Social Media and Relationships

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Can social media platforms damage relationships?

Can social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and dating websites damage family, romantic, and friendly relationships? Most people, including clinical psychologists, believe that using online networks to strengthen close relationships with individuals has an impact on the individual's interpersonal skills. According to the researchers, face-to-face contact creates stronger connections than television, and as a result, an individual may develop personality disorders as a result of isolation (Przybylski and Netta 237). This argument, though, is not entirely right since several relationships develop as a result of interaction on various web sites. In fact, individuals can meet online, build friendships, come together and end up in marriage despite the challenges of physical location. In this regard, social media enhances the interaction between people throughout the globe. Jones argues in chapter 7 of his book that the nature of interactions between individuals that like or love each other does not only determine the strength of the relationship but also indicates the significance of the communication process in various stages of the lifespan (401). Based on the insights from the book, the argument in this paper critically analyzes the Jones's opinions in regards to the author's point of view towards romantic, family, and friendship relations against the role of social media in building them.

The nature of friendships

Jones (480) argues that the relationship between friends is based on the needs of an individual which lead to different types or levels of the same. Further, the author posits that the connection between people can fall under four primary categories which include reciprocal, associative, receptive, or friends with benefits. In this argument, the author has the point of view that the only way friendships form is through equals who are committed and loyal to each other, for convenience to achieve particular goals, close working relations, or for relationships without necessarily committing to love (Jones 481). The point of view is evident in the question that the author poses to the readers if they consider all the contacts in Facebook as their friends. The inference implies that social media does not represent the closeness of friendship between individuals since the people have no point of contact or a way of achieving their objectives in such a relationship. However, this is not true. The online platforms for enhancing friendships do not limit even the close friends who see each other from meeting (Przybylski and Netta 237). The argument that not all the individuals in the media are friends might be true to some extent. However, it does not mean that if one meets a person online with whom they share common view towards social issues, thay cannot be friends. The aim of friendships is fun, emotional, and behavioral support. Therefore, web pages such as Facebook or Twitter help an individual achieve this aid out of the solutions that the people offer advice based on the problem a person shares on the platform (Koifman). Also, an individual can get positive feedback which can encourage them to achieve more in their commitments. In this regard, it is not only the needs of a person that determine the intensity of the relations between people but also the shared values, despite the physical location. In fact, the technology-aided platforms further encourage a diversified platform to learn from other cultures too towards building healthy friendship across the world.

Dynamics of friendships and the role of social media

Jones (483) also argues that friendships have a lifespan and can end once the other person dies, works in a distant location, or no longer in need of the benefit they are seeking in that commitment. Further, the lack of support from other social institutions such as family, and romance due to the voluntary nature complicates the extent of friendships. In this argument, not only does Jones (483) confirm that there is a need for personal contact with friends to have a close relationship but also the needs of a person are based on a particular interest out of the relationship. On the contrary, technological inventions such as the social media platforms can only help breach this gap (Koifman). If the mutual relationship between two individual is based on particular principles and shared values, then even if that individual dies, the memories can remain in the other individual and guide the person in making friends. In this regard, the concept of friendship can refer to not only the tangible benefits and presence but also the impacts of the process on the perception and thinking of the individual which is tied to a particular person. Besides, in the case of social media, a post by an individual whether alive or not cannot be changed or erased for this reason. Therefore, if the person draws the friendship out of such comments or posts to generate the intrinsic value, then the ties to such benefits continue beyond location and personal contact.

Impact on family communications

Regarding family communications, Jones (499) argues that since most children spend most of the time with their parents and siblings, they should encourage conversing midst them as a way to educate, socialize and prepare them for the interactions outside the family. Moreover, in the early and adult stages where a person is either underage or married, family time and conversation takes precedence (Jones 499). However, in the adolescent age, people tend to move away from their parents and focus on communication with their peers. In this context, if the parents or the individuals concentrate on social media interactions then such bonds that enhance socialization cannot happen. Also, there can be resistance in regards to agreeing with the parents on particular family beliefs, values, or behaviors (Jones 499). However, the argument ignores the fact that parents and various family backgrounds are not similar hence the outcome of an individual growing up is different. For example, if a person grows in a place where there is domestic violence, they can turn out to be aggressive towards the opposite gender. However, if these individuals find solace in friends through the social media platforms who encourage them through peer influence, they can be able to have a positive attitude and prevent such acts from happening (Koifman). In this regard, the social platforms are not in any way an impediment to the socialization process, but they can facilitate the process and build stronger family ties out of the shared experiences. The pages are not only individuals but different organizations which help build the relationships and give hope through sharing various common problems people go through in their lifetime and how they cope with different situations.

