Why you should care
Because love is a beautiful thing, but there is such a thing as too much.
Selfie, meet relfie.
You know what it is, even if the word is unfamiliar: It’s the relationship selfie clogging up your Instagram feed, images of the besotted couple who, like Beyonce, are so crazy in love they can’t help documenting their bliss and amassing the likes. Cheesy? Sure. Derided? By many.
But those happy relfies may really be a sign that a relationship is in good health, according to a forthcoming study in the journal Personal Relationships. The author wrote about the study in the academic blog the Science of Relationships.
There is some danger in getting too schmoopie.
He set out to answer two questions with two studies — in total involving more than 200 subjects:
Can an outside viewer guess at your happiness based on your relfie posts?
Do we actually like people who post about their relationships on Facebook?
The authors found that if their subjects publicly acknowledged their relationships in their status (I’m in a relationship! I’m engaged! I’m married!) and posted happy relfies, people in their networks tended to believe that the couple had a healthy bond. That usually correlated correctly with what the posters felt about their relationships, too. Happy relfies predict healthy relationships.
In a second study, the authors created fake profiles and tested a range of photos and posts. Confessing your love? Sure, that’s OK. Going all mushy or a little too much disclosure? Those folks, their friends liked the least.
The study tested such arresting bon mots as “Pining away for Jordan … I just love you so much I can’t stand it!” and “I love my girlfriend <3.” The second, not so bad. The first may hinge on just too much.
Or, to put it in the technical terms provided by professor Benjamin Le of Haverford College: “There is some danger in getting too schmoopie.”
In other words: If you go too far, your happiness might annoy your friends. Schmoop all over your perfect love — but maybe keep it to yourself, or the girlfriends at the bar.