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Is ‘Instagram Official’ Only Approval We Need In Relationships Today?

In today's digital age, Instagram has become the canvas for expressions of affection, sparking a debate on whether being 'Instagram Official' is the new relationship label. To dive deeper, we asked a few women what they think. Read on to know how they responded.

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Oshi Saxena
New Update
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Image Credit: istockphoto

Love, the eternal muse for poets and dreamers, has evolved through generations and seamlessly integrated with the digital age, particularly through the lens of social media. From the anticipation of love letters to the era of landline calls, evolution has brought us to the present, where a DM on Instagram can be a modern declaration of affection. In the quest for closeness, have we, however, come too close for comfort? Let's delve into the changing tides in the sea of time, exploring how being 'Instagram Official' is the new relationship label.

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Let's delve into the impact of Instagram on relationships, exploring the pressure, perceptions, and stories of seven women who have navigated the tides of Instagram love.

The Influence of Social Media on Relationships

From swiping right to instant connections, social media has reshaped the landscape of romantic relationships. Gen Z, caught in the dual embrace of blessing and curse, uses platforms like Instagram to connect globally, find potential partners, and share snippets of their lives. The desire for constant engagement on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter has become a daily ritual, even surpassing the frequency of food consumption. However, the love shared in these virtual spaces isn't without its complexities. 

Social media, especially Instagram, has become the canvas where relationships are painted in pixels. Every like, comment, and story becomes a brushstroke in the narrative of modern love. On the one hand, social media facilitates connections, broadening horizons and allowing people to find potential partners with ease. On the other hand, constant exposure can lead to feelings of anxiety, envy, and the perilous act of comparison. Striking a balance between meaningful connection and the potential harm to mental health becomes crucial.

Positive Impacts of Social Media on Relationships

Social media can be a conduit for positive relationship experiences. It facilitates connections beyond one's immediate social circle, enabling individuals to discover potential partners. Additionally, platforms like Instagram offer a window into a person's interests, values, and sense of humour before embarking on a physical date. In times of physical separation, social media can bridge the gap, fostering a sense of closeness.

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Negative Impacts of Social Media on Relationships

Despite the positives, social media's downsides should not be ignored. The constant exposure to curated images and stories of friends' relationships can create a false sense of connection, leading to envy and loneliness. The culture of instant gratification on social media may strain relationships, with expectations for immediate responses causing anxiety and tension. Furthermore, the distraction social media poses can erode the intimacy and connection between partners.

The Statistics Speak: Impact on Mental Health

Before we explore personal stories, let's set the stage with some staggering statistics. Research indicates that 54% of Gen Z believe excessive device usage worsens mental health. Social media, especially Instagram, has become an integral part of daily life for 94% of Gen Z, influencing their emotions and contributing to feelings of anxiety and depression.

A survey by Relate indicates that millennials often play up their relationships, with 42% using social media to portray a perfect image. The pressure to conform to relationship ideals on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is evident, with 87% of millennials yearning for a genuinely happy relationship. However, the thin line between reality and facade raises questions about the true nature of these digital connections. 

Feelings of isolation, insecurity, and online bullying contribute to increased anxiety and depression. Despite these challenges, social media remains an integral part of Gen Z's daily lives, with Instagram being the preferred platform for 65% of users.

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The Voice of Women: Experiences And Insights

Saloni Dhumne: Balancing Public and Private Declarations

Saloni Dhumne, a young woman immersed in the digital age, candidly shares her personal experiences, on the pressure surrounding relationship posts: "I have fallen prey to this pressure...introduced the person on Instagram too soon and then felt the need to take the pictures off."

The dichotomy of societal pressure is addressed by Saloni: "The unspoken rule - 'Is your relationship Instagram official yet?'...people start thinking, 'Is something wrong?'" This pressure, she adds, depends on how much individuals want to fall prey to it. 

Dhumne candidly shares her personal experiences, cautioning against the pitfalls of prematurely introducing a partner on Instagram. "It's more about what people will think than your personal happiness," she reflects

Ishika Tanvi: Challenges of Heteronormativity

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Ishika Tanvi raises concerns about the potential heteronormativity and stereotypes associated with relationship tags on Instagram.

"I am still concerned about how it’s going to be very heteronormative & stereotypical."

