Some say social media is a blessing; others say it’s a curse. A blessing because it allows people to reconnect with old friends and makes mass communication a heck of a lot easier; and a curse because it has the undeniable power to foster paranoia, jealousy, and even depression. In today’s day and age where technology is advancing in quality and consumption, how do we maintain meaningful reactions with our loved ones—and with strangers, for that matter—, and not fall victims to the false pretenses our social media accounts so tactfully dangle in front of our eyes?

We hear it on the news, and even our doctors are now recommending it: spend no more than two hours on social media a day. It’s so easy to get lost in the sea of photos, videos, and comment threads, but it can be even easier to put the phone down and see the world around us. Admittedly, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram started out with good intentions—to bring people together. While we are all connected in the cloud, we’ve seem to forgotten how to connect on solid ground, and it’s not getting any better. Likewise, relationships are suffering from social media’s easily accessible information; not only can you see who people are friends with, but you can also see which photo’s they’ve liked, if they’ve commented on something, etc. We are given too much information, and it is hurting our real-life connections. Our trust and faith in our friends, family and loved ones are compromised in an instant, something that could have and would have been totally avoided if social media was not so revealing or even misleading.

Of course, this doesn’t excuse blatant lying or sneaking around that occurs and is tracked through social media. This is mainly to address how perceived actions on social media platforms can be detrimental to real-life relationships. For example, you text a friend who doesn’t respond for some time, but when you go on Facebook or Twitter you see they’ve liked or commented on a photo within the time you texted them. You’re angry and hurt, so you confront them. The fact is, everyone interacts differently on their phones and on social media; the other fact is that this can cause large communication gaps in relationships and create distrust and resentment.

What can we do to keep our relationships alive and still thrive in the awesomeness of social media? For starters, Forbes recommends sharing as little as possible on social media:

 

“[Some] tend to overestimate the importance of being “Facebook-official” and actively sharing personal stuff online. As already mentioned, social media often feeds into our insecurities.”

 

This can apply to all relationships, romantic and platonic. If you’re posting a lot, you’re probably on your phone a lot.

We used to take photos with polaroid cameras and flip phones. Now it’s all become about getting the perfect profile picture, food shot, or Instagram Story that is the perfect balance of hipster and artsy. A picture is worth 1,000 words, but living in the moment is worth much, much more.