"Selfie" became Oxford's word of the year in 2013 thanks to its dramatic spike in usage by people of all walks of life. Now, three years later, the word that's inspired precedent-setting court decisions and a booming economy may take on a new meaning: relationship killer.
According to a new study out of Florida State University, the number of selfies that you post to Instagram is directly related to how you feel about yourself and could ultimately have a negative impact on your close friendships and romantic relationships.
Together, Drs. Jessica Ridgway and Russell Clayton surveyed 420 Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 62 about the number of selfies they posted to the app, how they felt about themselves afterwards, and about the general state of their relationships.
Spoiler alert: the researchers found that a person's satisfaction with their body image was highly influenced by their perception of their selfie's quality. When people responded well to a person's selfie, their satisfaction rose. When negativity was perceived, however, not only did satisfaction lower, but the chance of "Instagram-related conflict" (read: trash talk) sharply rose.
Instagram beef may seem like small stakes in the grander scheme of things, but the study also found that heightened instances of Instagram-related conflict tended to correlate to ruined relationships. The researchers explained: "When Instagram users promote their body image satisfaction in the form of Instagram selfie posts, risk of Instagram-related conflict and negative romantic relationship outcomes might ensue."
Though the sample for this study was somewhat small, its results line up pretty well with a similar experiment that was done recently with newly-married couples. Researchers from the University of Georgia and UCLA found that couples were less satisfied with one another when the wife took a high number of selfies. The inverse was also true—couples with narcissistic, selfie-obsessed men tended to report being happier.
The moral of the story? Do yourself a favor, put black tape over your front facing camera, and resist the urge to snap a selfie. You'll thank yourself later.