Selfie, n. A photograph taken with a smartphone or other digital camera by a person who is also in the photograph, especially for posting on a social-media website.
By definition, your selfie must be publicly shared in order to actually qualify as a selfie, and therein lies the problem.
Of course, a few selfies here and there aren’t hurting anyone, especially when there’s actually something noteworthy going on elsewhere in the picture — a celebrity, a historic building, a UFO. But those already guilty of taking too many selfies aren’t doing it because of the cool-factor of their surroundings; they’re doing it in the car. They’re making duck faces in the corner at stupid Solo-cup-ridden parties. They’re taking mirror pictures in the bathroom while you’re waiting in line.
They’re doing it for attention, and their selfie-indulgent ways are (scientifically proven!) to have a direct correlation to conflict-ridden relationships. Selfies are causing break ups left and right! And it gets worse.
Relentless selfie purveyors aren’t just ruining their relationships with their SO’s; they’re destroying ties with their friends, with strangers, and even with themselves.
Don’t fall into the trap.
Selfies are causing you to argue with your SO.
A recent study published by The Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (yes, that’s a real thing) found that individuals who post more selfies have significantly higher levels of conflict with their SOs. The arguments apparently stem from the partners feeling threatened, jealous, and insecure over the attention received over social media.
Furthermore, people felt way less supported in their relationships when their partners shared more pictures of friends and events rather than family.
Is the attention of (mostly) strangers really worth ruining your relationship? I think not.
Selfies are making your friends resent you.
A joint study conducted in Britain some years back found posting a bunch of selfies alienates you from people because they see you as a narcissistic prick. People don’t want to have shallow, impersonal relationships with narcissistic pricks! Surprised?
Selfies are ruining the chance of prospective relationships with people you don’t even know.
Turns out, the way you present yourself on social media has an enormous effect on how people judge you off the bat; “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.”
Your selfies are ruining your relationships with people who don’t even know you yet. But that isn’t the worst of it…
Selfies are making you feel worse about yourself.
Posting constant selfies essentially breeds anxiety. You post a picture of yourself, and then you check on it frequently to see how people are responding to it. Have you ever gone so far as to actually delete a selfie that isn’t getting enough likes? Probably.
If so, you’ve taken the first step towards becoming Danny Bowman, a young man who back in 2014 became so utterly obsessed with capturing the “perfect selfie” he tried to kill himself when his mission failed.
Don’t be like Danny, you guys. Put. The. iPhone. Down.
Furthermore, those of us who already suffer from depression or low self-esteem are more likely to continue thinking negative thoughts post-selfie. Avoiding placing yourself in the spotlight of social media “can prevent [people] from reinforcing a negative focus on the self may be helpful in improving self-esteem and lifting mood,” according to UCLA professor Andrea Letamendi.
So what’s all this mean? That you need to put the iPhone down forever, for fear of ruining rapport with the most influential people in life? Probably not. No one factor is that enormous in determining every relationship you have.
You should, however, think twice prior to posting a selfie. Try asking yourself these three questions before: Is there anything remotely interesting going on in the picture aside from me? Why should people care? And, most importantly, how do I look right now?