Instagrat — 3 tips to survive the traps of instant gratification

Since the birth of social media we have experienced a shift in attitude. Gone are the days where you would sit by the phone and wait for a call from that guy. It was pure torture and led us to do things like flatly refuse to leave the house, have a shower or even go to the toilet for fear of missing that call or worse still — have your parents answer the phone. Death would be more kind. But it doesn't end there and if you think carefully back to the good old days (those hazy days marred by copious amounts of bourbon and weed) you will remember the poorly written love notes that were eagerly passed around during class that spelled out ones undying love for another. Ok, that’s a little ambitious because all the love notes I received were more tailored to “wanna do it?” …. Yep, thanks for the foreplay.

Back then, you had no choice in how long it took to reach the end goal. If you liked a guy you would just have to put up with the fact that you probably wouldn't hear from him till a) he enlisted the assistance of a friend to bail you up at school to ask you out b) his mother was out shopping and he could use the phone c) he was proactive and bought a phone card with his earnings from KFC (Jesus, how many light years did I just take you back with that…phone card…..).

But today things have changed. In the era of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you are a double tap away from, well, getting tapped. And the more likes, re-tweets and hearts you give, the more you get in this fast paced world of instant gratification.

When I joined Facebook I barely used it. I thought the concept of sharing what I was doing; saying, feeling or eating was contrived and exhausting. But as the years wore on, I saw it as a way to connect with like minded people, to rekindle friendships and to share my life with those I don’t get to see often enough. However this all began to change when I fell in to the instant gratification trap because instead of using social media to connect, I was passionately venting my negativity in some obscure way at anyone that crossed my path who didn't like my first status for the day. I felt horrible when my profile pic got 2 comments so I changed it to something a little prettier and winner winner chicken dinner, 15 comments. Ahhhhhh I am whole again. This went on and on and on until one day I realised that I only valued myself based on the score that others give me. Something was very wrong with that picture.

This perpetual need for instant gratification inadvertently taught me three very important life lessons:

1) Life isn’t always nice and fair. In the building of any sort of relationship social or otherwise, things sometimes don’t work the way we want it to. The expectation that people should just click and suddenly become the best of friends or lovers without the emotional turmoil of life as we know it is flawed. Every person see life in a different way but the ones we truly connect with will respect our different points of view as we do theirs. They’re also the people we share our hopes, dreams and popcorn with.

2) Just because that guy likes your status, private messages you or double taps your insta pic doesn't necessarily mean he wants to make his dirty sex slave (or marry you…I can be romantic if you want me to but that’s just giving in you see). Stop over thinking this! If a guy truly wants to either bang your brains out or date the fuck out of you, he will ask you. They are simple creatures with primal urges and in my experience, will go after what they want. But the flip side of this is you need to stop being jumping in too quickly and allow this…whatever this is…to grow organically. Stalking him, liking every status and giving too much of yourself by way of sexy pics etc. is the perfect way to lose him because he’ll either freak out by how brazen you are (think single, white female) or drop you like a hot potato because you have instantly gratified him. Some guys are just plain nasty and like to humiliate women by showering them with attention, have a bit of fun and a few orgasms and once they get what they want, all the messages and banter stops. They have no use for you anymore. Suck it up and move on, they are not worth your time or tears.

3) We truly connect with very few people in our life. Remember your mother saying to you that you can only count your true friends on one hand? Well I am sorry to tell you this but that woman was right. I have lots of friends and even more acquaintances with has made my life richer and more rewarding but this social paradigm of “online friends” isn't what helps you grow as a person and certainly doesn't pick you up at 3 am when that root and boot was less root and all boot. Real, natural and tangible relationships far outweigh what we have online. With that said though, social media has its own special ability to connect people. I am not against its premise by any means, in fact, it helped my family find me so I am grateful for its existence but I only see it as contributing to the overall context, not the be all and end all.

Ultimately you need to think about how much instant gratification affects you. If you need others to rate you simply to make your life more meaningful then you have a problem. If you allow negativity to consume you because people aren't responding immediately to you, you have a problem. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked but it’s never worth your tears if it doesn't happen straight away. Work until you don’t have to introduce yourself. Then you can chose who you want to tap…sorry…double tap.

Until next time xxx