This week, news broke that model Gigi Paris, the ex-girlfriend of Set It Up and Top Gun: Maverick star Glen Powell, had unfollowed Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney after Sweeney (allegedly) started dating Powell. If you, like me, are pushing 30, you might be wondering why you should care about literally any of this—and honestly, you shouldn’t. But it does bring up an issue that’s become near and dear to my heart of late: to unfollow or not to unfollow?
This certainly isn’t the first time the issue has surfaced in pop culture: After Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s recent breakup, the pop star’s brother (and...actor Ryan Reynolds?) reportedly unfollowed Alwyn on Instagram. Of course, they’re all hot famous people, so it makes sense that people are following their social media habits, but why am I subjecting myself to the same standard every time I get the urge to unfollow someone?
I would not call my social media presence curated in any way, shape, or form; I didn’t start using Instagram until 2018, and then, as now, I mostly used it to post unflattering photos of curries I’d cooked. These days, my feed can get a little chaotic. This used to mean a whole lot of blurry party shots from people I vaguely remembered meeting and exchanging handles with (often at those selfsame blurry parties), but now, as I approach my previously mentioned 30s, I’m basking in a whole lot of love, as pretty much everyone I follow appears to have made a pact to get engaged this year.
Now don’t get me wrong; I love love, and I genuinely can’t wait to dance all night at the upcoming weddings of the people who are actually in my life. When it comes to windswept-mountaintop-proposal shots from cishet couples I barely recognize but for some reason follow, though, I’m a little less interested, especially as I try to feel affirmed in my LGBTQ+ identity while living in a largely conservative state. For the first time, I actually want to prune my feed to show me more of my queer and trans friends’ photos and less birth announcements from straight girls I went to camp with two decades ago—but when I started unfollowing the many, many people I’d maintained a tenuous connection with for years, I started to feel vaguely...bad about it?