When You Love Your Friend But Hate Her Social-Media Presence

A few years ago, I met a woman; let’s call her Heather. She was funny, intelligent, down-to-earth, with a liver as seemingly elastic as mine, and we hit it off immediately. My bar for new friends is pretty high; Heather pole-vaulted it. After our third dinner together — and three bottles of wine and several hours of conversation — I was sure I’d made a bond for life.

Then I started following her on Instagram.

At first I shrugged off the inane selfies and oddly pedantic captions informing a seemingly imagined audience how to make “yummy” chia-seed pudding, or how yoga had taught her to appreciate her curves; this was 2013 and while Instagram was not exactly new, its customs and codes were still very much in flux. So she hasn’t quite figured it out yet, I thought. That’s okay. At least she’s experimenting.

But over the next six months, things only got worse: She was posting multiple times a day, increasingly in nausea-inducing poses with her boyfriend that looked about as staged as a rom-com poster: laughing and eating soft-serve on a stoop, holding hands while walking over a bridge, stealing a kiss post-run. Soon, they had their very own hashtag. It involved the word “lover.” I was traveling a lot for work then, and each time I mindlessly scrolled through my Instagram — in airport lines and long, jet-lag-riddled taxicab rides — it was like removing the pin from a grenade of secondhand embarrassment. I started making excuses not to see her. I realized the relationship was over for me when she invited me to her birthday and I found I couldn’t for the life of me make myself go. She might have been hurt, but I didn’t care; she had become insufferable to me....more