I feel like every time I go on Facebook, there is another person who just became engaged.
I’m usually friends with the bride-to-be and not the future groom, so I’m not sure of his side of the story, but she usually posts a couple photos of her left hand saying something like, “I said yes!” or, “Yes, this is what you think it is!” And a large group of her friends congratulate her. Sometimes people ask how it happened, and she’ll explain in a comment on the photo or create a note to explain.
But then I move on. I do something else or keep scrolling down my newsfeed. As the wedding planning process continues, I’ll see more updates, but they usually don’t post about the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses or where the wedding will be (at least not to my knowledge).
However, according to an article in Converge Magazine, my reaction is not always the norm. Many people feel pressure to tie the knot once they see their friends doing it on social media. To me, though, it’s even more shocking when I see people who are younger than me getting engaged. It seems unnecessary to become engaged while in college. I have seen a few people who graduated a year or two ago with engagement stories, and that just makes more sense to me.
The magazine article pointed out that many females have dreamt of their wedding days since they were young. A lot of Pinterest users even have wedding boards, despite not being in a relationship or engaged. But the writer noted that she questions whether or not she wants to get engaged to her boyfriend because she loves him and wants to be with him or because she thinks it is the next thing to do in her life.
This makes me think of whether or not a lot of people are ready for the marriage or just ready for the wedding. With TV shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” having the perfect wedding day is the main focus. Sometimes I think people get lost thinking about their wedding and forget that the day is supposed to be the beginning of a lifetime commitment.
I don’t necessarily believe there is a “right” time to get married or engaged, but I do think that there can be a number of “wrong” times, including during college. I don’t understand how they can have time to focus on their academics or getting a job or internship if they are too busy planning a wedding. I do know that there are different reasons for getting engaged young, and I know that some of these couples are vying for long engagements, but I still don’t see the point. To me, adding a ring to the equation should not make the relationship more committed than it was in the strictly dating phase.
But I think that the power of social media can add pressure to many people’s lives, in regard to relationships. So many people think about what they post in relation to how many “likes” they hope to get. They retake photos repeatedly so that they only post the best one online. Some even take pictures or “check in” on Facebook specifically at fun events like concerts or bars to give off the impression that they have raging social lives, even though they probably spend time watching “Cutthroat Kitchen” (or maybe that’s just my latest TV obsession).
Regardless of the individual instances, the overall impact is one worth noting. I think that everyone at ISU and around the world could take a break from comparing their own lives to those they see on social media. Take a break and unplug for awhile. See if you can avoid checking social media sites for a few weeks. Your grades will probably thank you — and so will your mental health.
Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.