The Cost of Caring

Drastic Reactions


I’m one announcement away from getting a face tattoo. Well, if I’m going to plan my life in Borneo with green hair, a face tat, and a cute puppy, I’ll need to plan.  Time to hop on Pinterest…

Here’s the thing: social media stresses us out.  We’re constant observers of what is going on in the lives of our peers.  Its something the experts refer to as the cost of caring.  It’s the sympathy we feel for our connections who are experiencing hard times.  It signals us to reach out to lend support.  It’s also the time pressure we feel from witnessing positive life milestones from a multitude of aquainences.

There are a number of well-known factors that tend to make people feel more stress, including things like the economic uncertainty of unemployment, and the absence of a spouse or a partner with whom to confide. Previous studies have even found that awareness of stressful events in others’ lives is a major contributor to people’s appraisal of their own stress levels. The relationship of frequent use of digital technologies to stress has been an unknown. We also explored the possibility that the social component of some digital technologies makes people more aware of stressful events in the lives of their close friends and family, as well as in the lives of more socially distant acquaintances, and that this in turn is related to higher levels of stress. ¹

The Pew Research Center studied the effects and causes of this “cost of caring,” and doesn’t apply to all social media users, just certain subgroups of people more sensitive to it.  Women as a subgroup are more prone to this kind of stress.  Not all women – just certain women.  That means, if you’re one of these ladies vibing off of this post in agreement, you could be part of this subgroup that’s sensitive to this kind of stress.


Cold turkey or hair of the dog are two ways to handle the cost of caring.  You may have to scale back your awareness by quitting or reducing social media use.   Of course, you’ll miss out on all the benefits of maintaining great personal online connections.  You can also use the poison as a cure by relieving stress with Pinterest.  Women tend to use this social media site to plan and dream.  It’s a proven way to de-stress.  Of course, if you’re going to go off the deep end with drastic reactions to all those engagement announcements, your pins will tell on you.  Here are some humorous ways to analyze someone based on Pinterest.

*1. Hampton, K., Rainie, L., Lu, W., Shin, I., & Purcell, K. (2015). Social Media and the Cost of Caring. Retrieved May 04, 2016, from

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