My Divorce from Facebook

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I know, dramatic right?  But if you think about it, divorce is a good way to look at it.

Think about your relationship with Facebook.  When you first met him, you were excited, giddy.

Look at all these people you could find!  So & so from high school?!  Wow look at how much he aged!  Friend request!  Oh, and look at her!  Of course she married a doctor.  I never really liked her.  Friend request!  Oh boy.  Look at joe schmoe requesting me as a friend, like I don’t remember all the drama that he caused in high school.  Accept!  Omg, look at her!  I am so happy she found me!  Accept!  I wonder if she is still friends with that one; let me scroll her friends to see.  Wow, she IS!  Friend request!  I totally forgot about him too!  Friend request!

Remember how that went?

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Then, look at all you could do on Facebook!  You mean to tell me that I can play games WITH these ‘friends’?!  Sign me up!  I can grow virtual produce and have that farm I always wanted?  Yes, please!  I can ‘like’ Justin Beiber, Ellen Degeneres, Kanye West and Oprah Winfrey!?  Sounds great!  Do you think they will respond to me?

All of that excitement, like a relationship, is like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.  After a while you have 100+ ‘friends’, and you are sharing quips and memories of high school, college, or the old days.  You catch up with people, and laugh at their e-card posts, and cat videos.  What a way to relax at the end of a work day.

Then, and it is a different time period for everyone, you find yourself on Facebook, looking at all the posts made by your ‘friends’, and they all start to look the same.  You are getting annoyed at joe schmoe’s political posts now; you had no idea he leaned so far to the right!  You begin to wish there was a way to block his posts without offending him.  Then, you find out how and, whew, thank goodness that is over!  Whoa, when did so & so become so racist?  We went to the same high school and hung out together all the time.  How could this happen?  Delete.  Over and over you see posts that annoy you, but you still keep scrolling.  For what?  You wouldn’t take someone talking to you like that in person, why would you accept it on Facebook?  But you ignore and keep scrolling.

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Soon, you find that you are only communicating religiously with a few people, and the rest of your ‘friends’ really don’t care.  Or, out of the 100+ friends you have, some are just trolling your posts; virtual peeping toms watching your every move, but then still asking how life is when you speak to them.  You wouldn’t let someone peep into your window in real life, would you?

At the end stages of my personal relationship with Facebook, I found myself clicking ‘like’ on mediocre things, and only commenting on a handful of people’s posts.  I was wasting time scrolling and refreshing; television shows were the soundtrack to my loafing on the couch as I did.  I read articles about deleting Facebook in the past, but I didn’t think I would take them seriously.  I remember pinning on Pinterest a link to the steps to deleting Facebook for good, just in case.  Last week, I called for my divorce.

I messaged people I wanted to make sure knew I was gone, giving them my cell number and email address.  What is funny is the people I gave that information to, had it pre-Facebook anyhow.  Think about it.  Who on your Facebook ‘friends’ list would you, sincerely, want to give your personal information to?  It’s worth pondering!  Anyhow, I then began the process of deletion.  It was scary, but I did it.

On February 12, 2015, my emancipation from Facebook was complete.

What happened after I deleted was amazing.  People could not believe I did it!  Questions like, “How does it feel?”, “How was your first Facebook-free weekend?”, “So, why no more Facebook?” began to flood in.  My answer to all these questions were simple: I feel fine.  It went fine.  It was a distraction.  It is amazing to me how difficult that simple answer is for people to accept.  How could someone NOT want to be on Facebook?!  Here is what I learned in my brief time free of Facebook:

  1. Facebook offers people a false sense of community.  Sure, you have 100+ friends, but when you are feeling low, or need someone, how many of those ‘friends’ are there for you?  This includes ‘family-as-friends’.  The same ones you would call off of Facebook are the same ones that are there for you on Facebook.  Nothing changes.  All those ‘likes’, and comments only assist you for a small amount of time.  Then, you are there with the same problem, calling the same people.  Facebook has done nothing to help you, has it?
  2. Facebook deals you drama that you wouldn’t normally accept in your life; just because it is on a computer screen doesn’t make it any different.  If you are democrat, pro-life, pro-equality, posts by your ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’, are only going to annoy you if you share different views.  Often times, you don’t realize that these people have such rigid views.  Then, when you see them offline, you are supposed to pretend that you never read anything they wrote?  If you don’t accept something offline, don’t accept it online.
  3. Facebook only causes problems with the people you have offline relationships with.  How many times have you heard, “didn’t you see my post?”, “how come you didn’t ‘like’ it?”  It has become a platform for passive-aggressiveness all around.  I will admit, I used Facebook to release venom I had stored up in me as well at points in time, but it did nothing to solve my problems.  It exacerbated them.  What ever happened to having discussions with people?  Now people are throwing ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’ shade online, and then expecting life to be wine and roses when you meet up at the annual barbecue.  Life doesn’t work that way, but Facebook has allowed people to think that it does.  Hell, that post got forty-three likes!
  4. Facebook makes you feel bad about your life.  Or, it makes you judge how you are living it.  Have you scrolled through someone’s vacation pictures thinking, “I make more money than they do.  Why can I not afford to take vacations like this?”  Or, “She is such a good mom.  Why didn’t I think to do that with my kids?”  I could go on and on with the comparisons we make, but it would take up the rest of this post.  Facebook makes us critically look at our lives and judge ourselves against other people’s lives.  There is that one ‘friend’ who posts that you always say, “Wow so & so, you really have your life together!”, or secretly loathe them for their successes.  Facebook certainly does nothing to boast your self-esteem.
  5. Facebook is a time sucker.  Days before my divorce, I was talking to a co-worker, and I asked her, “How do you find so much time to read with your crazy life?”  She volunteers for a dog rescue, has nine dogs in her home (some are fosters), has personal issues, attends regular college basketball games and is always busy with work.  She said she has much more quiet time than I do, even with all of those things happening in her life.  So, I assessed my time and what I did when I come home from work.  I have a million books I want to read, and I needed to find out why I had no time to do so.  After watching my hours go by, there it was.  Facebook.  Scrolling, reading, catching up on things with my ‘friends’ that I missed since I logged in that morning.  Then, logging in to see what I missed after that.  My laptop was open all the time, and when it wasn’t, I was on my cell phone.  Think about how often you are attached to electronics for no reason.  You will see how much time you have in life that is being wasted!

Now, I know the many advantages to social media, and I am not condemning social media as a whole.  I know that people are missing people are found, and lives are saved using Facebook.  I applaud Facebook for those one-in-a-million incidents.  Thank God for it!  But, on a daily basis, it does nothing for me.  So, on February 12, 2015, I signed my divorce document to leave Facebook.

In the six days I have been gone, I have finished a book, and half of another one.  Life is good.

Here is the link to the steps to take to leave Facebook.  If you feel a divorce is in your future, be sure to read it:

How To Delete Facebook