Imagine yourself in the following situation: You are having a dinner party with your group of long-time friends, and you are all bringing along your boyfriend or girlfriend as a date. As you are all seated comfortably at the dinner table, one your friends challenged everyone in the room to a game. Throughout the dinner, each of you has to lay your phone out on the table. All incoming messages must be read aloud, and calls must be placed on speakers. Would you dare play this game?
In fact, you do not really have a choice, because refusing to play is tantamount to directly admitting that you have something to hide from your spouse and your friends. Your only option is to play the game, act confident, and perhaps pray that nothing suspicious pops up on your phone during the meal?
When characters in Perfect Strangers were placed in the exact same setting throughout the movie, things did not go so well. While some people may think that they could all have refused to play at the very beginning, we have to take note that curiosity is a basic human instinct. While we may not want other people to discover our secrets, there is always no harm in knowing about other people’s deepest secrets. Moreover, these were your close friends. You know them well enough, so what could go wrong?
Yet, as the ringtones started to sound, this seemingly innocent friends gathering spiraled towards some major revelations. Soon enough, uncomfortable truths started to reveal among the dinner table. A call from her dad revealed that Eva was having her breasts done, and a call from the rest home revealed that Carlotta wanted to put her mother-in-law in a retirement home. Lele himself revealed to Peppe that he would receive a photo from his mistress every night at 10pm, and convinced him to switch phones with him since he was unmarried. Very soon, the night became a chaotic mess, and everything went out of control.
In the digital age nowadays, the Internet has greatly transformed the ways of how people developed and maintained relationships. Most people generally understand the benefits social media channels bring to modern day relationships. For instance, the use of social media makes lives easier when couples are thousands miles apart in separate cities. Yet, there are underlying and underestimated problems caused by the frequent use of our smartphones that people should be more aware of. Because of social media, people jump to conclusions, make rash judgements, and never seem to be interested in one thing long enough. In our parents or grandparents’ generation, they did not have to worry about all the things that we do now. For instance, they did not have to log on to see who their boyfriend or girlfriend added on Facebook, nor did they have to view their Instagram stories to find out where he or she went the night before, nor did they have to be so careful with what they say because Whatsapp messages nowadays could be easily spread around with a simple screenshot button. As a result, we easily become overly sensitive and paranoid, which seriously affects the faith and trust between couples.
Perfect Strangers realistically demonstrated to us a morality play with our smartphones being the “God” who sees all. Secrets were shared between friends in the past. But nowadays, our phones has become the repository of our dishonest behaviors. As one of the characters in Perfect Strangers says, the smartphone has become the black box of our lives, concealing secrets which can compromise our relationships. Everybody has secrets, and it is indeed true that there is not a single soul on Earth who would know every detail about us. Yet what social media channels bring to us are all sorts of temptations. People could even have another life so different to their own on social media apps, concealing their real identities. There are boyfriends who would create a private account on Instagram to badmouth their girlfriends. There are girlfriends who would delete chat records with other male friends so that their boyfriends would not find out. It is also not uncommon that people nowadays would go on dating apps behind the backs of their other half. Has trust really become a luxury in the modern world?
With the rapidly growing popularity of social media apps, challenges in human relationships also emerged. Couples nowadays often stumble within the new codes of Internet conduct, and arguments and conflicts surrounding the use of social media channels frequently occur. Should couples let each other see their Whatsapp messages? Should people delete photos with their ex boyfriends or girlfriends on social media channels? Is there a problem with texting friends from the opposite gender on a daily basis? In fact, there is no definite line drawn regarding what is considered the appropriate use of social media channels. Different people have different interpretations, and it takes mutual agreement between couples to determine what is acceptable and what is not.