Clare Empson writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Photo Credit: Oli Green
Clare Empson writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Photo Credit: Oli Green

These days most of us run our friendships through social media. It’s quicker, easier and far less commitment than picking up the phone. The problem is we’re getting to see sides of our friends we hadn’t anticipated. What if Instagram puts you off someone you used to love?That school friend who has turned from a raging meat eater to a ranting vegan and cannot stop posting about it? The unexpected Brexiteer, not only did he vote for Brexit (in itself a dump-able offence) he can’t stop banging on about it on Facebook. The daily humble bragging of a dad about his son’s sporting prowess.

Recently a friend told me she’d quit Instagram because she was starting to really dislike some of her best friends.

‘I start and end the day in a rage at their smugness.’

Friends you have known and loved for years can quite suddenly reveal a split personality - modest and thoughtful in real life yet with no self perception online. Unashamedly self promoting, politically irritating, crass sense of humour. And that’s on a good day.

Does social media reveal a truthful side of someone or is it really just a glorified hall of mirrors? Here we identify some of the most infuriating types and outline ways to deal with them. And we conclude there’s no substitute for meeting up with your friend in real life. You can’t see the arguments that happen off camera, the veil of depression hidden behind a tooth-whitened smile. Next time you feel like blocking your overly smug friend ask them out for a drink instead. There’s nothing like seeing the whites of someone’s eyes to know how you really feel about them. At the end of the day social media is like watching a box set, it’s an escape from reality. Maybe we should stop taking it so seriously?

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

The humble bragger

You know the sort, they post an art directed shot of themselves reading by a glorious fire, immaculately Farrowed sitting room in shot. ‘Book and slippers fireside’ they post innocuously but it turns out the book is Joyce and the slippers are Blahnik. Subliminal message, I’m fabulous and cerebral. On GCSE results day, ‘Well done Josh, you smashed it’. Subliminal message, 10 A stars Kerching.

Solution: Flag the brag but nicely. ‘Ooh Manolos. Lucky you.'

The smug parent

My personal betes noire, in my mind I’ve ditched a fair few of these but oh look I’m still following them on Facebook and feeling toxic rage every day.

Where to begin? I think with the ‘friend’ who wrote ‘I can’t believe it. Monty is a scholar, he’s in the school choir and now he’s just been picked for the rugby A team. Well done Monty.’

Solution: the friend must be blocked for 30 days and then another 30 and so on

The self-promoter

Do you by any chance have a book to sell? Thought so. There you are posting yet another glowing review, ooh look it’s a snap of the author popping into a bookshop. You’re a cabinet maker? We’d never have guessed. Lovely handcrafted walnut love seat.

Solution: They’re just trying to make a buck and all of us have to be this person sometimes. Like the post and quickly move on

The vegan/politico

Last time you went to their house they served lamb shanks but in the intervening years they’ve gone vegan. Well keep up at the back, most people we know are flexitarian at the very least.

It’s the endless pictures of vegan cupcakes we can’t stand. Hey, we all agree we just don’t bang on about it.  Like everything else gestures made quietly are the most dignified and meaningful.  Same goes for Brexiteers -  boring and nuts.

Solution: Unfollow

The needy over-poster

We get it, you’re in Berlin. But do we really need to see every second of your day from brunch in the hipster Mitte district to clubbing in Berghain? Sadly the over-poster’s social media strategy backfires, we stop concentrating. But beneath the showing off we suspect there’s a simmering insecurity.

Solution: Flip through without looking

The social media moron

Christ how old are they, 90? They get everything wrong. Embarrassing use of emojis (eye roll), nerdy hashtagging, shite photography skills.

Solution: Give them a break this is probably me. Hearts please.

Clare Empson is the author of HIM, published by Orion, £7.99.