Every time I log onto Facebook, I know exactly what kind of statuses I’m going to see. There will be posts from people with kids or pets, people updating everyone on their dinner or their workout, or others raving about politics. Then, of course, we have the most annoying statuses of all – couples who don’t seem to realize that they can have a relationship without all of Facebook knowing.
As it turns out, I’m not such a grouch for being irritated by these statuses. In fact, people who post about their relationship on Facebook may have psychological issues, according to research.
A Team of psychologists from Brunel University, London took a survey of 555 Facebook users. Their aim was to find out how they used Facebook and measure the “Big Five” personality traits in each of them. These traits are extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Along with those, they also measured narcissism and self-esteem.
It seems that how we behave online has a bigger effect on our everyday lives than we may think. According to Dr. Tara Marshall, one of the psychologists behind the study, “It might come as little surprise that Facebook status updates reflect people’s personality traits. However, it is important to understand why people write about certain topics on Facebook … People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracized.”
Unsurprisingly, this research found that people who post updates about going to the gym or their workout routine were more narcissistic in nature. They also posted more about other achievements in their life too. The reasons that they do this it seems is to receive more likes and comments, making them feel validated and giving them the attention they crave.
Marshall also stated that “Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.”
This research also studied other types of Facebook posting. For example, they found that people who posted about their children had a higher level of conscientiousness than others. Unlike people who post about the gym, this group of people didn’t post to Facebook for likes or attention.
What They Found About Couples Posting on Facebook
Along with surveying parents and gym freaks, these psychologists also took a look at couples. These were the kind people posting pictures holding hands with their partner and writing “I love you” to each other.
Surprisingly, the researchers behind the study found that these people were not textbook narcissists. They did, however, show extremely low levels of self-esteem. Just like narcissists, the reasons for their posting was because they craved likes, but they did so for different reasons.
How You Can Avoid Being Obnoxious on Facebook
It’s all well and good to want likes and comments on your Facebook posts. The problem which was stated by Dr. Tara Marshall, that “Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays”, means that you might not even realize that your posts are irritating people.
So, how can you know if your posts are obnoxious? According to Marshall, “Greater awareness of how one’s status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain.” This means that you’ll need to take a deeper look at what you’re posting. You may be annoying people without even realizing it.
Online couples aren’t narcissists, but it turns out that they do have some serious self-esteem issues. Although their attempts at validation from Facebook friends may get them more likes, it’s probably more annoying than anything else. If there’s anything that we can all learn from this, it’s to not be that annoying couple on Facebook.