Facebook Detox

Last night I made the decision to take an indefinite break from Facebook. It’s certainly not the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last time. In the past I have deactivated my Facebook twice, both times for about six months and I can honestly say both times I was glad I did. Part of me always regretted getting back on Facebook. I mostly have a hate-hate relationship with Facebook. Yes, without it sometimes I feel like I may be missing out on something, but the reality is most of the stuff on Facebook adds no value whatsoever to your life and only contributes to the huge amount of information overload we have nowadays. So in the interest of “decluttering” my brain, I am doing a Facebook detox. The longer, the better and I honestly sometimes would love to get rid of it all together. A Facebook detox certainly isn’t an original idea, but I saw it described that way recently and felt like it is just what I need. Your mind, just like your body, at times needs a chance to detox and have a break from all the crap. (Sorry, but the majority of stuff people post is crap, myself included!) Not saying Facebook is entirely useless, but there are a number of reasons I decided to log off.

In my usual fashion, I’m doing the “in no particular order” list:

Distraction: This is probably the most obvious problem with Facebook and already within 24 hours I realize how addicted I have become to checking Facebook.  Previously, when I got rid of Facebook I did not have a smartphone, so I was only checking it when I had access to a computer. Since, I’ve gotten my phone, it’s become out of hand. I check it first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. I check it sometimes right after I checked it two minutes ago, like it’s become (who am I kidding??!) IT IS a compulsion.  Today, I would send a text and then go to hit the Facebook app automatically, and then realize it’s gone and have this little moment of anxiety (no kidding, and I realize how ridiculous this sounds!!) But if I sat down and figured out how much time I’ve wasted distracting myself from the world around me with this life-sucking app, I would probably be embarrassed to even admit how bad it was.

Furthermore, I have gotten to the point where I cannot watch a movie, read a book, or have a conversation, or complete a task without reaching for my phone. In fact, I’ve been struggling to get back into blogging. I have a half finished post on juicing and then I tried to start a blog post the other day and trashed it after like three sentences because I literally could not focus. It’s pathetic.  This stupid smartphone has outsmarted me.  >_<‘ My attention span has literally shrunk.  It seems the usefulness of a smartphone comes at a price and Facebook is one of the biggest distractions on it, at least for me.  I’ve been pretty big on Twitter at times, but have gotten bored of it and don’t check it nearly as much. But bottom line is, I’m wasting my time and losing focus of what I really want to be doing. It distracts you from your problems and issues so you don’t really face them, it’s definitely a way to avoid things. And you lose so many hours to it that could be spent on something fulfilling and worthwhile.

 

Comparing: I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of this, but oftentimes instead of being happy for other people who seem to have it so great, you just compare yourself and end up feeling inferior or like you’re not where you should be. I already struggle with feeling like I’m not good enough and am my own worst critic, so when I see people with amazing, interesting careers and getting married and starting families, sometimes I feel behind or like I’m failing at life. I went from being an amazing student (yeah I was that nerdy “gifted” child) to just average or less than that, or at least that’s how I feel. I’m struggling to find a path that’s right for me and it doesn’t help to have it rubbed in your face how wonderful and amazing some people seem to have it and sometimes the bitter side of me feels like “why them??!” But reality is, people only show what they want to and I’m sure things aren’t as perfect as people would like you to believe and they probably have the same insecurities too, but at times it can really get to you, especially when you are feeling lost and do not have a clear direction in your life. Not only that, but maybe it’s not a good thing to compare and think that’s the life you should have. I think I’d be better off without all this unwanted input to figure out what I really want and what I really care about, regardless of what everyone else is doing. And lately, especially career-wise I am looking at things off the beaten path that may seem impractical or crazy (another post, another day), but what matters is what will make me happy. Besides, are those people even really happy, or is it just pretend happy?? Some people clearly should be on a website called “Fakebook” where they can spin their delusional stories and web of lies.

