, you can always unfollow them but remain friends if the platform allows that.
You spot pictures from an event your friends went to without you.
You may think the acronym is dumb, but FOMO—the fear of missing out—is totally real. It can hurt enough to hear friends talk about an event in front of you without inviting you, but seeing pictures of a group you’re close to having fun without you can really sting.
The next time, though, keep in mind that you don’t know the context of the event—maybe it was a work event but not one that was company-wide. Maybe they all have a mutual friend that you don’t know, or perhaps there was just a limit on the number of people that could be at the event they went to.
Whatever their reasoning is, the last thing you should do is lash out. “That group has the right to select who they want to be with that night,” Gottsman said. “It doesn’t mean they won’t invite you the next time.” If it truly feels personal, however, don’t be afraid to call up one of those friends for a little more information—just make you’re not angry or accusatory.
You got spotted in party photos when you told your friends you were sick.
Have you ever gotten yourself caught in your own web of lies after someone posted pictures of you out, having a good time when you told another friend you were sick or babysitting? We’ve all had moments when there’s a bigger party or better restaurant to go to, and we have to end up abandoning one friend group for another. It might not feel great for them when it happens, but most people will get over it—that is, along as you actually tell them the truth about it in the first place.
If you have, the key to repairing the situation is honesty. “Deal with the situation the way you would if you’d gotten caught in real life: Call your friend and tell her you’re sorry, that you wanted to go to the party but didn’t want to hurt her feelings by saying so,” Rachel Blakeman, a psychoanalyst in New York City, said to Real Simple. After the apology is out there, don’t dwell on the subject or try to throw out excuses—just move on.
After the apology is out there, don’t dwell on the subject or try to throw out excuses—just move on.
You don’t really want to accept that friend request.
Whether it’s from someone you don’t really know that well or a family member that you don’t want to know your business, sometimes people you wish you didn’t know in real life will request to follow you. It’s a tough spot to be in—what if they start drama over it at the next family gathering, or start messaging you to ask what the deal is when you don’t add them?
It’s a tough spot to be in—what if they start drama over it at the next family gathering, or start messaging you to ask what the deal is when you don’t add them?
Ultimately, just remember that the choice is always yours, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t want a certain person seeing your personal information and thoughts. “Sometimes, a little apologetic explanation will soothe the sting of rejection,” writers Andrea Bartz and Breanna Ehrlich told CNN. “Give the person you just turned down a legit-sounding excuse the next time you see them in person (or get them on the phone).”
If they’re someone you barely know at all? Don’t even think about it—chances are they probably won’t remember they asked at all.