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The truth about why we upload photos where we look better than our friends

Julia Horniacek is an independent freelance writer reporting beauty and fashion for SheKnows and Bustle.com, addicted to exercise, coffee and making an attempt to get outside her comfort zone.

Our unhealthy obsession with looking good may be making our friends look bad

There is such a thing as picture perfect, but sometimes your Kodak moment can be your best friend's full-on-Monet. We wouldn't want our BFF uploading one of our less flattering photos to social media, so why has this sacrificial photo scheme become the Insta-norm?

The perfect solo selfie is hard enough to come by as it is. Once you add a few gal pals into the mix, at least one will be unsatisfied with the photo spread. The lighting on her end was poor, the angle was weird, your hair looked flat. In the end, there is always that one person who looks the best, and who will naturally post their glamour and your mug shot on social media for all to see.

More: Uh oh! Our narcissism has been captured by this strangely addictive blog

But listen, we're not always the one left with the short end of the stick here. We are all guilty of the Instaclipse — posting a photo to Instagram in which we blatantly look better than our friends.

In Sally Holmes's article "Is Instaclipsing the Most Evil Social Media Trend?" published on Elle.com, Holmes discusses the trauma of Instaclisping and how, while we all play a hand in this Insta-crime, there is a fine line.

More: Psychiatrists now consider selfie addiction a mental illness

"I was having dinner with a friend who told me she had to show me an Instagram a girl she knew posted from a bachelorette party," Holmes explains. "The photo showed the girl smiling, looking particularly fetching in a loose tank, tan on fleek, with her arm around the bride-to-be... whose eyes were half-closed. Compared to her back-stabagramming friend, the bride, with her bachelorette sash, appropriately disheveled hair, and wonky mid-blink eyes, looked bad. Like, real bad. The Instaclipsing was almost egregious. I nearly choked on my sushi."

"Instaclipsing happens so regularly, it's hard to notice. But when it's so overt that you choke on your sushi, it's downright offensive."

More: 5 Tips to take the perfect family selfie

Are we genuinely that self-obsessed that we are ready and willing to post a humiliating photo of our BFF just as long as we look good? Is this insatiable need to rack up likes and adoring comments on social media developing a kind of anxiety in which we will go to any length to gain our online community's approval?

According to CNN's Kelly Wallace's report "Teen 'Like' and 'FOMO' Anxiety," this is very much the case. Co-founder of digital literacy website for parents, educators, teens and tweens CyberWise.org Diana Graber told Wallace that "likes translate into validation and attention."

"It's almost like a little competition for the number of likes," Graber said. "I think that's anxiety-ridden, because you get likes based on how many friends you have, and you have to keep posting things to get more friends and it's like a vicious circle."

I've noticed the pattern myself. The more you post, the more followers gained. It's an addiction, and it's causing us to post any and every photo we see fit for our page, even if that means our peers and family fall on the wayside.

We all want to be the most beautiful of them all, but Instaclipsing is proof that we'll do anything to prove ourselves worthy of Insta-stardom. This double standard has become an unhealthy obsession, and the solution is simple. We do not enjoy when a friend of ours sacrifices our image to make theirs look better, so the next time we opt to upload a photo where we look better than them, we should probably think twice. What goes around comes around, until the cycle stops.

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