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When you’ve just started chatting to, dating, or going out with someone, it’s not usual in these times to do a spot of, how shall we put it, checking up on social media. OK, let’s call it snooping, columboing (I love Columbo!). You know, it’s the poking around or even forensic analysis that you do without their knowledge or that you itch to do as soon as you legit connect on social. And then you discover that they’re following, liking or commenting on the profiles/photos of people that flag as disrespectful or a sign that they’re not to be trusted.

In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk through why we snoop around, what we feel uncomfortable about when we see that they like/follow ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ people, and what it means about what we may need to do.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • Our discomfort or outrage about what a partner, prospective or actual, likes or follows on social media tends to be around themes of worthiness, trust, image (how it looks to others) and attraction. e.g. We’re self-conscious about our body, and who they’re liking doesn’t look like that. We might feel that we’re not worthy of this person not needing to engage with content like this publicly. It comes across as disrespectful to us. Or, we regard their activity as the equivalent of having a wandering eye.
  • Humans have a tendency, especially when we want to distance ourselves from our problematic behaviour or its impact, of assessing our behaviour on our seeming/professed intentions. Someone cruising hot pics on social might not have considered how it will be perceived or experienced by, for instance, their partner.
  • If a prospective partner following, for example, hot/sexy people or liking and commenting is a deal-breaker, that’s yours to own not theirs to fix. Deal-breakers are deal-breakers for a reason; the deal is off! Why debate with a veritable stranger or someone you’ve only started getting to know through dates about what they’re following? It’s OK to not be OK with it. Vote with your feet.
  • Columboing puts you between a rock and a hard place. Especially if snooping around on social is a habit, you need to get honest about your intentions and actions. That doesn’t mean that you ‘shouldn’t check out their social, but know your ‘why’. If all you’re doing is verifying your suspicions, own it. Don’t use columboing on social to try to control this person, alleviate anxiety about other things you’re doing (e.g. moving too fast), or feel entitled to ‘getting’ a relationship.
  • If you’re in a relationship, conversate, don’t accuse or assume. Get a gauge of your respective comfort levels with social media as well as where each of you are coming from. Remember, stage 2 (you’ve mutually agreed to be in a relationship) is where the real getting to know begins.

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