'Virtual Displays of Affection':
Are They the Latest Online Dating Faux Pas?
According to new research by match.com embarrassing public displays of affection are now causing cringe-worthy shudders across the virtual world as well.
'Virtual Displays of Affection' are now being hailed as the online dating faux pas of the social media age, with many people screaming "TOO MUCH INFORMATION" at their computer screens in horror.
In their LoveGeist Report, match.com revealed that explicit posts, declarations of love, flirtatious Tweets and joint profile pictures are on the rise. As a result 39% of Brits have felt annoyed or embarrassed after stumbling on a OTT friend's social media profile.
And it doesn't end when a relationship bites the dust either, because 34% of Brits have read a comment or wall post about a painful break-up - with 58% saying they would rather not know the details!
So, why do we fall into this trap of revealing the intimate side of our relationships online?
Kate Taylor, resident relationship expert at match.com, believes that we use private online environments and emails as flirtatious platforms in the early stages of a relationship, which causes us to continue using online platforms (including social media) to nurture a relationship in the long term - despite the fact that VDA makes others uncomfortable.
Simply changing your status from 'single' to 'in a relationship' can be the first step towards unleashing your VDA on the digital world.
Kate added, "We all like to share that tingly feeling you get at the start of a relationship. There's nothing wrong with letting your close friends know you're happy, but it's important to keep in mind who you're sharing it with.
"It's unlikely that you'll be close friends with everyone you interact with on social media. What might seem a sweet comment in the eyes of you and your friends could come across as sounding unintentionally smug in the eyes of an acquaintance. Remember, VDAs invite a similar reception to PDAs, while you might think nothing of a quick smooch on public transport, but it can make observers feel uncomfortable.
If you want to know the romantic etiquette for social media, take a look at these top tips from Kate Taylor...
- Remember your audience – It's easy to forget who sees your social media updates. Your family might be cheering on your relationship, but your boss or your ex won't be so thrilled. Check your "sharing" options before you post, and always think twice about the content of flirtatious Tweets.
- Consider your partner's audience too – Will their boss see your comments or are their friends prone to teasing? In many cases a partner will enjoy private declarations of love (texts, emails, letters) far more than public ones. Leave it up to them whether or not they share it.
- Keep it light – If you do share emotional posts, keep them light-hearted and funny rather than romantic or intense. Ask yourself, "Would I say this message out loud in a group of acquaintances?" If you wouldn't say it, don't type it.
- Ask yourself why you want to send the VDA – Are you simply happy and excited, or are you feeling insecure? Sometimes, we use public declarations of love as a possessive tool, a kind of "marking our territory" gesture. If you are tempted to fill up your partner's wall as a way of displaying that they're taken, you need to stop, and instead work on building up your self-esteem.
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