TikTok Trends: Relationship Advice with Taylor Swift

Welcome back to our series, TikTok Trends! We’re looking at popular trends on TikTok that can positively and effectively benefit our mental health. Remember: no social media account, even a licensed professional, replaces actual therapy and should only be used for entertainment purposes. 

… It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me. 

There is no doubt that Taylor Swift is among the most popular musical artists of our time. At the time of this writing, she recently released her Midnights album and seemingly EVERYONE is listening to this album. This particular line comes from her song Anti-Hero and gained traction on TikTok almost immediately. I just checked and there’s currently 551.4k videos with that particular sound attached to it! There are a few that keep sticking out to me though- they are typically a couple with one partner trying to get the other person to mouth these words and “confess” that they are the problem. Some other trends with this sound have been people themselves pointing out their harder-to-love traits in relationships, calling themselves the problem.

While I love a funny, self-deprecating TikTok at times, have you ever actually felt like this? Where it feels like you keep messing up in the relationship? Maybe you have been in a relationship (of any kind- platonic, romantic, sexual, workplace, familial, etc.) and there is a problem and it just seems like everything would be resolved if the other person(s) said these magic words? I want to teach you a skill from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that can be useful when there is a problem in a relationship and your top priority is trying to keep or improve that relationship. Unfortunately, it is not making your partner film a TikTok with you lip syncing to Taylor Swift; however, I think it is more effective for your long term goals! 

When we are trying to communicate with someone where our top priority is to keep or improve that relationship, we can remember the acronym GIVE:

  G- (Be) Gentle 

Being gentle means not judging, attacking, or threatening the person we are talking to. If our goal is to maintain the relationship, then being kind and respectful is key. This sounds simple and picture the last time you were super angry at a person you love- that anger urges you to scream, shout, and attack. This first step reminds us to take a step back and be nice and respectful. 

I- (Act) Interested 

Acting, or appearing, interested is about showing with your body language that you are paying attention. It can feel invalidating to talk to someone and they are completely closed off, avoiding eye contact, or on their phones. Face the other person, do not interrupt or talk over them, and actively listen to what they are saying. 

V- Validate

We all want to be validated! Validation is showing that you understand the other person’s feelings and thoughts; that you can understand where they are coming from. The key to remember with validation is this: you do not have to agree with the person in order to validate their feelings.  Examples: If you sent a party invitation to the wrong address, say, “I can see why you thought I might be excluding you on purpose.” or “So you are mad at me because you think I lied just to get back at you. Did I get that right?” 

E- (Use an) Easy Manner

An easy manner might mean laughing, smiling, remaining light-hearted versus getting heated, yelling, and scowling. This helps both of you remain regulated in your conversation and well on your way to keeping or improving the relationship.

The next time you want to make a TikTok about how you or your loved one is the problem with a catchy pop song in the background, you can if you want AND I also want you to remember GIVE in having a real conversation with that person! 

Want to learn more about the GIVE skill and Dialectical Behavior Therapy? Click here to schedule an initial appointment with one of our amazing clinicians.

Jennifer Garner (she/her), M.S., LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor that specializes in dialectical behavior therapy. Jennifer works with teens and adults in a nonjudgmental space to help them identify safer, more effective behaviors as they work toward a life worth living. Jennifer believes in being genuine with her clients to help promote connection and rapport. Click Here to learn more about Jennifer’s experience and therapeutic style. 

Resources:

Linehan, M. (2015). Dbt skills training handouts and worksheets. The Guilford Press. 

Swift, Taylor. (2022). Anti-Hero. On Midnights [Album]. Taylor Swift.