Keeping up with Jonesses


Post university

Social comparison theory involves evaluating your abilities, attitudes and beliefs with those of others. When I compare myself with my friends boosts my self-confidence and creates self –enhancement. In case my friends are better than me, I am encouraged to strive for self-improvement. In situation where I am better than them, I gain self-confidence. In most cases, I make upward comparison because it is potential in improving my sense of self and can mentally elevate me to that level. I use this type of comparison for inspiration and self-improvement (Collins, 1996).

Keeping up with the Jonesses is an expression that encourages me to show myself being better than other people by doing what they can do and getting what they have. When my friends own expensive objects, I also strive to own the same. This kind of comparison helps in improving and accessing things that are expensive and could not be achieved without challenge from others.

Social media increases social comparison. Social media displays lives of others to be exciting and glamorous. This encourages you to wish for the same life. Social media therefore magnifies the impact of social comparison. Social networking sites like Facebook offer a lot of social comparison opportunities. Facebook use lowers self-esteem. It can also increase adoption of unhealthy behaviors especially for adolescents (Nesi & Prinstein, 2015).


Collins, R. L. (1996). For better or worse: The impact of upward social comparison on self-evaluations. Psychological bulletin, 119(1), 51.

Matt, S. J. (2003). Keeping up with the Joneses: Envy in American consumer society, 1890-1930. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Nesi, J., & Prinstein, M. J. (2015). Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 43(8), 1427-1438.

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