We all know That Couple — they're happy, stable, and, worst of all, their obnoxiously adorable kissing selfies get three times as many likes on Facebook as your hilarious status about the barista who spelled your name wrong this morning. Admittedly, you could unfollow them, but why do that when you can passive-aggressively share the news that people who post about relationships on Facebook are more likely to have low self-esteem? When faced with the choice between maturity and petty revenge, I think we all know which is more fun.
Social media has been researched to death and then some, but psychologists at Brunel University London turned their attention to a topic that has somehow escaped scientific inquiry in the past. According to Science Daily, researchers used data from 555 participants to examine how various personality traits influenced the topics of Facebook users' statuses, and the results confirmed pretty much everything you've ever suspected about humanity while scrolling through your newsfeed. In addition to the news that people with low self-esteem post more often about their romantic partners, the study showed that people with higher rates of narcissism posted more about their achievements. They also were more likely to brag about their diet and exercise routines.
"Well duh," you're probably thinking by now. "I know exactly who you're talking about, and I'm having difficulty quashing my instinctive hatred when I'm forced to think about them. Please stop reminding me of their existence."
According to the study, however, that's not strictly true. While you might automatically throw Beyonce levels of side-eye at your high school acquaintance's third gym selfie of the week, researchers found that narcissists might be on to something with all their bragging. Narcissists received more likes and comments on their social media posts, validating their need for attention and doing absolutely nothing to quell their urge to boast about every eight-mile run. On the other hand, all the online attention doesn't necessarily mean universal adoration.
"It could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays," Dr. Tara Marshall said, according to Science Daily.
So if you're jealous of your friend who got almost 100 likes on their last Facebook post, this doesn't mean you should start bragging about every workout or promotion so you can feel popular too. Instead of getting into a one-sided competition with your high school's senior class president, it might be more productive to step away from the computer a little instead. FOMO is hard to resist, but why worry about your last Instagram getting double-digit likes when you could be out doing things worthy of Instagramming?
That being said, next time you feel the urge to brag a little online, at least you have scientific confirmation that a bunch of people are going to like it. Keep that in mind next time an ex friends you on Facebook — an ab selfie with 75 likes is the best kind of revenge.