Question: My ex shared a story on social media about someone at her work having a difficult day and how friends helped her through it. I wonder in your opinion if this was an emotional bid for connection, and if so, should I have reached out to say something about it, turned towards her bid for connection? Or not?
Yangki’s Answer: Social media is a little complicated because (emotional) bids for connection are often a person’s attempt to connect. This is why they are called “bids for (emotional) connection”. The keyword here is connect.
Most social media posts are shared not for the purpose of ‘emotional connection” but rather as information sharing often with multiple people.
Unless something is directed towards you in a personal (I want to connect with you) way, it’s safe to assume that an ex is merely sharing information (with multiple people) and not necessarily trying to (emotionally) connect with you.
Whether or not you should have responded depends on your ex. Some exes don’t mind when you like or comment on their posts, some exes are happy that you do and some exes feel stalked when you do.
Use what you know about your ex to navigate how you engage your ex on social media. If you are not sure how your ex will respond to you liking or commenting on their social media, use this general guide that I developed and have found to be quite accurate for most of my clients:
- Secure attachment – will not mind/neutral/responsive.
- Pre-occupied attachment – will be excited/overthink it/project their feelings onto it.
- Fearful attachment – will be suspicious/apprehensive/over-analyze it.
- Ambivalent (anxious-fearful-avoidant) – will be be happy/confused/conflicted.
- Dismissive avoidant attachment – will be uncomfortable/disapproving/turned off
This general guide can be overruled by how often you comment, how long your comment is and what you say in your comment. Social media comments can put off even a securely attached ex, anger an ex with a pre-occupied attachment style and scare off an ex with a fearful attachment style if it feels like you are stalking them or directing attention away (distracting) from what they are trying to share in their social media posts.