Digital Relationships

How do you make relationships work in the digital era?

With social media redefining every aspect of our lives, is it any wonder that our relationships are also toeing the digital line…?

We are, increasingly, governed by our smartphones and are, apparently, fine with it.

Although it may not conform to the traditional concept of a chaperone, the smartphone has, in the twinkling of an eye, become our escort everywhere and anywhere – even the restroom. It has outgrown its role as a tool of communication to become the centre of our lives. And we are not complaining…rather, we have given it the leeway to dissuade us from doing or conducting anything that does not involve its presence. Even our relationships!

It may have opened the Pandora’s box of relationship issues with its easy reach and accessibility to connect with old friends and even strangers, but it is a veritable pool of valuable resources if the usage is aligned with the values instilled. So, if you are seeking ways to create meaningful connections, here is a quick guide, harvested from online experts.

Do establish your levels of social media interactions

Social media is all pervasive and that makes it important to discuss, not simply presume, that your partner is comfortable with your open communications with others on social media. Arrive at a consensus with your partner to establish the acceptable levels of interaction so as to foster a healthy relationship, one that is not troubled by the likes and emoticons posted by the other.

Do not be afraid to unfollow/unfriend

Social media, it appears, is often detached from reality. Take for example the friends one has on Facebook; is the number any indication of actual friendships one has made over the years…? Hardly. Most are friends of mutual friends or brief acquaintances who would never have mattered if not for social media. While an occasional like or a birthday wish helps keep a relationship alive, there is no harm in simply unfriending or un-following someone to make way for stronger and more meaningful relationships with people who do matter.

Don’t bash your partner on social media

Washing dirty linen is public is never okay. Giving vent to anger or distress as status updates on social media can only aggravate the situation. Using the social media to rave and rant about your partner or your relationship problems will lead to more trouble. On the same count, do not go overboard with your mushy messages or images that show the two of you in intimate moments. Certain things are best kept private.

Do not impulsively change your relationship status

Talk to your partner before changing your relationship status on social media – whether you are changing it to a serious relationship or single. Your partner needs to be aware that his/her name is being inserted in your relationship profile to start things on a right note.

Do not stalk and investigate

Jealousy can take ugly turn on social media, as it is home to a variety of resources about the user – from pictures and posts to comments and emoticons. According to experts, partners could have issues when information that is not normally shared becomes public knowledge on social media; it could be even a tagged picture from earlier days. And if it creates feelings of jealousy and makes you dig into his/her social media account, it may be time to take a closer look at your relationship.

Do rely on text messages

Forget the forwarded messages from WhatsApp that are meant to give you a laugh or ponder about serious issues. Short sweet text messages, sent to your partner in the course of a busy day, can go a long way in making him/her smile and reassure your feelings for him/her. Steal time between meetings and mundane chores to send quick messages that show you are thinking of him/her.

Do respond

When you receive a message from your partner, do take a minute or two to respond to it or at least send a ‘I will get back to you soon’ message. Silence can be disconcerting.

Do take occasional breaks from social media

When things seem to be going out of hand in your relationship status, it is best to take a break from the digital world. Even otherwise, it is advisable to limit the daily and weekly use so that you can have time for one-to-one communication with each other. Keep your smartphone away when you are ‘talking’ and do not get tempted to check it for messages. Sometimes, even a silent phone can become a distraction; just disconnect and keep it out of your visual periphery.

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