Are Your Social Networking Comments a Source of Friction with Your Spouse or Partner?

If you are the outgoing, share-it-all-online type, but your wife, husband, girl/boyfriend or significant other prefers a higher level of digital privacy, your online comments may become a source of friction in your relationship.

In the past, relationships had to weather the potentially indiscrete comments to family or friends, but oversharing now takes on an additional dimension when anecdotes, irritations, intimacies – and fights –  go public.

Balancing your need for personal expression with another’s need for privacy or your sense of humor with someone’s sense of professionalism may require a highly refined level of negotiation.

With some couples, that negotiation comes belatedly after a number of blunders and embarrassment forces the need to set boundaries. Other couples start the negotiations early with specific discussions of what is or isn’t ok to post about your relationship or partner, your finances or location, your political views or your photos, your family or your faith.

Regardless of what initiated the discussion, the conversation may be fraught with friction as one party feels stifled while the other feels exposed, but you are likely to be more successful if you get out in front of the comment train before one of you feels run over.

Consider agreeing to give each other the right to review content – messages, blogs, photos, videos, even jokes –  before it is posted. Make an agreement that the other person has to review the content in a timely manner so you aren’t held hostage to their delays.   

Once you’ve had time to get a clear sense of the content your partner (or you) will object to, see if you can’t integrate the sensitive areas into your mental filtering process so you can go back to posting without the need for partner reviews.

For some, this is all it takes to integrate and respect your partner’s privacy needs. For others, reviewing each other’s content may always remain your preference.

When couples fight online, everyone loses

In the early days of email, angry coworkers vented their frustration by sending “flame” mails – angry tirades that left any pretense of professionalism behind. These flame mails simply fanned the anger of the targeted individual or group, and flame wars broke out with petty and caustic emails destroying team morale and careers.  As a result, employees learned that while it might be healthy to write a flame mail, it was best to avoid hitting the Send button.

It seems this lesson has not yet been learned by the many couples who take their frustrations public – or semi-public with their friends and family.  These public spats aren’t simply an immature teen phenomenon. Couples who have been married for years destroy their reputations, their families, their friendships and their careers when they take fights public.

Are you guilty of “flame” tactics on Facebook? Here’s just a few of the ways couples snipe at each other:

      • Changing relationship status
      • Sharing an embarrassing story or photo
      • Regurgitating a private argument
      • Attempting to gain support for your point of view
      • Asking your “audience” to weigh in

While some friends may find your feud funny, most are fed up. Either way, you aren’t looking classy among your friends and family – or to colleagues, bosses and recruiters. If you think they’re interested in hiring or promoting someone who is immature enough to attack their partner publicly, think again. They believe that If you show such poor judgment that you’ll publicly fight with a partner, you’re likely to smear the company if you become disgruntled.

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