I think my wife is addicted to Facebook. Not only is she constantly on her lap top when we are at home, but she gets her messages and friend requests sent directly to her cell phone. So even on the go, she is always connected and checking her messages every few minutes. I can barely have a conversation with her anymore. And if that is not bad enough, the other night we were out to dinner and she demanded that we leave the restaurant early because she didn’t want her food to spoil. Of course I was confused because we were at a top-notch restaurant. Come to find out, she was talking about the food in her “virtual” restaurant. Apparently she plays a game on Facebook called Café World. I have tried several times to talk to my wife about this, she of course denies it. One time she called me silly, told me I was overreacting and then posted something about me in her status update. I think social media is a waste of grown folk’s time and it is messing up our relationship! What can I do about this? — Anti Social
Dear Anti Social:
“You are certainly not alone in your “anti social” movement. There are plenty of people who steer clear of Facebook and other social media sites because of their potential to hinder relationships. As an avid Facebooker, and self-proclaimed “techie,” I know firsthand how strong the technology pull can be. I too have all of my social media sites forwarded to my cell phone. I like being connected and entertained while on the go. I also consider myself a social butterfly and I like connecting with people and reconnecting with old friends. I can spend hours on my phone or in front of the computer. But I have found that the key to social media is “balance.” Just like everything else in life, we have to balance the time we spend engaging in social media and on the computer, especially when it begins to affect our relationships.
When you accuse someone of being “addicted” to something, many times their initial reaction will be defensive. They may focus more on the accusation rather than the activity and if in fact there is some type of addiction or imbalance. Instead of accusing your wife of being addicted to Facebook, you should try talking to her about your real feelings and how you feel about her spending so much of her time on her laptop and cell phone and less time with you. Having an honest conversation and sharing your feelings and concerns could possibly help your wife to see and recognize an “imbalance” that needs to be corrected.
The author of Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.