Social Media

How Facebook Friendships can Harm your Relationships

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"How Facebook Friendships can Harm your Relationships"
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Facebook has rapidly soared to become one of the most popular websites across the Net. Every day millions of people across the world log-in to connect with their Facebook friends. These friends may consist of family, friends, long lost relationships, colleagues or new friends. On any given day most people typically see a lot of interaction on their Facebook homepage.

While there are many advantages to being a Facebook member, there are also several drawbacks. It is important to assess the value of Facebook when determining the level of interaction you plan to spend with Facebook.

The drawbacks might be something to consider if you find yourself becoming too involved on Facebook. One of the significant problems that have resulted in society as a result of social networking sites such as Facebook is the impact and harm this interaction has caused to relationships.

All relationships in life pose the risk of being impacted. Here are a few ways Facebook friendships can harm your relationships:

• Marital and Committed Relationships

There are many ways that Facebook can harm committed relationships. Infidelity, addiction, offering too much information and inappropriate interactions are some of the many ways relationships are negatively impacted.

One of the fastest rising factors that are attributed to infidelity is social networking websites. Facebook makes it really easy for people to reconnect and one of the first things many people do is search out their old relationship partners.

Sometimes this is done out of curiosity, but other times it is done with a specific intent to rekindle old flames. Either way, if the person seeking out their old significant others is married, this treads into dangerous territory, especially if the marriage is going through a stressful period or has other issues.

For instance of a person is frustrated with their significant other, they may turn to the web to look for comradeship, support or an ear to vent to. This can be a very slippery slope, especially if the unhappy partner looks to members of the opposite sex to lean on.

A Facebook addiction is another consideration to look at when assessing how relationships are harmed. One facet of Facebook is that it tends to be overwhelming with so much information being streamed; this is especially true if there are a lot of people listed as friends. Time spent on Facebook is time spent away from the love relationship. A significant other may become jealous or frustrated from the amount of time spent on Facebook.

As part of the Facebook experience, a popular activity is sharing comments, notes, chats or photos with other members. A spouse or significant other may become upset at the types of interaction occurring or the level of personal information streamed onto the site. Often people forget that the web is a public place and comments and photos posted can be embarrassing to a mate.

• Family Relationships

Sometimes people complain, vent or share family problems when they log onto Facebook. This can lead to problematic issues in the family. When private family matters are streamed across Facebook, this can lead to marital strife, problems with children, parents or other extended family. This kind of carelessness can be devastating to family relationships.

Addiction can also impact family relationships. If a parent, child or spouse spends most of their time on Facebook, this means they are less involved with the family. This can result in anger, resentment or major friction.

Either situation can lead to a major argument or rift in the family. A family who likes to keep familial issues private may not be so keen about Facebook.

• Friendships

Facebook can also harm friendships. Insensitive comments can be made, friendships may be ignored in favor of Facebook interaction, and the addiction potential can also factor in.

It is always important to consider the feelings of others when making comments or listing photos on Facebook. There is a possibility someone's feelings may get hurt or be embarrassed over something shared, even if strides are made to keep people from seeing things posted.

As mentioned above, Facebook is not private. Sure you can customize and heighten the level of privacy, but it is never really totally private as things can be forwarded or copy/pasted off Facebook pages and e-mailed separately. There is also the interaction of groups that can be joined; these can often be seen by anyone on the Internet depending on the privacy levels set by the group's administrator.

Offline friendships can be harmed if people begin to feel neglected by their friends who are deeply immersed in Facebook. It is a problem when someone knows more about what's going on with their Facebook friends than they do their offline friendships. Additionally people may begin to connect strictly through Facebook instead of picking up a phone or making a visit which can put stress on a friendship.

• Work Relationships

It is pretty common for people to connect with bosses, colleagues and other professional relationships on Facebook. Facebook is a great networking tool, but one of the side effects is that it blurs personal and professional lives.

Many behaviors people exhibit when off the clock are quite different than the way they act when they are at work. People have to really be careful and not exhibit any levels of professionalism when on Facebook if they are connected to people they work with.

Anything that might be construed as unprofessional can really put a negative impression on a person and lead to problems in their career.  Another way work relationships can be harmed is if a person is addicted to Facebook and spends the day interacting on the site. This could cause discord with colleagues and anger bosses when time is frittered away playing instead of working.

Facebook is great, but it can damage relationships if you aren't careful. Today's online interaction has begun to really blend with offline relationships and sometimes it is very difficult to maintain both.

In the early Internet days people used pseudonyms and there wasn't a big problem, but business models such as Facebook are structured to use real names.  This has led to people exposing themselves wide open with their online interaction and unfortunately a negative side effect has been the way it has harmed real-life relationships. If due care isn't taken when on Facebook, people can seriously or permanently harm the people they care about.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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