Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest. We’ve all used these apps to connect with our loved ones, fellow fans and creators, and that random frat boy we slept with in junior year. Most of us will admit, albeit reluctantly, to using these apps to “stalk” individuals, too. Facebook stalking isn’t the same as regular stalking. There’s no danger or cruel intent. Instead of being about the stalkee, it’s all about the stalker. So why are you stalking these people? And is this weird but popular habit something you should bring with you into the new year?
1. Your Ex
When we think of Facebook-stalking, exes often come to mind first. Stalking your ex online is a double-edged sword. You’re either going to feel superior or inferior. Unless you’re completely #overit, there isn’t a chance that you’ll feel happy for your ex-partner. (And let’s face it, if you were indifferent, you wouldn’t be stalking.) So yeah, you heard that fuckboy got a new girlfriend and want to see if she’s a “downgrade”? There’s a chance she’s not a downgrade and you’ll become obsessed with stalking her and thinking about how she’s so much better. Which brings us to our next stalkee…
2. Your Ex’s New Partner
Insta-stalking is like crack. It’s addictive AF. You found out the one that got away has moved on to someone else, so naturally you have to creep on his or her page to see WTF they have that you don’t. Turns out, there are going to be a lot of things they have – or at least, it’ll always seem that way. Look at them biking together. Your ex hated that you never wanted to work up a sweat outside of the bedroom. OMG, are they wearing matching Christmas sweaters?! She refused to do that with you! What’s so much better about this new person?!
The truth is, there are better things and worse things about your ex’s new partner. I know, it feels like defeat that they moved on before you did (or moved on at all from your awesome self). But trust me, it’s not. So how about you just click “x” and move on like they so obviously have.
3. Your Partner’s Ex
On the flip side, there’s your current squeeze’s ex to research online. There’s always a slight sense of jealousy about anyone your boyfriend has dated before you, even if you’re not a jealous person and especially if that ex was a first love. She’s pretty, she’s smart, and she’s single?! OMG, they’re friendly, too! He wished her a happy birthday!! And she wrote back “:) 🙂 :)” – who sends THREE smiles?! They are totally Snapchatting. I know it!
Take a deep breath. Your partner is with you now, after all. If you’re truly worried, communicate with your partner. Don’t waste time on social media jealousy.
4. Your Former Friend
Closing out the ex category, let’s talk about your ex-friend. You know, that toxic person you parted ways with. So why are you still letting their evilness seep into your life? I know, sometimes you’re tempted to click through their Twitter just to laugh at their sycophantic tweets and general ridiculousness. But if a part of you is a wee bit jealous when you see photos of your ex-roomie with her new BFFs, maybe you should click unfollow. Or mute. Or hell, if she’s stalking you back – block.
5. The Hot Mess
Finally, someone with a life even you can judge. Sometimes it’s nice to Insta-stalk someone who leads a completely disreputable life. It makes you feel good about your hungover walk of shame last weekend, and the weekend before, and the weekend before that. But hey, judge not, lest you be judged. Even though this sort of stalking makes you feel good, it’s still a pretty shitty thing to do.
6. The Pinterest Perfect Princess
And then, on the other hand, there’s that person you’re totally jealous of who leads a #instaperfect life. All of the photos on her feed have the same flawless aesthetic, and when you see her in person, her brow game is just as on point as it is on her photos. Maybe they’re even a recruiter or influencer you’ve been following on LinkedIn. Whatever the case, this sort of stalking is toxic because it makes you feel bad about yourself. Chances are the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and even though this person’s life looks amazing on the screen, when it comes down to it, there are still complications and problems.
It’s safe to say that online stalking is dangerous, just like real life stalking. However, it’s not the recipient who feels the effects, unless, of course, you accidentally hit them with that double tap on a photo that’s fifty weeks old. (There’s no coming back from that one.) It’s you, the stalker. Let go of the drama, the negativity, and the obsession in 2018. I know, it’s hard to refrain from stalking sometimes. But remember: blocking is your friend, and if you can’t or don’t want to block someone, unfollow, and even mute are options, too. Take some time to destress when it comes to social media in 2018, and let’s try to stop it with the useless stalking together.