Why do we follow people we hate on social media?

Psychologist Erin Vogel likens this trend to our attraction to horror movies.

Social networks are used in particular to keep in touch with loved ones and to look at profiles of people whom we admire or find interesting. But some Internet users also like to slander and judge others. Why do we keep following people on Twitter, Facebook and other Instagrams that we can't stand?

According to psychologist Pam Rutledge, we are naturally drawn to the idea of ​​knowing the lives of others, even those of people we don't like. However, when an obsession is created with someone, it is probably time to question the cause that prompts us to spy on that person's activity.

While the desire to watch things online that annoy us may seem counterintuitive, it is a normal way out of boredom. While we can control how we spend our time on social media, it is more difficult to control our social interactions in real life. For example, it is impossible to predict that we will meet someone we don't like at a party or that an annoying cousin will hold our leg at a family dinner. On the contrary, the online space allows us to disconnect when an individual irritates us.

Psychologist Erin Vogel compares following people you don't like on social media to our attraction to horror movies. “Watching a horror movie can be entertaining, even if being scared is an unpleasant feeling,” she explains. Social networks allow us to watch other people's lives as if it were a movie. ”

Social networks have the ability to make us feel like we are connected to others, despite physical distance. For Erin Vogel, watching what people post that we don't like fosters a feeling of closeness to them. "Knowing more about those we hate can be satisfying, if we learn information that confirms we were right not to like them."

The desire to compare

When following people we hate, there is often a desire to compare ourselves, which sometimes helps reassure us. For Pam Rutledge, “looking at people we don't like or respect and trying to identify our differences helps to consolidate our own identity and value system”. Nevertheless, it can become harmful if we perceive the success of others as evidence of our mediocrity.

In order to understand how our tendency to look at other people's profiles affects us, Pam Rutledge suggests keeping a journal and writing down how often we visit their accounts. The psychologist also advises to ask the cause of this research and the feelings which result from it. If this act is seen to be positive, there is nothing to worry about. On the other hand, Pam Rutledge recommends finding another activity if it is undermining our morale.

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