What was supposed to be a wedding engagement turned into something else.
Social media has become the main space for people to express all the good and bad things that happen to them every day. It seems like people feel happy and satisfied when they share pictures, thoughts and quotes online – especially when it comes to big news, like an engagement.
Miranda Levy, like so many future brides, shared her announcement on Facebook. Levy posted a picture of her and her boyfriend on the couch showing off an engagement ring. With the picture, Levy thought she was simply announcing their engagement. Initially, people started to congratulate them, but then the congratulations turned into questions.
What they thought would be an expression of love became a reason to question the young bride. The questions started coming when people noticed a surprising object at the bottom of the picture.
The picture not only included the a new engagement ring, it also included a pregnancy test.
Levy tried to ignore the questions, pretending not to understand their comments. However, she couldn’t ignore the questions for long. She had to admit that in fact, she and her fiance were expecting a baby … and that they were basically getting married because Levy was pregnant.
When reading stories like Levy’s, it is hard not to think about the hundreds of times that we have tried to give our Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat followers the idea that life is pretty perfect. We want people to accept us, so we try to share posts, images or events that will grab people’s attention and make us look like successful, happy people.
Without realizing it, little by little, we are falling into the game of disguises that all social media platforms have turned into. Here are five dangerous ways we disguise our reality on social media (without even noticing):
1. Uploading photographs that make us look happy
This is the most common way that people tend to pretend they’re having a perfect day or a happy life. Just think about the occasions when you’ve uploaded a photograph where you’re smiling broadly or posing in some beautiful place, but in reality you weren’t happy.
We also put on a disguise when we upload photos of ourselves that are edited. We cover up imperfections in our face or body and don’t allow others to see ourselves as we really are.
2. Publishing the highlights about everything that we do, feel and think
Social networks have given us the chance to communicate to virtual friends what we are doing, feeling and thinking on a minute-to-minute basis. Most of us want everyone to think that our life is going wonderfully, even if this is not the case, so we post only the highlights.
It’s important to remember that we all have intense days at work, hard times in our relationships and just bad days, even if that’s what isn’t portrayed online.
3. Sharing posts that don’t interest us, but we think others will like it
This may come as a surprise, but many people post stories and links that don’t interest them at all, but they think it will give them more likes, comments or friend requests. In our eagerness to receive attention, we end up disguising our true interests.
4. Adding too many “virtual friends”
There is a lot of pretending online, especially when it comes to your social status. People add hundreds of people to their network, even if they don’t know them. They put up a front that says “I am popular”, when in reality, they may be lonely and isolated people. They aren’t able to make real friends because they are too busy on social media getting “new” friends.
5. Getting lots of “likes”
Without realizing it, many of us have become dependent on the number of likes we get on each post. We think that getting “likes” will be an antidote to overcoming depression, loneliness or sadness.
The important thing is to be a genuine on social media and remember that not every post you see is real – it will be a difficult adjustment, but it will bring you greater happiness.
This article originally appeared on familias.com and has been adapted and translated with permission.