A running joke started about me last summer. A very dear and salty friend started a note in her iPhone entitled ‘Things Marie has no chill about’. Others have since embraced the joke and my occasional rants are now responded to with threats to add said subject matter to the list. Well, guess what? I’m happily adding Instagram myself and here’s why!

I’ll start off by being honest and self-deprecating to win you over before switching to my usual preachy self-righteous tone. Social media and my strong views of acceptable and unacceptable conduct have caused a slew of relationship problems for me. Not family problems, not arguments with friends, solely boyfriend problems. I’ve had some pretty solid burns in the past few years and have settled on a brief, initial getting-to-know-you period of social media monitoring as being the most reliable judge of character and conduct in men. As unpopular as that may be, I stand by it.

The best way to use Instagram

If you produce anything visual you should undoubtedly be on Instagram. Photographers, fashion designers, architects, nail technicians anything like this justifies an ongoing and everlasting portfolio of your work. Love it.

Here is where it gets hairy for me- if the only thing you ‘produce’ is how you look or things you buy, you are training yourself to be valued and rewarded only for those things. Since I deleted my already neglected Instagram a few months ago this has become an even more glaringly obvious problem for users around me. Those dopamine surges that come at you when you see more likes and positive comments are real, chances are the Insta-image you have cultivated is not though. I didn’t delete Instagram because I’m not attractive or haven’t accomplished more than most people have by the time they hit their deathbeds. I deleted it because I don’t need some random bro from Indiana who I never have and likely never will meet, or that girl I haven’t seen since elementary school, to tell me that. *Insert sassy manicure emoji*

Relationships though…

“Liking Instagram selfies is the modern equivalent of chatting up a girl in a bar.”

– salty girl who invented my no-chill list

I never have and never will be okay with my partner liking selfies or bikini shots or anything else posted with zero value besides gathering those dopamine hits and checking your follower’s list to see who might still want to bang. Never. Look at the photo all damn day if you want, just don’t engage. Guys, this is the best social media advice anyone has ever given you- you’re welcome. When I see mirror selfies and posed poolside pics I genuinely feel bad for the girl no matter what she looks like because it is a cry for attention and validation you straight up do not see in stable, successful, fulfilled women. I know because I’ve been on both sides.

What is the harm though really?

If the only attention you give to a female acquaintance or friend is the hit of a button when she shows some skin you are directly telling her that is the extent of her worth to you. If you really want to make someone feel good about themselves, ask them how they are, or how their pet or their family is, show them you noticed something other than the filtered bullshit facade. If you are in a relationship and proceed to give other women attention for these kinds of ‘thirst trap’ behaviors online, you don’t deserve to be in a relationship. Liking a photo is a signal of interest. You only ‘like’ a photo if you want the other person to see you did so, and I genuinely think the act of ‘liking’ is often just as needy and attention seeking as posting the photo yourself. When your partner sees this it creates distrust, insecurity, inevitable comparison drawing and curiosity about the history and origin of your relationship with that person. It is a blatant lack of respect for your partner and the position they hold in your life. What is more valuable? Flesh and blood that devotes time and energy to you, or a digitally manipulated best of 20 tries bathroom selfie someone decided to broadcast indiscriminately? Proceed with caution boys.