Leibee: Twitter’s self-care culture is toxic

Katrina Leibee

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

At face value, self-care makes a lot of sense. As a generation, we have navigated what it means to put our needs before the wants of others and separated actual self-care from just doing a face mask.


Recently, I have discovered a whole side of Twitter that takes self-care to an extreme and to a point where it is becoming toxic. This culture that Twitter has enabled preaches the idea that if people and relationships are not “serving you,” you should cut them off without any explanation. There are clear flaws in this mentality.

The hashtag “toxicpeople” on Twitter is a prime example of something that should not be taken at face value. The trend is to preach walking away from relationships and people that don’t serve you. Instead of resolving issues with others and practicing communication, the trend is to cut people off if they aren’t adding something positive to your life.

The hashtag itself provides the idea that we can label a person as toxic to begin with. How easy would life be if we could label people as good or bad, toxic or healthy and decide who needs to go and who gets to stay? It’s definitely not that simple.

There are some people that can be unhealthy for you or drain more from you than you can handle, but that doesn’t necessarily make them toxic. That might just mean that relationship isn’t right for you, or that person needs to grow out of some behaviors before they can consistently be in your life.

While my colleague Madison Thompson agrees that we don’t owe anybody any explanation, if it’s necessary to remove someone from your life, it’s human decency to explain your reason for leaving the relationship. Unless the situation or relationship is dangerous, any relationship you have deserves closure. If you don’t feel you owe it to the other person, you at least owe it to yourself. 

Relationships are a good thing, but they also require time, patience and lots of nurturing. People in your life are not always there to serve a positive role — maybe they are there because they need that from you. If we only kept people around when they were at their best and adding positivity to our lives, chances are we’d all be pretty lonely.

Our society has recently embraced a very individualistic way of life. Social media says that our main priorities should always put ourselves first. 

This also seems like a bit of a flawed mindset. Again, relationships take attention and commitment. A partner likely will not be put into your life by the universe and require only minimal effort for the relationship to work. It’s human nature to want companionship, and it’s okay to prioritize a relationship before other things in your life.

Your version of self-care may actually be spending time with a partner and dedicating time to your relationship. It’s possible to love someone else while you are still working on yourself.

Giving and accepting love with ourselves and other people is an individualistic process that cannot be generalized by anybody else or through any social media platform. 

There is the idea that you cannot love anyone else without completely loving yourself first. However, sometimes relationships help us get to a better place of self-love. Giving and accepting love with ourselves and other people is an individualistic process that cannot be generalized by anybody else or through any social media platform. 


It’s easy enough to customize what comes across our Twitter or Instagram feed. If you’re not into self-care, you don’t have to see this kind of content on your social media platforms. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it is an entire culture that reaches young people who are especially susceptible to this kind of content. Although my colleague Thompson disagrees, Twitter does actively enable this content and allows it to grow.

It is not a healthy mindset to cut off relationships that are not always serving you.” That is not always how relationships are going to be. They go through ups and downs that have to be worked through, and more times than not we at least owe people the decency of a conversation.

Katrina Leibee can be reached at letters@collegian.com or Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.