We’ve all been there. We have a BFF we love IRL but who is so annoying on social media — and we don’t know what to do about it. Maybe the friend posts too many PDA photos with their bae, or maybe they use an excess of hashtags. Or perhaps you’re struck by severe secondhand embarrassment every time your friend posts a pic on social media of themselves after yoga, twisted into a pretzel and musing about their “self-love journey.”
Whatever the situation, it can be hard to reconcile the person you love IRL with the manufactured persona they broadcast online.
In an article for The Cut, writer Hayley Phelan explains why this online/IRL split can be so hard to deal with, sharing the story of a friendship that went sideways after she discovered her BFF’s cringe-worthy social media presence.
When Phelan met her pal, the two hit it off instantly. Soon, though, she noticed that her friend’s Instagram posts felt insufferable.
Because of her friend’s irritating IG, Phelan let the friendship wither on the vine, finding she had no interest in spending time with her pal.
What was it about her bestie’s social mdia posts, though, and why did they feel so icky?
For Phelan and many of the subjects she interviewed for her piece, it’s the disconnect between the person you know IRL and the way they present themselves online that feels so unbearable.
As one woman Phelan spoke to explained of her irritating BFF, “As her friend, I’m faced with this uncomfortable conundrum of questioning whether the real-life her — the one I love and connect with — is the fake, or the one on Instagram is who she really is, or at the very least, who she really wants to be. The discrepancy between the two is sort of just…uncomfortable.”
So how to navigate this uncomfortable situation? An advice column on the fashion/lifestyle site Man Repeller offered this wisdom to a young woman with a BFF who’s annoying on social media:
And frankly, we agree. Like Phelan, who reconnected with her friend after bumping into her IRL and remembering why the two hit it off in the first place, it’s more important to love your friends for who they are and judge them by how they treat others than it is to evaluate their worth based on their Instagram posts. It’s just social media, after all, and it’s safe to assume the person you know in real life is the real version of your friend.