Internet And Social Psychology: How Much Online PDA Can We Take?

June 26, 2015


By: Anna Agoncillo
Image Credits: Pier-Luc Bergeron via Flickr with Creative Commons
Social media has become an accessible mirror - reflecting who we are as a person. A venue where we present not only ourselves but also our most treasured relationships. And, no matter whom your Facebook "friends" are, there will always be a couple or two who are outwardly affectionate with their feelings toward each other.

Do not get me wrong, in moderation; most of these love-filled photographs are cute. But some posts are just too much to handle! To the point that it may make you leave a potent comment such as: "GET A ROOM"! Hold those feelings for now as we take a time to listen to what science has to say…

Our tolerance to Public Displays of Affection (PDA) can be rooted from our values. For instance, living in Western countries such as United States or Australia, you will often see people holding hands or even kissing in public. And, this is no big deal. While in some Asian countries such as Indonesia, passionately kissing in public is punishable by law (i.e., 5 years in jail or 250 million rupiah in 2004).

Aside from the cultural differences, our tolerance in seeing online PDA can be influenced by how the images of a happy relationship were displayed. A recent study by Emery and her colleagues showed people's reactions toward a group of fake Facebook profiles.

Findings showed that those profiles with a confirmed relationship status and couple profile pictures were most likable while those people who with a confirmed relationship status with single pictures were least likable. This may be due to the perception of commitment and warmth towards people who show off their partners.

On the other hand, the participants' feelings about heavily disclosing sweet status updates were entirely opposite. Although the profiles with confirmed relationship status and couple profile pictures are perceived to have satisfying relationships, they found consistent lovey-dovey updates were least likable.


A photo posted by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

Simply, couples that engage in online PDA are perceived to be happy (most of the times they really are) but we do not always want to see it! Perhaps because some updates are too personal, too boastful, or too inappropriate to show to everyone. 

Sharing information about one's relationship influences the impression of others about yourself and your intimate relationship. Therefore, if your goal is to enhance your social identity then, portray your positive relationships with decency.  

Browse the previous posts: Important Lessons From My First Job Experience After CollegeHow To Survive A Long Distance Relationship

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