Ever get caught up in a virtual web of drama? It’s easy to do. Whether or not we verbally acknowledge it, our mood can instantly and lastingly be affected by what we see (or don’t see) on screen.
While there are a handful of people out there (my husband included) without a Facebook account, most of us are “checking in,” posting, or simply scrolling through our news feed more than we willingly admit. If I’m not careful, I get tripped up and sucked in.
Having taken some nasty falls into virtual traps, I’ve banged up my emotional self on several occasions. I’m sharing some of my bumps and bruises, hoping others can dodge them and embrace a life they chose to live.
1. The “Friends” List
"Get as many people to 'accept' your friendship as possible." That was my mission. Just saying that aloud now seems so absurd!
Well, Mission Accomplished: I now have hundreds of friends. The result: A clogged news feed and an overstuffed event box. After the novelty wore off, I quickly recognized my disinterest in most of these people’s lives. Endlessly scrolling for a familiar name, I willingly passed over the lives of hundreds without hesitation. That’s not what “friends” do. The bottom line was, most of them weren’t really friends, yet on some level I needed their “friendship” to feel validated. Disappointed in myself for carefully orchestrating this whole arrangement, I got real (not easy or fun) and challenged this belief that “friends” indicate self-worth. Investing time and energy into nurturing the bonds with my true friends has proved to be more rewarding than waiting for a friend request to be accepted. I’m also learning that the most important acceptance is self-acceptance.
2. The “Happy Birthday” Post
Hundreds of “Happy Birthday” posts aren’t what makes your day happy. Nor does getting a bunch of emojis tacked on to the message make your birthday that much more spectacular. Not to sound like a downer, but this unnecessary pressure to track and post on every single “friend’s” wall in order to consider yourself a “good friend” is worth reconsidering. On top of it all, thanks to the calendar reminder birthday wishing has become a mindless task. A true friend isn’t measured by the public announcement he or she posts that morning.
Flip side: Don’t get down on a friend if she hasn't posted on your wall, since this isn’t a true indicator of friendship. In any case, if you’re going to send wishes, consider using your voice; drop a line, swing by, say “Hi!” Personal connections are always the way to go!
3. The “Like” Button
Just because someone doesn’t “like” your post or pic doesn’t mean you should remove it. Think about it: Not everyone always acknowledges and agrees with what you say and do, nor should they, nor should you expect it. Imagine a world in which everyone liked everything all the time. Impossible, right? Boring, yep! Post things if they please you, not to please others. The only approval you should seek out is your own.
4. The “Seen” Message
Your message has been “seen,” yet there's been no response. It’s been a minute. Now five. You distract yourself. You come back … to nothing. Long gone are those three little active dots in the bubble letting you know the person is still “there.” Creative juices wildly flow between the “seen” and the response. Our internal monologue might now sound like: “Where’d they go? They were just ‘here.’ Why’d they leave me?” We feel abandoned.
Virtual or not, abandonment is unsettling. We all deserve to feel safe. Please do not let that lag time get the best of you. While you wait for a reply, redirect your focus on something more uplifting and remember that you are your best company!
5. The “Event” Page
Some events are public, others private; sometimes you get asked, but not always. Your childhood birthday guest list wasn’t public, and why should it have been? Not everybody wants you playing in their sandbox, but it doesn’t mean you stop playing in yours. In fact, play, live, love, build sand castles! Maybe create an event (public or private) to celebrate! Just don’t get offended when not everyone shows up, because they won’t. We can’t be everywhere all the time. Realize this: The only event you should care about showing up for is your life!
The real world carries with it enough drama; we don’t need to go searching for more. Just remember you have the freedom to log in, post, and chat, as well as the power to log off and leave it all behind!
I hope you “like” this article, maybe even repost or tweet it. Oh, and don’t forget to “friend” me on Facebook!