How real are your In­sta-friend­ships?

Re­al­ity check.

Cosmopolitan Middle East - - CONTENTS - BY JES­SICA GOOD­MAN

Loyal In­sta fol­low­ers are the best. They Like all your posts, send you hearts in the DMs, and tell you your thirst-trap pics are hot. But could they cut it as real-world friends? Lots of seem­ing BFF-doms now spring up on­line, and they can be le­git con­nec­tions. But so-called Fol­low friend­ships don’t nec­es­sar­ily carry the same perks as ones you nur­ture IRL. “You might know what she had for lunch, but she doesn’t know that you’re go­ing through a hard time be­cause you don’t post about it,” says psy­chol­o­gist An­drea Bonior, PhD, au­thor of The Friend­ship Fix. “So­cial plat­forms make things murky,” adds friend­ship re­searcher Miriam Kir­mayer. “Peo­ple might have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of how close you are.” If you do post about a rough patch, you might hope she calls or comes over, but she may feel she’s be­ing sup­port­ive with noth­ing but a sad-face emoji. That’s not to say dig­i­tal friend­ships can’t morph into the real thing. But you might never get there un­til you spend ac­tual one-on-one time to­gether in per­son, says Kir­mayer. “It adds a layer of un­der­stand­ing and helps get you on the same page.” Still, there’s lots of gray area be­tween just an FF and a to­tal BFF, and some­times it’s hard to suss out who’s what. Take this quiz to de­code what all those dou­ble taps have led to.

“UGH, I Hate My BFF’s On­line Per­sona”

So you just had a brunch with your bestie, where you caught up on life, love, and the pur­suit of free champs. You hugged, said good-bye, and parted ways. An hour later, you scroll In­sta and see she posted a photo from the meal with a cap­tion that’s so... not the ex­pe­ri­ence you ac­tu­ally just had. “This can be con­fus­ing be­cause when you feel like you’re close to some­body and they seem like some­one else on­line, it feels al­most like a be­trayal,” says Miriam Kir­mayer. Your pal may be pro­ject­ing a cer­tain per­sona so oth­ers find her more Like-wor­thy. If that’s the case, con­sider mut­ing her feed. (No need to block – that’s a lit­tle dras­tic.) “This lets you both re­main con­nected on so­cial me­dia and pre­serves the health­ier as­pects of your friend­ship,” says Kir­mayer. On the other hand, if you have a pal who seems to over­share deep de­tails on­line, she could be seek­ing help. Some­times it’s eas­ier to write about tough stuff than ad­mit to it face-to­face. Ask your friend about it gen­tly off­line. Try: “I saw your post, and I wanted to check in and make sure you’re okay. Do you want to talk?”

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