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  • Writer's pictureArooba Syed

The Unspoken Rules of Social Media- An Informal Therapist Rant

Can We Make Social Media Safe For Our Mental Health?


I've been a part of many social settings in the past couple of years and one thing that I struggle to wrap my head around are the unsaid rules of social media. Maybe it's because this is my last year in my twenties and my mind is beginning to operate differently, or maybe it's all the healing work that I've been doing for the past 7 years.


Regardless of the reason- I'm just tired of it, so I'm going to say something. I'm tired of exclusion, I'm tired of adult cyber bullying and I'm tired of "othering" people.


I think social media can be better for our mental health if we collectively stop the following:



Making fun of people who post about their daily lives on social media.


Bruhhh it's called social media for a reason. It's created to ENGAGE and share our experiences. The small, the big, and everything in between. I'm not always active on my personal instagram account but when I am, I wanna see that iced coffee you got from that random hole in the wall. I wanna see where you ate. I wanna see families, friends and partners being together. I wanna see your solo dates. I want to SEE people living it up, down or even sideways tbh.


I want to see it all!


Believe it or not, I've messaged people wishing them during special occasions (weddings, brithdays, etc.) that they're posting about. And people have actually apologized to ME for posting too much or for taking “over” my feed. I thought that was WILD because I couldn't understand why they'd are apologizing for using the app for its purpose- to someone they barely know? It makes me wonder if they're afraid of people judging them for posting. And they're not wrong, because I've heard the judgements. I used to worry about this too.


Making fun of people for not posting enough.


LOL yup, this is a thing too. If you don't post enough, apparently you're a lurker, stalker, creep, etc. Just like there are introverts and extraverts, there are people who love to post/share and there are people who don't care to share. AND THAT IS OKAY. Allow people to have their privacy.


If you don't wanna show it, I don't wanna see it.


Making fun of parents (mainly moms) who post "a lot" of baby/children pics or if parents decide to make their children social media accounts to share their cute outfits, activities or whatever the heck.



FAM, do you know how astonishing it is to be able to create life? If parents only want to post pictures of their children... freaking let them be.


Also, babies and kids are cute. I wanna see them do cute things.


I read a quote years ago that said "children are the best theorists" and I truly believe this.





Making fun of people for creating accounts for their pets.


ANIMALS ARE CUTE! It's so exciting getting a pet. Pets have personalities of their own and it's NICE to see them.



Making fun of people for posting about their experiences.


Examples: someone posting about their experience travelling or someone posting about a new transition in their life: school, work, marriage, adulthood, etc.


Again it's called SOCIAL MEDIA.


Making fun of people for not always being happy and sharing some serious/real stuff about their lives.


I've seen badass people share real and hard experiences. For example, someone going through a hard divorce, feeling alone, being sad, etc.


Can someone tell me WHO decided social media can only be a picture perfect outlet and you're not allowed to show other emotions?



On the flip side:


It's okay if you're not in the place to consume certain content.


It's okay to have certain boundaries with social media. It's okay to protect your peace. It's okay if you personally don't want to share intimate parts of yourself on social media.


Maybe you don't want to see people being sad. Maybe you don't want to see babies. Maybe you genuinely don't care about animals. Maybe you don't want to see everyone and their grandmas getting married. Maybe social media is your happy place where you don't want to be doing your social justice work on.


That is OKAY.


What's NOT okay is putting down people who express themselves differently. We judge children and teens for doing this, yet we engage in these behaviours ourselves. MAKE IT MAKE SENSE PLEASE!


If you have people on your instagram that trigger you, here are some options:

  • Unfollow them

  • Block them

  • Mute them: this is an option that many people don't know about. But if you feel uncomfortable blocking or unfollowing certain people, you can mute them.

If you've gotten this far and really didn't understand the point of this rant. I'll sum it up for you:


Social media can be safe. Let people be. Let people live. We can make a difference on an individual level.

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