“Ew, Don’t Post That!” When Is It Fair To Post A Bad Group Picture?

“Ew, this picture is disgusting! No one post this anywhere!”

You pause. You’d already slapped on the Valencia filter and were cooking up a clever caption when this command stopped your thumbs in their tracks. Clearly your friend is gonna flip if you hit the post button. Talk about Insta-guilt.

We’ve all been there. You pose for a group picture, excited to put up a bomb photo of you and your squad only to realize you’re not looking too hot. Your eyes are closed, it looks like you just swallowed something sour and you’re not quite sure what you were doing with your hands. Ricky Bobby can relate.

Other times, you’ve got the Beyoncé factor in a picture, but one of your friends is looking a little more like Britney Spears circa 2007.

So how do you decide when it’s okay to hit post?

Social media is such an ingrained part of our culture today. People are posting status updates, swapping tidbits of information and of course, posting pictures on a daily basis. It’s scary to think of how much content about your life can end up in the public eye without you ever even touching a keyboard. Friends and acquaintances post what they want to post, and often times we have no control over that.

Ah, control. The buzzword of the digital world. It’s a hot commodity when it comes to social media, amiright?

Recently, I was on a trip with some of my girlfriends when I found myself in a sticky situation. A group of us got all gussied up for a night on the town, and snapped a group picture to capture the moment. I was halfway through my Insta routine when my friend asked that no one put the picture up. She was not a fan of the way she looked. We all thought she looked fine, but she was adamant.

“Please just don’t post it. It’s one picture.”

Ugh, I really wanted to. I didn’t think it was fair to ask me not to share a fun photo from my vacation.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Is something as trivial as Instagram worth getting into a fight over? The answer is no, probably not. Does it happen anyway? Ahem, yes.

I consulted another friend about the issue and she hit the nail on the head. She didn’t think our friend looked bad in the photo, but she said that when a picture you strongly dislike of yourself circulates, it can “make you feel like a trash can.”

Fair enough.

I ended up cropping my friend out of the photo because she was cool with that, but I’m sure I’ll deal with more of these scenarios in the future. And my fellow college babes, I bet you will too.

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to post a picture someone doesn’t want you to post:

Do they actually look bad in the photo?

It may sound harsh, but it isn’t hard to distinguish an actual embarrassing picture of someone from one she just doesn’t like. Was she not ready? Did you catch her mid-sneeze? Is she making a bizarre-o face? In this case, it’s polite to hold off unless she really doesn’t care.

Does this happen all the time?

If a friend is constantly asking you not to put up pictures you take together because she simply doesn’t like them, that’s not really fair to you. I mean, if you try to please everyone all the time, you’ll end up without any pictures of your college days. Your Instagram feed will be limited to selfies and shots of the bacon mac n’ cheese you ordered for dinner. Boring. You have a right to share fun photos of you and your friends so long as you’re considerate, and it’s all in good taste.

Is it worth getting into a fight over?

If you really want to put up a picture that a friend is upset about, you’ve got to weigh the costs. Is it going to cause an actual fight between you two or just a minor disagreement? You’ve got to choose your battles, girl. A picture’s worth a thousand words, but it might not be worth a few days of tension.

Could this picture hurt a friend in the future?

If there’s something in the photo that could affect your friend later on in life, don’t hit the post button. Photos that can harm a person professionally are a no-no, whether their impact is immediate or could take place years down the road. *shudders at the thought of a potential employer finding a candid of you getting your keg stand on* Be a good bud and let that picture live in your memory instead of on the world wide web.

Did you put yourself in their shoes?

If it were you in the photo, how would you feel about it being posted? If you put up a lot of not-so-flattering pictures of your friends, you better be ready to be a good sport when you’re on the other side of the situation. Putting up a semi-bad shot of your friend may not seem like a big deal to you, but perhaps you’ll feel differently when your friends plaster a picture you hate all over the Internet.

Remember, social media isn’t an accurate representation of real life

Let’s be honest here. When we take a picture and then look at it, our eyes automatically go to ourselves first. We want to make sure we look okay before we check out our friends’ poses. Social media is all about putting your best foot forward. On your personal account, you get to be the curator of your own little gallery. Every gal wants to put up pictures that show her at her best. But we all know that no one is at her best 100% of the time.

Real talk: we all take bad pictures. Everyone looks like a fool every now and then. Mascara runs, people blink and the lighting sometimes conspires against you. Imperfection is reality and the sooner we make peace with that notion, the sooner we set ourselves free.

posting bad pictures

Megan Peterson

Editorial Contributor, Indiana University Major: Journalism and Apparel Merchandising Her heart belongs to: fashion, old Hollywood, the color pink, big cities, disco balls, airports and dance parties Her guilty pleasures: Diet Coke, Friends reruns, shopping sprees, and following Kate Middleton’s life a little too closely

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