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Facebook Bullying, Relationships and Cyberpsychology

By January 16, 2013Blog
Bullying, Relationships

5 Tips For Dealing With Facebook Bullying

There are lots of mind games played on social media, some of which can become a form of cyberspace bullying.

I always advocate that you should only make a final judgment on “what’s going on” in your relationship with a friend, partner or family member by corroborating your suspicions with analyses derived from your face-to-face communications.  If someone appears to be acting a certain way with you on social media, it is very possible that you have misconstrued what’s happening.  When their behaviour with you in person matches their behaviour online, then the conclusion is usually quite clear.

Having said all that, I must say that many of the suspicions I have had regarding people’s online behaviour, have been very correct.  Am I psychic or are there just that many tell tale signs that we can pick up on from social media activity that give rise to obvious, and often correct, assumptions?  Here I’m going to discuss just one of these tell tale signs.

User Activity Change On Social Media

A sudden, drastic overnight change in activity will have a motive, one that you may suspect or several reasons you may be considering.  Of all the possible reasons for their obvious change in social media activity, there will probably be one that seems most likely.  Deep down in your gut you probably know the answer, even though you may not be able to prove it.  For example, perhaps the person has had a change in their personal life and this is reflected in their new social media behaviour.

What’s interesting about this sudden change in behaviour is that it speaks very loudly, regardless of whether the change is from lots of activity to none, or from no activity to a large increase, for example.  Sudden changes you might note and question are:

  • a sudden, complete change of content,
  • a change in the frequency of interactions,
  • a change in the frequency of updates
  • a change in the times of user activity,
  • a change in the tone of the updates.

It’s important to note that the real motive for the sudden change may become very obvious, even when this very change was employed as a smokescreen.  In other words, the facade becomes unravelled, as per my acronym – Fools Are Caught As Deceit Emerges.

One of the reasons this can happen is that the user begins to over-state their point, whether that point is one of silence, one of lots of interactions with others, or whatever.

Unsure of who has noticed the point they are making, as a smokescreen or not, they are propelled to try that bit harder to ensure that all relevant parties have noticed.  This concerted effort takes the action from subtle and one you can’t pin down with an explanation to one that is so glaringly obvious that it’s hard to turn a blind eye…and so the questions begin. Why is he acting off with me?  Why does she share in the joyous updates of her work colleagues but refuse to acknowledge anyone else’s?  Why is he suddenly pretending he isn’t on Facebook when he clearly is and has been caught out in the act several times?  Why is she starting to brag about every little thing that she does and buys?  Why is she acting so positive and upbeat in her status updates when she has been the complete opposite of late?  What is the reason for him not responding to my private message for two weeks, even when he’s been on Facebook in the meantime, when he used to respond within 48 hours?

Questions, questions, questions…

  • Lots of them have very “normal”, reasonable explanations.
  • Some of them scream unpleasant ulterior motives.
  • Some of them give rise to a couple of conflicting answers and leave you confused when trying to decide whether they are acting in an innocent manner or in a manipulative manner.

Facebook, especially, is a place where a lot of manipulation takes place.  Manipulating what people think your life is like.  Manipulating what people think of your job.  Manipulating what people think about your partner.  Manipulating what people think about you.  Manipulating what people think you think about them.  Is your mind spinning yet?  Mine is a little!

The real shame about all of this is that it affects our relationships:

  • People do get bullied on Facebook, albeit very subtly sometimes.
  • People can end up showing their (ugly) true colours in a way that they wouldn’t have in pre-social media days which can result in relationships breaking down.
  • It can be more difficult to build a new relationship with someone new in your life when their Facebook behaviour shows their ugly sides way more than their face-to-face interactions do.

When we watch Facebook behaviour and draw negative conclusions from it, issues can be difficult to resolve because we cannot easily confront the perpetrator.  If you just have a hunch and little concrete evidence then it can be difficult to have a conversation on the phone or face-to-face to discuss and resolve, no matter how much you know exactly what is happening deep down.  This leaves problems unresolved and this begins to infect your relationship with them.  Over time, other events can echo these problems and feelings, making the situation progressively worse.

5 Tips For Dealing With Facebook  Bullying

Tip 1

Say to yourself, I am too confident within my own decent conduct with other human beings to let someone bother me because they don’t share my morals.

Tip 2

If someone wants to play mind games with you on Facebook then it really says a great deal about them!  By not responding in like, you are able to hold your head up.

Tip 3

If someone wants to resolve things with you on Facebook, don’t let them.  Have a face-to-face discussion regarding their Facebook behaviour so that you can determine their level of sincerity.  Their non-verbal communication will either complement or contradict their verbal claims.

Tip 4

If someone wants to bully you, ignore you, manipulate you – then they’ve let you know where you stand with them which actually helps you to determine who the important and sincere people are in your circle.

Tip 5

Don’t take people’s bullying behaviour personal.  It says way more about their insecurities and dissatisfaction with their own life than it does about you.

So, if someone is bullying you in cyberspace, or being passive aggressive towards you, or trying to play mind games with you, don’t stoop to their level, gather your evidence so that you can be confident that your suspicions are correct and then use this information to know who you want in your life and at what proximity.

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