If you know my husband, you would say that he is a relatively private person, and that his existence on social media is solely published by other people. So how is it that I am able to share so much about our life with the world..? I asked permission.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I don’t need permission to be unequivocally myself. I do what I want, and I do it with my head held high! BUT when it involves another person, everything changes. And it’s about consent, not the stereotypical definition of permission.
While I wouldn’t say this is the most important aspect of the process, it is definitely the first step. After several conversations about preferences, hard-nos, and example sharing, we came up with this simple set of rules:
- all photos are fine, unless there is any kind of partial nudity or if someone’s facial expression is really bad.
- no publishing of our exact location, while we are still present at that specific spot.
- vague details are perfectly fine, but nothing specific if it will cause family drama, put anyone in danger, or negatively affect someone’s career.
- if a blog post or social caption will contain any of the above no-no items, it has to be reviewed before publishing.
Thankfully none of these conversations were about the actual value or need for the blog, because my spouse already understood that I run a business, and part of that is having an impactful presence on the internet, and that blogging = working. BUT not all partners understand that part, so it is also extremely important to have those discussions too, to explain that posting all-the-things can actually help bring in more income to the household.
Just because you have set certain limits, doesn’t mean you can exploit everything else because it wasn’t explicitly said. No relationship should be based on using loopholes (no matter how good we are at it!). Respecting boundaries means that if something you are about to publish is in a grey area of those limits, or is coming very close to the line that has been drawn in the sand, you ASK PERMISSION. Simple as that.
Every once in a while there is a photo that is ‘perfect’ for a post, but my husband’s face is making a questionable expression. It would technically break our rule for me to publish it, but it doesn’t mean I can’t–it means I have to ask first. The majority of the time it is a resounding yes, but it keeps the conversation going and respects our boundaries to have the permission conversation. Only once did I need to tweak a blog post. It was part of our journey to becoming parents, so our compromise was that I could absolutely write it and publish it, but only after a specific date so that we could let all of the important people know first. Thankfully I was unrestricted for extra personal things like our birth story, and my postpartum experience.
So the next time you see me posting something rather personal, know that my partner and I had a conversation about it at one point or another, and will continue to do so.
How do YOU go about starting the conversation?
Ask yourself and your partner questions about limits. How much is too much? What things would bother you? What is probably always a yes? What will never be a yes? What you want to review first? Also consider the consequences of what posting that thing would be. Could it affect someone else? Is there another individual that should be consulted? The only way to know is to talk about it. The respect and trust compounds over time, and you could eventually get to a point where far less needs to be approved before posting.