Toxic social media trends take toll on relationships

Gwen Henry | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

This editorial is here to remind you that your partner has liked other people before, and you should go pick a fight with them about it. Not really … but that’s the general idea of some trends floating around social media these days.

There has been a large amount of TikTok and Instagram Reel content surrounding romantic relationships recently. While some of these trends can be fun and relatable, a lot of them can have an unhealthy impact on viewers.

Just one example is a trend of people falling down multiple times while using an audio that says, “Miss Rabbit has fainted. Miss Rabbit has fainted again.” Oftentimes, the text over these videos is something like, “When you remember other girls see him in public and think he’s cute.”

And that’s a very tame instance.

Sure, it’s true other people in public perceive your significant other. So, why is a video about it bad? Because social media material on subjects like this takes a simple thing and runs with it. It serves as a constant reminder of insecurities and encourages viewers to assume the worst of their partners.

The negativity isn’t limited to singular trends either. There is an abundance of content that unnecessarily spreads toxicity. Some creators post fake scenarios of things like a girlfriend being disloyal to her partner while on a trip with friends.

These videos might seem fun and casual on the surface, but repeated viewing can lead to some serious overthinking, heightened insecurity, internalization and even bigger relationship issues.

Though many college students are mature enough to sift through this content, the constant exposure to negativity can affect anyone. It is also incredibly damaging when taking into account the large number of social media users, which includes impressionable young people.

Unserious trends can still have drastic impacts when consumed constantly. Something to remember is that people spew wild generalizations about dating on the internet as if they’re facts. However, they are often far from the truth. Every partnership is different, and such generalizations fail to encompass how unique every person and every couple can be.

Similar to how it can be hard to see negative content about relationships, it can be difficult to see overly romanticized material. Just because someone on the internet bought their partner a $500 gift and a trip to Bali does not mean that’s the norm or you’re a bad significant other for not doing the same.

So, remember, social media is not reality. One TikTok of a couple’s date night is not revealing of their entire relationship. It’s a video, not an in-depth look into the good, bad and ugly of their romantic lives. Approaching Valentine’s Day, it’s important to know your relationship is your own. That being said, be aware of unhealthy relationship patterns. Know your worth, and don’t excuse bad behavior.

If you find the effects of toxic trends seeping into your love life, there are ways to combat them.

First, take a deep breath and focus on communicating. Share these things and how they impact you with your partner. It’s completely normal and healthy to initiate a conversation and ask for reassurance.

Try cutting down on your screen time or setting limits for how long you can be on an app. Also, a fun feature of most social media platforms is the “not interested” button, usually located near the sharing options. This can help keep related content out of your algorithm.

Following healthy relationship advice accounts can be beneficial as well. There is a brighter side to the internet where licensed therapists and counselors (like @therapyjeff) share their thoughts on dating.

Use these tools to keep from getting sucked into the unhealthy patterns and damaging comparisons of social media. What you see online is not actuality or fact. Relationships should not be influenced by toxicity on the internet.