Why I Don’t Use Facebook

Social media is everywhere, from Facebook to Twitter, to Instagram, and more. It’s pervasive, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t use social media in some form. And why not? It’s a convenient way to keep in touch with the people we care about, and quite frankly also a bunch of people we kinda maybe want to keep in touch with at some point down the road if we feel like it but probably never will. But all in all, it’s harmless, right?

My story begins in my early 20’s when I was immersed deep into the various social networks. I basically lived life through Facebook and Twitter, it was honestly a crutch to help me avoid dealing with my social anxieties. Interestingly, I did make a couple friends from this and we’re still good friends today, but all in all, it was not healthy. Eventually, I want to say about 5 years ago, I started branching out. I made some new friends at my job and spent more time with them and less time perusing my Facebook feed and gave up Twitter entirely.

Fast-forward to 2018, my girlfriend of 8 years dumped me, and I found myself back in the dating world. I’m currently working on a post about dating as someone with severe social anxiety which will go more into this part of my life, but for now, we’ll just say I was struggling. I turned back to Facebook even though I still saw my friends. I wouldn’t call it a total relapse, but being in a pretty discouraging mental state I turned to constantly comparing “my sad life” with the lives of my friends and family who seemed to all have their shit together.

Then I saw it, I logged into Facebook and it informed me that the person I had been through thick and thin with for 8 years was in a relationship. You’re probably asking yourself, as I’ve been asking myself since that day, why would I not just “unfriend” her. Maybe I couldn’t let go at the time. Whatever the case, I think I was more hurt that the soulless Facebook algorithm thought it should tell me about it. So I went with the nuclear option and deleted my Facebook account.

What followed was this odd sense of relief, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It didn’t happen overnight, but as time went on I was able to focus on myself in a way I hadn’t been able to before. See, people don’t share their whole lives on social media, they only show what they want people to see, and in most cases that means you only see the good stuff. It’s easy to compare your life to this illusion of perfection, especially if you struggle with depression and are already prone to feel inadequate in comparison to others.

I’m not saying you should absolutely dump social media, hell I still use Instagram and started a new Twitter account (shameless plug: follow my Twitter if you want). But it’s definitely worth reflecting on your habits, and how they’re making you feel. If you find yourself feeling like your life sucks compared to the cousin you see twice a year, or you’re forever chasing that shot of dopamine from getting Likes on your latest selfie, maybe consider cutting back or eliminating social media from your life.

The biggest struggle is feeling like you’re cutting yourself off from the people you know, but social media isn’t the only way to stay in touch. In fact, a side effect of cutting down as much as I have has helped me realize who my strongest connections are, and allowed me to put my energy into those. I’ve even reconnected with a good friend from high school and we talk more than we have in the last 10 years.

Whatever you decide, I hope it allows you to build yourself up. The only person you can truly compare yourself to is yourself. Don’t despair because you “don’t have your shit together”, because we’re all figuring this out and we all move at our own pace. All any of us can do is look back at who we were yesterday, and aim to be better.

If you’d like some further reading, I found this great article on social media, mental health, and how to adopt healthy habits.