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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nanyang Tech chapter.

Watching trends come and go is a regular experience I have as an avid Tiktok user. One trend, however, that I’ve noticed hasn’t gone away, is the topic about social media and relationships. As you can see from this Tiktok, one of the green flag ‘requirements’ of today’s relationships is that one has to post their relationship on social media. Otherwise, it seems like they are hiding something, or are ashamed of something, and it is indicative of a red flag or some unresolved unhappiness in the relationship. 

In today’s world, where our connectivity, social circles and social life is so inextricably tied to the internet and social media, they have become indicators of how our life is like, the status of our relationships, how our friendships are going, and so and so forth. But in my opinion, posting relationships on social media is a personal choice, and has little to no connection to the health of a relationship. 

Social media is like free real estate; anyone can do anything with that information that you post online. Social media is the place where we catch up with our inner circle of friends, but also on the people in our periphery. People we used to share school with, or go to class with, or might have been your best friend, and you’ve distanced and are not anymore. For the majority of our social media followers, we have lost a personal connection with them, and we are really only on each other’s pages on the off-chance that we reconnect, or simply to keep track of how their lives are. 

This results in us trying to curate a version of ourselves, to put out on social media for people to view, which allows us to shape their perceptions about us. For example, as an academic-validation girlie, I love to post newspaper articles, academic works, or opinions on current issues. It creates the perception that I’m in touch with current and academic affairs, and it appears like I’m an intellectual. For others, it might be creating an image of productivity. Pictures of work spaces, homework, walking to work and more could contribute to that image. 

This concept isn’t new. As social media grew to include consumerism, we now become consumers of each other’s identity, and we want others to see us like how we would like to be seen, which results in this image curation. 

This becomes a bit of an issue, in my opinion, when it comes to relationships. Very rarely do we see posts about break-ups, about tough times, conflicts, arguments between couples. We only see the anniversary pictures, the long, sweet, lovey-dovey messages and the positive side of things. Again, it is a curation, to show or prove to others that we are in happy relationships, that all is going well, and at its core, that we have not failed in our relationships. 

As the saying goes, “don’t air your dirty laundry in public”; we only want a clean image of ourselves. When we post our relationships online, that clean image must be maintained, and so our relationships must be made in such a way that it only bolsters our image, and not drag it down. Whether the posts are true or false is a whole other issue, but regardless, it still only shows a fragment of the relationship, which makes it an inaccurate representation of what the relationship truly is. Very rarely can we really tell the health of a relationship just from pictures off social media. Yet, we somehow come to conclusions or perceptions about others’ relationships just from checking their feeds, and looking at the regularity of their partner’s appearance in their stories. 

Peer pressures through social trends to post about relationships can be toxic, especially if the person is particularly private about personal affairs. Specifically in the Tiktok, it talks about how “even if he ‘doesn’t use social media like that’’ it is just an excuse, and if he wanted to, he would (Sounds familiar? Check out this article where I wrote about it). But what if some people just do not like to post on social media because of how scrutinising it can be. Especially for relationships, it can invite unwanted opinions and comments from people who don’t really matter, but whose words can affect you in one way or another. 

Everyone seems to have an idea of what a relationship should look like, especially with the concept of green and red flags. If your relationship doesn’t fall neatly into either category, it seems odd and even suspicious for some. It can truly warp our perceptions of our relationships and create unnecessary conflicts. We might think that it’s easy to block out what others have to say, but it is truly easier said than done. 

Ultimately, for a green/red flag label to be dependent on whether one posts on social media is a little of a reach for me. Everyone has their own preferences and comfort levels in terms of how much they want to show to others, and how much they value their privacy. More importantly, it is a personal choice. Whether or not you want to post on social media should be entirely up to you, and there shouldn’t be any social pressures on what feels or is right for your relationship. 

Instead of curating an image for others to consume, perhaps we should focus on curating our relationship expectations and boundaries to the things that matter: our partners and ourselves.

Emmy Kwan

Nanyang Tech '25

The embodiment of a "material gworl" but with no money, if she isn't complaining about capitalism, the economy or the patriarchy, you can find Emmy in the aisles of a clothing store, ironically selling her soul to the corporations she often critiques.