How oversharing on Facebook is hurting relationships in Nairobi
Twenty nine year-old Shiro has that picture perfect life. She has a good job and is in your dream relationship. She and her man are inseparable.
And there is evidence in form of posts, selfies and videos all over her Facebook page to prove it. That getaway they took on Valentine’s weekend is well documented for all to see.
Duncan, a 30-year-old, is one of those hopeless romantics. He has been posting daily on his Facebook page the reasons that he loves his woman. These are accompanied by photos and videos.
Caroline, 25, isn’t as lucky. Her relationship seems to have more ups than downs. Still she chooses to share all the details of it with the virtual world. Her Facebook friends witness each and every fight that she and her boyfriend have. Her relationship status changes every week.
These three instances that mirror the lives of a growing breed of people in Nairobi today. We all know at least one of those people who overshare details of their romantic relationships on Facebook.
While these characters are not very likeable, sharing on Facebook is not all bad. A recent scientific study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science confirmed that romantic posts between partners can make you feel better about your relationship.
While this is a good thing, it still begs the question of what damage does oversharing on Facebook cause to a relationship? Do the benefits outweigh this damage?
Vincent Oloo, a life coach and a transformational breath trainer in Nairobi is of the view that oversharing on Facebook can hurt more than it helps the relationship.
He argues that the habit is bound to put extra pressure on the relationship as it attracts unnecessary scrutiny.
When everybody knows your business, there is added pressure to make the relationship work.
“Sharing is okay but oversharing is never okay. Like they say, too much of anything is poisonous. Second, it may be okay for you to share and not okay for your partner. When you do share, it comes off as disrespect of their privacy,” he says.
By sharing on Facebook, you may be opening up your relationship to third parties. There are those people out there who are driven by the need to have that which someone else possesses.
His advice on sharing on Facebook? When it comes to your love life, share as little as possible. If you must share anything intimate, for the sake of your relationship, run it by your significant other first.
Sociologist Mary Wahome, who is also the lead researcher at the Schizophrenia Foundation of Kenya (SFK), says that often when we overshare emotional issues, we forget the people who might see this information.
She gives the example of a woman venting about her relationship with her mother in-law while she has her sisters-in-law as friends on Facebook.
Such an act, Mary says, ends up antagonizing a string of relationships.
Then there is the fact that today’s employers check potential employees’ social media presence before deciding on whether or not you to hire them. How much you share and how you share it could be the reason you do not nail that top job.
“I feel that relationship updates especially those made out of anger should stay out of social media,” she says.
If you must share your romantic relationship happenings on Facebook, the experts agree that you should be wise about it.
First, beware of who exactly is on your contacts list. Second, avoid premature relationship status changes.
Only share details of your relationship when it is solid and when you are sure that both you and your love interests are on the same page.
It is also a very good idea to log off when you are upset. A rush of emotions might lead you to say things that you do not mean and once they are out there they can’t be taken back.