I am fascinated by relationships and all the rules that come along with them. Especially when it comes to social media.
I personally don't see a need to connect with the person you're seeing on social media at all. From what I hear, it seems to only cause unwarranted jealousy. And I honestly don't see myself seriously carrying out a fight about whose profile picture my boyfriend liked yesterday.
But for couples who are connected on social media, there's an entire code of conduct that they are expected to adhere to.
What is that code of conduct? How do you know what you are and aren't supposed to do on social media when you've got a special someone? Well, I surveyed 73 millennials in relationships to find out.
1. Should you and your significant other be connected on social media?
Looks like the answer to this question was a resounding YES. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they were connected with their significant others on social media.
Of course, there were some exceptions to this rule, such as Gigi, 25, who explained:
“He unfollowed me on Instagram because he says my Instagram is disgusting because I post memes about getting that free range dick on the reg. He doesn't know what a joke is, apparently.”
But, hey, on the bright side, it doesn't look like an Instagram unfollow is a complete deal breaker for your relationship!
2. Is “Facebook official” still a thing?
No. Ninety-three percent of respondents agreed it is not important to be “Facebook official.” So don't feel pressured to change your relationship status anytime soon.
BUT respondent Tara*, 23, noted that the only time her and her boyfriend ever fought over social media was when they “had been dating for almost 6 months and he still said he was single on Facebook.”
… so maybe don't wait TOO long.
3. Is it normal to fight over social media?
Much to my surprise, 70 percent of respondents said they had never gotten in a fight over social media.
As for the juicier 30 percent, the fights they got into had to do with interactions their significant others had with people that could have been interpreted as romantic.
For example, 23-year-old Aiesha explained that her and her ex fight “over guys posting inappropriate comments on [her] pictures.” Similarly, 21-year-old Megan* mentioned that her and her boyfriend fight about “Snapchat best friends that are suspicious.”
AJ*, 23, gave us a guy's point of view when he described his situation:
“I liked a girl friend's post in IG, and apparently she went through my likes and found what I was liking. She said why am I liking a girl posting a bikini pic. She also gets mad every time that girl likes any of my posts.”
All in all, most of these fights seem to be rooted in a sort of jealousy that's not too different from the type we feel outside of social media.
4. When should you make posts for your significant other on social media?
While answers to this question varied greatly, 45 percent of respondents agreed that a birthday post is never a bad idea. So if you're debating whether or not to post a picture for your SO, I'd steer clear of a risky #WCW/#MCM and go straight for the safe-bet birthday post.
As 23-year-old Samantha simply put it:
“I don't expect it, but it's nice for birthdays or if we were to do something special together on any given day.”
The birthday post is not an absolute necessity, but it's something nice. And why not do something nice for the one you love (or like enough to date)?
5. What behavior is completely off-limits?
Forty-six percent of respondents agreed that there really isn't much behavior that's off-limits for their significant other. However, 55 percent said behavior is off-limits if it could fall under the realm of cheating.
For example, Gigi explained that she expects her boyfriend not to “DM other girls or be sketchy like that. If he did that, it would be a deal breaker. That's so gross.” Similarly, Olivia*, 22, would rather her boyfriend not “flirt with other girls via DM or other means.”
Tina, 23, echoed a similar sentiment:
“DM girls? That's just asking for a fight.”
So, like, try not to hit on girls who aren't your girlfriend, even when it's on social media. Seems simple enough to me.
Another big no? Lots of respondents had a problem with their significant others being sappy on social media. Mary*, 29, put it simply:
“Anything too lovey dovey we don't do.”
Ivy*, 25, shared a similar sentiment when she explained that “super mushy gushy” posts were off-limits for her.
6. Should you "like" all of your significant other's pictures?
Being responsible for "liking" ALL of another person's posts? Seems exhausting. But don't worry. You can take a deep breath because over half (55 percent) of our respondents said they don't expect their significant others to "like" all of their pictures on social media.
A few girls did admit to counting on their boyfriends when they were low on likes. Like Tina, who oh-so-relatably explained that she doesn't expect her boyfriend to "like" her pictures “unless I'm looking like a loser with two likes, then I'll text him and tell him to like it so I look better hehehe.”
Ivy expressed a similar sentiment when she admitted:
“I'll ask him to like a photo if it doesn't gather a lot of likes immediately.”
So having a boyfriend means an extra like when my posts are running low?! SIGN ME UP.
7. If you were to break up, would you “unfollow”?
While 55 percent of our very mature respondents solemnly vowed to stay connected to their would-be-exes on social media, 32 percent admitted that they would not be quite so strong.
For the most part, the remaining 14 percent echoed the sentiments of Olivia, who said that it “depends how the break up ends” and Sarah*, 24, who explained that it “depends on the severity of the breakup.”
I see what they're saying. Stay friends with the nice guy I amicably parted ways with? Sure. Be forced to stare at pictures of the guy who tore my heart out and ripped it into a million pieces? NO, THANK YOU.
8. Is there a general rule of thumb here?
It seems like a lot of the rules and regulations that people associate with their significant other's behavior on social media serve as a reflection of their insecurities in their relationship IRL.
I guess the only general rules I could come up with are: Don't be shady. Be someone your significant other can trust. And if you think posting a picture of the two of you after a fun event would make him or her happy, post the picture.
* Name has been changed.