Gyan Yankovich on Instagram and Us: “It Blurs the Lines of What it Means to Have a Friend”


Since social media became one of the biggest parts of most of our daily lives, it has also completely shifted how relationships work. You meet potential partners, you get insights into strangers’ lives and you begin to think, maybe subconsciously, about how you’re presenting to the rest of the world. It’s a complex spider-web that can permeate every aspect of our day-to-day, but rarely do we sit down and consider how it has changed us, and why we let it.

But that’s exactly what journalist and author Gyan Yankovich has done in our very first episode of POPSUGAR’s Love Rants podcast! Presented by Youly, Love Rants will see host Melissa Mason sit down with a range of talented guests, like Chantel Contos, April Hélène-Horton, and more, to rant about love, dating, sex, relationships, and more.

Gyan Yankovich on Friendships that Exist Entirely Online

Gyan, who is on the cusp of releasing her debut book “Just Friends”, thinks that social media, in general, has changed the idea of what it means to have a friend. Friendship can now be boiled down to a simple mutual follow as opposed to having spent meaningful, physical time together.

“One of the things about social media as well is that it really blurs the lines of what it means to be and to have a friend,” Gyan says on Love Rants.

“You know, you are mutuals on Twitter, you follow each other on Instagram, you’re friends on Facebook. But who are you actually close to? I also think that, when you do think about your close friends, I’ve fallen into the trap where I am like ‘Ohh, this friendship has evolved to a place where I feel like we’re close because we’re liking each other stories’.”

“Sometimes we’re having these little, one sentence chats on Instagram every few days, but if that goes on for months, even years in some case. Then, all of a sudden, if you really start digging, you realise you even had a serious conversation. This person knows I went to this concert last Thursday, but they don’t know what’s going on with my health or my dog or my work situation because we haven’t had conversations that have happened off those platforms that are kind of set up for those really quick dopamine hits.”

Mel completely agreed, adding on, “It’s really strange when I think about the amount of people that I think of as my good friend and it’s like I don’t actually think I’ve seen them in person and spoken to them, nor heard their voice properly or hadn’t even like had a real conversation.”

But is that inherently a bad thing? Gyan doesn’t think so.

“There are a lot of reasons why a lot of different people have great friendships that occur primarily online,” she says, “like accessibility, finding new communities that you weren’t a part of beforehand, etc.

“But I think that for people who did meet in person and who are able to access each other easily and safely, it can be an easy replacement for those kind of catch ups. I think that that’s where you have to be careful where you’re replacing real meaningful connection with superficial social connection.”

Listen to Gyan’s full episode of POPSUGAR’s Love Rants below.

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