Role of social media in romantic relationships

Based on the romantic relationships, Jones (509) argues that people date, cohabit, or make arrangements through marriage partnerships. Further, the attractiveness towards another gender or to the same ones in other instances depends or the physical appearance, family backgrounds, or way of communication (Jones 510). In all the stages of courtship to marriage, the relationship between individuals is defined based on the interpersonal skills, interaction processes, and sharing on likes and dislikes, as a way to determine its success (Jones 510). In this regard, the romance between two people is based on their physical meetings and interaction physically to gauge their compatibility and possibility of getting married. Some of the couples start dating even from high school age, while others undergo multiple relationships before setting on marriage. However, it is not true that physical interaction is the only way to meet a lifetime partner especially in the advent of technology (Przybylski and Netta 238). Today, most people can meet through dating sites, through social media platforms such as Facebook, and companies that enhance building romantic relationships through matchmaking (Steers et al. 203). Though there are challenges of con threats and fake photos, most of the relationships that succeed out of the online meetings are based on a process of friendship which eventually materializes to meetings. In this regard, the social media only plays a facilitative role towards expanding the scope of the interactive process which could lead to romantic relationships rather than a pitfall for the same.


Based on a personal opinion, social media does not hurt the romantic, family, or friendship relationship but enhances their strength. The concept of friendship is not only an implication of the connection between the individuals themselves but also a significant contribution to the shared values and beliefs upon which a healthy relationship sprouts. The social media offers a platform where people express their personal opinions about who they are without fear of judgment. The choice of inviting or accepting friends, liking particular pages or following them, and nature of the interaction is based on the individual (Koifman). In most cases, an individual searches the other person's profile to determine whether their shared values can give ground for any conflicts. Besides, most of the sites restrict their users to a particular age where the individual can be able to make rational decisions. In this regard, the friendships and social media pages can help inspire good behavior, provide emotional support, and give rise to healthy romantic relationships. There are challenges of time spent by people on the platforms which can affect their personality and socialization process as a result of virtual friends, and exposure to unbecoming behavior such as access to immoral sites. However, the society can resolve this through the enhancing the roles and supervision of the parents and content developers as the critical stakeholders to a child's discipline and development.

In conclusion, most of the arguments by Jones depict the usage of social media as an impediment to building family, romantic, and friendship relationships. Further, psychological tests on overdependence on online platforms by psychologist compliment the view that interpersonal communication plays a crucial role in the personality and development of strong ties between individuals. However, the individuals ignore the positive sides of the online platforms where many organizations create awareness on various issues that positive change the perceptions of people in the society as well as stable relationships. Today, the social media arena is becoming a social institution in itself that does not only correct the imbalances of family backgrounds but also encourage the global integration of cultures and sharing of ideas that support people emotionally and behavior wise. Besides, the ideology of friendships and relationships is no longer based only on the person as an entity but also their ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that they share, or resonate with those of others.

Works Cited

Jones, Richard G. Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies. 1st ed. Washington, D. C.: The Saylor Foundation, 2013.

Koifman, Natasha. "Can Social Media Actually Benefit Relationships?" HuffPost Canada. Accessed 23 September 2017.

Przybylski, Andrew K., and Netta Weinstein. “Can You Connect with Me Now? How the Presence of Mobile Communication Technology Influences Face-to-Face Conversation Quality.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships vol. 30, no. 3, 2012, pp. 237-246.

Steers, Mai-Ly N. et al. “Love Online: How Relationship Awareness on Facebook Relates to Relationship Quality Among College Students.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture, vol. 5, no. 3, 2016, pp. 203-216.

January 05, 2023
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