If you’re like me, your newsfeeds and timelines were probably flooded with profile picture updates this past Christmas and New Year. While I’m totally happy for all of my friends who are in amazing relationships, I can’t help but cringe when I see people update their profile photo to a couple pic—here’s why.
A profile picture is the first impression. Everyone has some kind of social media presence these days. As a result, people evaluate you based on your profiles for all sorts of reasons. From a potential Tinder date to a job application, people use your accounts to catch a glimpse of who you are before they actually meet you. While it might not necessarily be a negative thing to have a significant other in your profile picture, it may create preconceived notions about who you are and what you’re about to people who are in the business of evaluating you. Do you want the person in your profile picture to be included in that calculus, or do you just want to be evaluated alone? I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter.
It puts less pressure on your relationship. The person who changes their profile picture to a photo with their significant other when they’ve been in a relationship for all of about five minutes is really annoying. I can’t help but feel like it’s a move like that puts unnecessary pressure on their relationship. Maybe hit the six-month mark before you start parading your relationship status around. Meet the fam. Say “I love you” first. I know that people fall in love quickly and are eager to share it with the world and I’ve been that person too. However, there’s something about changing your profile photo, the primary photo on your account, to include your significant other that just seems intense.
There’s a difference between posting pics with your S.O. and posting a couple’s profile pic. A couple’s profile pic makes a major statement. It says, “Look at me, I’m in a relationship and I want EVERYONE, even people I’m not actually friends with on this social media platform, to know!” Do you really want to do that unless you’re 100% sure that your relationship is 100%?
It keeps people out of your business… kind of. People are super nosy and as much as we all pretend like we don’t, we totally tend to read into every status update, every caption, and every photo that our friends and followers post because that’s the human condition. We are wired to be interested and social media is kind of a necessity at this point in our culture. As a result, wouldn’t you want to minimize the opportunities for people to be an intimate part of your personal business? If so, one way to accomplish this is by keeping your profile picture set as a photo of you and only you.
If you break up, you definitely have to change it. Even if you look like a freaking rock star in the photo, yes, you have to change it. Even if it’s awkward and humiliating for you, you have to at least crop him out of the photo! Why? Well, otherwise it’s totally misrepresenting your state of romantic affairs. Plus, you can’t start dating anyone new and still have a profile pic of you and your ex-boyfriend. Avoid all of that foolishness and just keep it a photo of yourself through and through.
You’ll avoid the layer of pain that comes with changing it when you break up. I’m not sure about you but in my experience, changing my profile picture from a photo of me and my ex during happier times to just me added another layer of pain and grief to my situation that I definitely could have done without. As a society, we live vicariously through our social media profiles, so removing him from my profile sharply added to the finality in real life. Not only was he not part of my life anymore but he wasn’t apart of my online presence either. I don’t include my current boyfriend in my profile picture now in part because if we ever do break up, I don’t have to put myself through the action of changing my profile picture again.
It’s your profile, not you and your significant other’s profile. Honestly, this should be the number one reason you should never ever include your significant other in your profile picture. It’s your profile. Unless you have a shared social media account there is no reason to include your boyfriend or girlfriend in the picture. Your name is the only one that shows up on the profile so your face only should be the one attached.
You might find out that you’re not on the same page. I’ve known a lot of women who complain that their boyfriends didn’t change their profile pictures to a couple’s photo even after they changed their pictures. All of them felt super insecure and hurt about it because it made them feel less special to their boyfriend. Some of them didn’t have anything to worry about but many of them found out that their boyfriends just didn’t have the same level of commitment to them. It strained their relationships and forced the how-serious-are-we ultimatum conversation sooner than it probably needed to be, all because of one silly yet impactful action.
It doesn’t mean you’re in less of a healthy relationship. We always hear these stories about couples who are Instagram perfect but actually have really toxic relationships otherwise. That is because they spend more time curating the perfect photo instead of nurturing their relationship. You don’t have to plaster your significant other all over a social media profile, especially on your profile picture, to prove that your relationship is healthy. Let the longevity of your relationship and your own words from your own mouth speak for it instead.
You shouldn’t define yourself by your significant other. The most important reason why you shouldn’t include your significant other in your profile picture is that you shouldn’t define yourself by him or her. Like I’ve said, we live vicariously through social media. Social media is has come to define who we are as individuals. We use it to express ourselves and clue the world in on our personal brand. So before you go uploading a photo of you and bae from the wedding this past weekend to your profile picture, think carefully about whether this is how you want to define yourself.