With more than a billion users, TikTok is one of the most popular and fastest-growing social media apps in the world today.
Of these billion-ish users, many of them are in or interested in romantic relationships.
Because of this, there is a lot of relationship content on TikTok of all different kinds. If you scroll through TikTok (or if you search something like “dating” into the search bar of TikTok), you’ll see thousands of different videos by everyone from clinical psychologists to bloggers to dating coaches to random folks who work at the grocery store down the street – all of them offering different insights into the dating world based on what they think they know.
Saying there’s too much dating content on TikTok is an understatement. There is an extreme excess of dating content on TikTok.
Not all of it is good, and not all of it is helpful. In many cases, the relationship content that you see on TikTok can actually make your relationship worse.
We’re about to dive into 9 of the biggest problems with TikTok, and also how some of the trends on the app can negatively impact your relationship.
Get ready for some uncomfortable thoughts about the true impact of social media on your dating life.
1. TikTok Can Create Unrealistic Expectations
On social media, people tend to focus on extremes.
They share the most beautiful parts of their relationship, or they share the worst and most traumatic parts of their lives.
These are the things that people watch. Extreme behavior is what gets views. Even in real life, this is true.
If you go to a mall dressed up in a clown suit and start singing and dancing like a lunatic, you’re probably going to get a lot of people to look at you and hear your song – until you get kicked out of the mall.
Either way, this extreme behavior is rewarded online with likes, follows, and some cases, even money for the extreme-minded creators. This is very true for creators who are politically motivated.
The fact is, the stuff you see on TikTok (or any other social media) is just a fraction of the truth of the experience that that person is having. TikTok, like every social media platform, is telling you half-truths.
In some cases, the other people online are lying to you completely.
The problem is that these people still influence your thoughts by sharing their stories – even if the stories are false. They can still impact your life. They can still impact your relationship.
Learn to take everything you see online with a grain of salt.
2. TikTok Can Mislead You About Personality Disorders
A close friend of mine is a social worker, meaning that they work with people every day who are experiencing serious issues in their lives. Oftentimes, these issues are related to relationships.
When they talk to people who are in relationships, people are very quick to diagnose their partners with things like “Borderline Personality Disorder”, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, and even “Histrionic Personality Disorder”.
Where did they get the idea that their partner might be like this? TikTok, of course.
They start diagnosing their partners with serious disorders based on watching a few TikToks and having a few fights.
These are serious, life-altering conditions, and they can ruin someone’s relationship or life, yet some people diagnose their partners with these disorders because of a video on an app.
Does that really seem smart?
This is common for women to do to their boyfriends, but it’s also common for men to do this as well. People today use TikTok as a search engine, and they don’t question the quality of their sources at all.
They become obsessed with diagnosing and understanding their partner based on matching their behaviors to what they see in a video, and they end up losing their partner and getting involved in some seriously scary situations.
Just because you watch a TikTok about what makes someone a narcissist does not make your girlfriend a narcissist. Be careful what you consume online.
3. TikTok Can Make You Lazy
One of the worst parts about social media is that it can create laziness.
You get more dopamine from scrolling and liking videos than you do from reading a book – at least in the short term.
Because of this, a lot of people stop making the efforts necessary to improve their lives and their relationships, and they become complacent. It happens all the time.
The hard truth is that unless you’re making money off of TikTok, TikTok is making money off of you.
The company is saving and selling your data, destroying your brain cells, and making you a less valuable version of yourself. This will destroy your life and relationship over time.
If you’re addicted, you’re not as good as good as you were beforehand. Your value goes down when you allow an app (or any other addiction) to control your behavior.
Relationships are usually one of the first things to suffer when you stop giving your attention to them. People get upset when you spend all your time before dinner, at the dinner table, and after dinner staring at your phone watching videos solely for the sake of entertainment.
The dopamine rush you get from TikTok is strong – kind of like playing an addicting game or watching a great movie – but it adds nothing to your life. Worse still, TikTok never ends. You will never “run out” of Tiktoks to watch…
Unless you can shut off the app.
4. TikTok Can Attack Your Mental Health
In addition to making your life more stressful and making you more lazy, TikTok is a social platform, and just like any other social platform, it can trigger feelings of anxiety, depression, and other serious mental health issues.
People who use social media heavily have been proven to have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts and ideation.
This is not something to be taken lightly, especially because TikTok is one of the most addictive social platforms in the world today.
We could probably write entire papers (and people do) about what causes this, but the point is that using TikTok too much will likely not be the best thing for your mental health, and things that are bad for your mental health are also bad for your relationship.
Take drinking, for example.
You wouldn’t encourage someone to drink heavily, especially not if they have a partner they care about, because we obviously know that heavy alcohol use can trigger bad physical and mental health.
Just because the effects of heavy social media (specifically, the most addictive social media) are not physically bad for you and your relationship.
5. TikTok Trends Will Make You Stop Seeing Your Relationship As Unique
I think this video here is a good example of what I’m talking about.
This video depicts a man saying that “every man knows whether he wants to be in a relationship with someone after just 10 or 15 minutes” of meeting them. This video generalizes the relationship experience and is harmful to both men and women.
