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Why It’s Time to Stop Playing Pretend on Social Media

Candid pic. VSCO Cam filter. Caption game strong. Insta aesthetic is looking good. And…post. 

We live in a society where spontaneity is undermined by posed pictures or what we know as: “plandids.” This is the idea that we need to pretend we are having fun and enjoying ourselves instead of actually living in the moment. It’s as if we are there physically, but our minds are elsewhere. We hunt for the trendiest spots and have a two-second cue with our friends who tell us what facial expressions to make, where to look, and how to pose for a picture. The truth is, these pictures are not all that they seem.

The pictures people post on their Instagram accounts with witty captions and “candid” laughing seem to make people think “Wow this is so cute”, “Why can’t I be fun like that?”, or “I need to go there so I can take a picture just like that.” In reality, these images are a façade. We just want people to think a certain way about us. We want to see how many likes and comments we can get. We live for that–those notifications on our screens that determine our popularity based on something superficial and intangible.

Photos are meant for memories. They are moments we want to reflect on when we are older. They are treasures that we hold dear to our hearts. They are reminders and collections of happy moments with our loved ones. But it seems as though we are not using photos as just memories anymore. We are taking them for granted to simply show that we were there. OK, you were there, but how did you spend your time there? Did you actually laugh at something someone said? Did you actually enjoy the atmosphere? I mean, how many times do people just go somewhere for the picture? I know I’m guilty of that.


We let social media run our lives at the tip of our fingers. We have become experts at making our lifestyle look nothing like the life we actually live. I can’t tell you how many times it’s occurred where people didn’t even have a good time where they were but posted a picture just to stay in tune with the latest spots. It’s a never ending cycle where one person posts a “plandid” at the same place someone else did. We are becoming replicas of one another.

The idea that we fail to understand is that candids are about presence. They are about being natural (even if the picture doesn’t come out the cutest). Let’s be real with one another. We aren’t models. Models are supposed to stay in shape and eat healthy to show off their seemingly flawless lifestyle on social media. They are supposed to promote their products and all of their destinations. They get paid for that. The sad truth is, we follow that trend. We have such an urge to compare ourselves to other people that we have distorted social media by giving people false perceptions of our reality.

Life is ultimately about the connections we make. It’s about the people we surround ourselves with. The places that we visit just compliment that. Our lifestyle shouldn’t be planned or posed. In fact, sometimes when we aren’t on our phones we don’t get absorbed in the photo aspect of it all and instead we have the best conversations with the very people in front of us.

Post something spontaneous and don’t overthink your caption for more than 2 minutes. Get out of your comfort zone. Stop making people believe that you are something you’re not and start showing off the beautifully, uniquely created you. It’s so much easier to accept yourself knowing that your life isn’t perfect than to pretend that it is. 




24 Miami, FL Majoring in Psychology at Florida International University Lover of all things coffee, books, skincare, and adventure
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