How Social Media Has Made Us Obsessed With Making Life Look Perfect

These days, appearances are everything.

People are more concerned with proving to the rest of the world that they’re having the time of their lives than actually enjoying themselves.

The 27 flawless “night out” pictures are more important than the night itself. If a girl purchases a new dress, it’s more likely for a new Facebook profile photo than an actually party.

Not to mention, going out without uploading a new Snapchat story or Instagram picture is inconceivable; without evidence of your escapades, as far as the world is concerned, they didn’t happen.

If you go to a bar, half the people in there will likely be on their phones. If they’re not taking selfies, they’re possibly on Tinder, happily meeting strangers through the Internet while scowling at the real-life ones around them who don’t even think about approaching for a real-life conversation.

As for who you’re actually talking to online, everyone on the Internet is selling you a dream. The thought of uploading a photo that is anything less than perfect is unimaginable, so every picture is taken with precision, the best lighting, best angle and most appealing filter.

Regarding first dates, well, thank God for restaurants with dim lighting. Plus, all that really matters is the hot profile picture he’ll show his friends of the girl he went on a date with, not so much what she actually looked like.

It’s not because his standards are low, but because when you remove the screen, you realize that little imperfections aren’t the end of the world; in fact, they are what make all of us human.

Then, of course, there are the people who have already found someone to love them. These are the ones who are in relationships, offline. For many of these couples, being in love is not enough and a relationship isn’t considered truly successful until it’s on Facebook.

If someone buys you flowers, in exchange, you have to take a picture and upload it. After all, what is the point of being happy if not everyone knows about it?

Singles begin to resent their newsfeeds because they just serve as reminders of an inability to find a partner, let alone someone who buys them flowers and takes them to Paris for the weekend.

Somehow, when faced with endless photos captioned “bae” and littered with love hearts, it’s easy to forget that people only post their best moments and choose to keep all their worst ones private. Your life may fall short of someone’s picture perfect one, but more often than not, so does the life of whomever posted it.

Logic aside, it seems that the success of any relationship is measured by how many pictures you each post with your significant other, and those who never post pictures are assumed to be in miserable relationships, leading unfulfilled lives.

And, it’s not just dating that’s the issue.

Sometimes I wonder if people arrange to meet up with their friends because they miss them or because they haven’t updated their Snapchat stories in six hours and need some new material to prove to the world they’re having a good time.

The fact of the matter is, brag culture has resulted in us being too busy narrating our lives online that we’re forgetting to live them. Trust me, no great story ever started with “Hey, remember that time we took 37 photos in your car…?”

Life is now a popularity contest, and it seems that the popularity is less dependent on how many friends you have and is more a reflection of how many Twitter followers you possess.

Girls upload Instagram pictures and then delete them the next day if they did not receive a sufficient number of “likes” because that alone is considered a reflection of how many people like them in real life.

Don’t let social media fool you. There are people who have hardly any likes on their Instagram pictures, but still have lots of friends, and others with hundreds of likes despite being the loneliest people of all.

There are couples who seldom upload pictures or share online declarations of their love, who are happier than the ones who share every “date night” in your Twitter feed.

There are people who don’t brag, who are halfway to a deposit on their first house and others who are pictured in VIP every Saturday night who don’t have a penny to their names.

So, don’t believe everything you see online because appearances are just that.

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Miranda Athanasiou