Personally, I can’t tell you within 10 or 15 minutes of meeting someone if I want to be in a relationship with someone. My current girlfriend and I did not have a great perfect first date and neither of us was sure about our initial meeting.
We’ve built our connection over time – with work. We are both unique people and the things that we like and value in a relationship cannot be generalized in a TikTok video that is barely a minute long.
Do you really want to be a part of a culture that thinks about the world in such a shortsighted manner? Do you really think that the complexity of falling in love can be expressed in just a minute video on TikTok?
Probably not, but that doesn’t make the video any less powerful. It doesn’t make it impact people’s minds any less. It doesn’t stop people from generalizing about their own relationships.
Don’t let TikTok give you the mindset in which you think about love and the world. I promise it will not be the best mindset for a happy relationship.
6. TikTok Can Make You Delusional
Are you in a loving relationship, or are you delusional?
Or are you unsure?
TikTok can decide for you.
But is that a good thing? Does TikTok really have good things to say about your relationship?
What happens when people use TikTok frequently and consume content there all day long, they start to become delusional about what they expect from their partner. They start to think that relationships “ought to be a certain way” when in reality, they’re not.
In reality, relationships are complicated.
We’ve talked about how TikTok trends can create unrealistic expectations, but this can be taken a step further. If you’re not careful, TikTok can make you delusional about relationships, the world, and the dating culture as a whole.
If you’re a woman, you’ll start to view the men you date as more narcissistic. If you’re a man, you see women as cold and heartless. You’ll lose the ability to discern a good woman from a bad one.
You become delusional about what a good relationship and a good person really act like.
If you take this a step further, the ways that TikTok impacts your psyche become even worse.
7. Popular TikTok Trends Can Create Unnecessary Conflict
One of the strangest TikTok trends is when people pull pranks on their girlfriend or boyfriend and then film it and post their reactions.
If you can’t imagine how this could backfire severely, here’s a good video that shows some examples of pranks gone horribly wrong.
These clips might be funny to watch from your phone or computer, but imagine if it happened to you. Pranks are funny, but this doesn’t mean that they’re a good idea to pull on the person that you care about the most in life.
Think carefully about what pranks you pull.
But it’s not just pranks – it goes deeper than that.
Some trends can involve one partner asking their other partner questions about their past – hoping that a certain response will tell them something about their relationship that they might not already know.
You can probably imagine how this could backfire in many different ways.
Is it really worth having conflict in your relationship because of some video you saw on or are trying to make for TikTok? Probably not.
Actually no – definitely not.
8. TikTok Can Become an Exclusive Club If Your Partner Doesn’t Use It
TikTok is quite literally its own little world that is separate from reality.
If you are “really into TikTok” and your partner despises it, this can create a disconnect between the two of you. It will make your partner seem like they exist in a world outside of your own. Like they don’t know and understand something that’s an integral part of you.
If one of you doesn’t know the trends, dances, and top creators on TikTok, and if this is something that’s very important to you, you and your partner won’t exist in the same space. You wouldn’t be as deeply connected if one of you wasn’t obsessed with a social platform that is quite literally as addictive as hard drugs.
TikTok doesn’t need to be an exclusive club, but if you and your partner don’t have the same feelings about the platform, this can be a problem between the two of you.
It might seem forced or cliche, but it’s really important that you and the person you are in a relationship with have a conversation about the way that the two of you feel about social media – and how you plan to integrate it into your lives.
Don’t let a social platform come between you and your partner.
9. TikTok Dating Content Is Focused On Superficiality and Narcissism
Without a doubt, the worst part about the relationship content on TikTok is that, like most things on social media, it’s focused on appealing to your most primitive fears and anxieties.
The fear that your partner is worse than you can have ever imagined. The fear that your relationship will never be as nice as the person you’re comparing yourself to. The fear of eternal unhappiness.
But the worst part is the nature of the content, and the nature of the shallow conversations that it creates.
This is the worst part about TikTok as a social platform. It doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t want you to be happy.
It just wants you to stay on it.
On TikTok, the content that performs best is usually about shallow things in relationships, like looking a certain way, being a certain way, and of course, the new question everyone is wondering – is your partner a narcissist?
Suddenly, everyone thinks that the person they’re in a relationship with is evil, a manipulator, and abusive.
This not only creates a lot of problems within relationships, it also damages the relationship culture. It makes people think that their relationship is way worse than it is.
Learning to have healthy relationships in a world that is heavily impacted by social media is an extremely difficult thing to do.
There’s a reason why so much content on relationships is put out on sites like TikTok or Instagram Reels.
People put out and seek out content on things people struggle with – things that hit them close to home. For a lot of people, relationship content, money content, and personal development content hit close to home because these are common “pain points” for people.
There’s so much content out there, that it becomes impossible to discern that which is worth consuming from that which is not. This is especially true if it’s something that you don’t have much experience with or something you struggle with.
You end up consuming content about something you don’t understand from someone else who doesn’t understand the same thing. It creates a vicious cycle, and you’ll need some help to break it.
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