Log onto Facebook and it’s an array of happy news for everyone else. The bitch I hated in high school just got married to a handsome lad, bought a brand new five bedroom house with hopes of popping out several children, and has “an amazing job” with “the best co-workers.” Another one of my friends traveled the world, exploring South Africa, Egypt, Japan, all of Europe, etc. A few former friends from high school just had
and you weren’t invited. Have I mentioned they all look so flawless? attractive? mature? One friend brags about how much she loves her boyfriend of five years, who sent her flowers at work, wrote a romantic letter, and left it underneath her pillow, then hung a huge sign outside of the house professing his love. So adorable, right?
Now, here’s the trouble:
We forget that, while we are in Facebook Fantasy Land, the bitch I hated in high school actually hates her husband (he’s controlling but rich), and her job isn’t what she wanted but settled on it because of her parents’ nagging. So she smiles big in all of the photos that she then uploads to Facebook to make sure everyone sees the rare occasions where she’s having “the time of her life.”
My traveling friend now finds herself alone, penniless, and lonely, but discovers she’s saturated in a bucket of her own memories. (Which is better?)
“The Best Girls Night Ever!” was a hoax. Samantha was angry at Amy for all the crap she pulled in high school (stealing boyfriends and such), Veronica was off hitting on an old man at the bar because her husband left her, and Kim was just happy to have another drink to steady her shaking hand.
The boyfriend bragger? Well, they fought the night before about how he had cheated on her during most of their relationship and she broke up with him several times within an hour. But after his wooing and convincing her that it didn’t mean anything and that he only loved her, she took him back. The flowers? The romantic letter? The sign? That was her boyfriend’s way of making up for his multiple “accidents.”
So, what’s the moral of the story?
It’s not that happy news isn’t posted on Facebook, but everyone is always putting their best foot forward when posting on a social media site. Everyone wants their image and reputation to fall under a glamorous light, so why would they post bad things that happen to them?
Facebook depression has been studied in kids and young adults, and while some studies show that there’s no proof, others (myself included) showed signs.
And what about those of us from the older generations who are new to Facebook? For adults (our older cousins, parents, and – yes, even –grandparents), it might not drop down to a friend count or being invited to certain events, but it can certainly be about the focus of other people’s happiness. Adults who have reached the age of, say, 50 and look at their current situation and forget all that they’ve accomplished throughout their entire lives, all because their attention has focused on a friend from 20 years ago who is currently backpacking through Europe.
If we are too involved in the digital life of our friends and loved ones, we tend to forget who we are and what we are capable of providing to those we see face-to-face. Sometimes, we are so driven by other people’s lives via Facebook Fantasy Land, that we drive ourselves right into this Facebook depression.
Here’s a few helpful hints we came up with to keep you living your life instead of your friends/acquaintances on social media.
1. Remember what you are seeing, you are believing. Imagine putting your favorite movie on and just watching the last 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes of resolution, happiness, and “the best life ever” – that’s what you get on Facebook. What you are not seeing are the difficult situations, struggles and choices made to get to those opportunities. You didn’t get to see how your friend got that awesome job after months of unemployment, eating Ramen Noodles, and living in their parents’ basement. You didn’t get to hear the screaming match the couple had the night before their engagement. You didn’t get to feel the pangs of loneliness being a stay-at-home mom after college or an abandoned partner after 15+ years of marriage.
2. Step away. If you find yourself relying more on social media than living your own life, logout and don’t peek for at least two hours. Then the next time, see if you can wait an extra few hours before checking your newsfeed. Then try a day, then a week, then whenever you have spare time after living your own life. We’re not saying it’s bad to have a Facebook, since we have a Facebook page dedicated to our site. But we’d rather have you out living your life than living ours on a 24/7 basis. Why? Because we care!
3. Share your happiness with Facebook. It’s easy to fall into a negative mindset and become jealous of what others have, but just remember that you too lead a lovely life! Share your own creativity, hang with your own friends or family, take your own photos, share your own accomplishments. It is easier to be happy when you are happy for those around you, and in order to be happy for those around you – even for the evil girl who pantsed you in school that is now bragging about her wonderful life in the digital world – you must appreciate all that you have, too. Don’t forget your faithful husband, your romantic boyfriend, your goofy friends, your loving children, your kind co-workers. There are people in your life you can recognize but, most of all, recognize yourself and all your awesomeness!
We want others to know that they’re not alone, so please and let us know if you are suffering or have suffered from the Facebook Fantasy Land Blues.
XO – Kyla and Felicia
Felicia Clark has a BA in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She is an avid reader, writer, and editor and has been published as a freelance reporter in several Fox Cities magazines and newspapers. During her free time, she enjoys crafting with mod podge, ballroom dancing, being a yogi, reading from an actual book (none of this Nook and Kindle business), storytelling, drinking tea, and eating healthy. Her guilty pleasures include watching Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, and Jane Austen films; eating cheese and chocolate; and drinking a glass of wine at the end of the day. Visit her over at Measure Life In Bookmarks!