She shares her experience of using Instagram as a means of communication during lockdown, acknowledging its role in enhancing connections. Ishika delves into the challenges of balancing openness and privacy on social media. It serves as a means to connect, express, and even navigate through challenging times. However, she acknowledges the problematic nature of 'passive posting' during conflicts, which, while a way to connect, can also contribute to a skewed version of reality.

Tanvi also expresses concern about tagging new relationships on Instagram: "A person going through a divorce or breakup does not need to see their ex-partner's relationship status. Problems like this will invariably exist."

While she once used to be more open about her relationships on a 'finsta,' Ishika now prefers keeping her love life private. Vulnerability on social media has led to unwanted comments and judgments, prompting her to choose a more guarded approach.

Anupreet Kaur: Balancing Privacy and Sharing

Anupreet Kaur reflects on the dual impact of Instagram on relationships, "Personally, it has done both. Enhances when it comes to sharing material to bond over, but can also create challenges if boundaries are crossed."

Kaur values privacy and believes that making everything public turns a relationship into a social media game rather than a genuine connection; "making anything public only gives people the right to comment on it without their knowledge."

Sakshi Pathare: From Pressure to Selective Posting

Sakshi, drawing from personal experiences, delves into the uncomfortable realities that accompany relationship tags on Instagram.  She reveals how she felt the pressure in previous relationships to post regularly.

"I feel a relationship is meant for the individuals who are in it and not for the entire world to see," emphasizing the need for a balance between sharing and gatekeeping certain aspects of personal life.

Sakshi, a firm believer in the allure of Bollywood romance, opens up about her journey after a toxic relationship. While she enjoys the picturesque reels of old-school love, she finds them occasionally "idealistic" and "not real enough." Currently single, she finds solace in scrolling through reels and sees sharing memes with a partner as a unique love language.

Ifra Eqrar: Rejecting Transparency

 Ifra emphasizes the importance of personal choice in sharing relationships on social media, stating, "It's not like if you post a photo on Instagram and then your relationship will be stamped."

She emphasizes that transparency, pushed to extremes, can lead to irritation and complications. Ifra narrates a negative experience with an ex who insisted on publicizing their relationship, highlighting the potential pitfalls of such actions.

According to Ifra, what people post on Instagram doesn't necessarily reflect the true state of their relationship. She critiques the trend of sharing relationship issues on social media, considering it a personal matter that should remain private.

Anonymous Response: Caution Against Relationship Tags

An anonymous respondent takes a firm stance against relationship tags, emphasizing the potential harm in creating unnecessary complications.

"I am strictly against entitlement. I believe these 'relationship tags' are going to create a stir in immature and budding relations."

Khushboo Yadav: The Superficiality of Relationship Goals

Khushboo Yadav critiques the rising trend of relationship goals on Instagram, arguing that it perpetuates superficial representations of happiness.

People tend to show their relationships, picture-perfect like a fairy tale just to represent themselves as a happy couple, not realizing how it can affect people who are in relationships or not."

She highlights the negative impact of envy generated by picture-perfect portrayals and warns against overpublicizing private lives.  Khushboo sees overpublishing as a potential source of unnecessary drama in life.

Kriti Puri: Pro Instagram-Approved, with Reservations

Kriti embraces the evolving norms of the Zillennial generation, recognizing both the positive and negative aspects of Instagram Official. She notes, "If today a relationship is on Instagram, it is 100% official. Yes, we do live in a time like that."

In a reflective tone, Kriti acknowledges the societal and self-imposed pressure, stating, "Me and my boyfriend both feel societal and self-imposed pressure to some degree."

She further emphasizes the impact of Instagram on her current relationship, acknowledging the need for a balance between sharing and preserving the intimacy of private moments.

"To be honest, earlier when I used to see a couple picture, I used to find it cute and also find myself in pressure to do the same," admits Kriti Puri.

She reflects on her changing perspective, from craving public validation to understanding the importance of preserving private moments.

"Instagram or not, we all want our relationship to work, even if it doesn’t. Instagram should be a safe space."

The digital age has ushered in a new era of expressing love, and whether one chooses to be "Instagram official" or keeps their relationship more private, the key takeaway is the need for balance—preserving the sanctity of personal moments while recognizing the positive aspects social media can bring to relationships.

After all, love, in its purest form, needs no validation from an Instagram tag.

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