 

Negativity– On the flip-side, there’s a group of people who just are constantly negative and seem to complain and whine about the most mundane and stupid things. It puts me in a bad mood to read it and often I feel guilty when the person is otherwise very nice, but watching them have a pity party day after day, posting multiple times a day about all their problems like they have it so much worse than anyone else is annoying. It would be easiest to block them, but some part of me feels bad. I get it, I know what it’s like to feel down like that, but I try not to advertise it and go on feeling sorry for myself all over Facebook. I’d much rather read funny or interesting things. It seems rather self-absorbed to post day after day all about your problems. Everyone has problems, you are not unique and treating Facebook like a personal shrink is just going to alienate the people you call “friends”. For myself, I know I’m sensitive to taking on the moods of other people and I realize it’s healthier for me to just avoid it all together.

 

Taking Things Personally– I realize this is something that is my own problem and I need to work on, but Facebook is a great place to be offended.  You write to someone who you thought was a good friend and they respond to someone else but ignore your message…Burn! No one likes your funny status…epic sadness! Someone I didn’t even really like that much deleted me…ouch! As far as people having opinions different than mine, that I can deal with, doesn’t really bother me (although preachy people do bother me STFU and don’t tell me kittens are gonna die if I don’t do exactly what you say!!!! JUST STOP!)  But the biggest thing is, all these people who are your “friends” seem to be so superficially connected to you.  Honestly, Facebook makes me feel more disconnected than ever. I hate seeing people who I was so close with moving on with their lives and seeming like they don’t miss you one bit. It’s normal for friends to grow apart, but with Facebook it is glaringly obvious and before social networks, you would move on and eventually not think so much about it. But with Facebook, it’s shoved in your face day after day.  It’s like this person who I thought was my “best friend” doesn’t even send me a happy birthday wish anymore, guess our friendship never mattered that much to them. All it takes is a few keystrokes and a click and you could make someone’s day, honestly. But same for me, I could just as easily do the same, though I tend to give up very easily. If I get no response after one try or try to make plans to and get cancelled on, I pretty much assume the worst and decide I’m not worth that person’s time.

 

TMI and Oversharing– One thing that always made me really uncomfortable was that some people feel the need to share very private and sometimes just revolting information. Thank you for sharing the play by play of giving birth with all the gory details, now I’m going to wash my brain with bleach and throw up. Also (okay now it’s going to seem like I’m picking on moms, but just saying..) potty training updates. OMG SERIOUSLY??!! Your kid is going to hate you when they grow up after you put videos of them “pooping on the potty” and reporting every last bowel movement they have. I have literally deleted people who were repeat offenders of these kinds of things. And then people who just air all their dirty laundry all over Facebook just make me uncomfortable. What ever happened to etiquette and decorum and keeping things to yourself?? There are certain things that should be private, but Facebook tells people to say what they’re feeling and thinking, and some people just take that prompt too literally and put IT ALLLLLL out there. I am thankful the social networking craze caught on when I was past my stupid teen years.  I would like to think I would have more sense than some people, but I’m glad I never had that chance to embarrass myself when you basically have a less-than-fully-functioning-brain, aka teenage-itis. But anyways, I’m generally a very private person and even people I see on a regular basis may know very little about me, it’s just how I am. Unless I really trust you (and believe me it takes A LOT and a long time), most people will never really get to know me, so it just blows my mind what some people find okay to share. Actually, one thing that really bothered me was when someone posted very disrespectful things about someone after they were no longer living- as if you could get any lower. Guess this doesn’t fall under TMI/Oversharing, but is just plain offensive. It’s people like that who seem so oblivious to how offensive and repugnant they are that just make me want to block the whole damn app.  Sad that these people ruin it for everyone else.

 

Anyways, I don’t know if or when I will get back on Facebook, but for now I know I need a break. Seeing things on there that upset me and creep into my dreams tells me that it’s not healthy and it’s become an addiction, quite literally. If anything, Facebook diminishes quality of life for a lot of people.  So many disingenuous connections just makes you feel more disconnected. That’s not to say that there aren’t people I care about on there, because there definitely are, but Facebook ruins the experience for me and those that really care will not be lost to you just because you’re not “real” Facebook friends. (You know nothing is actually real unless it’s on Facebook, right??!! ;p) And with the amount of technology we have nowadays it’s ridiculously easy to stay connected with people. Facebook is the LAZY way of being “friends” and it’s so fake and contrived. You never spoke to me for years and suddenly you want to be my Facebook “friend”- I don’t think so.

Honestly, I’d rather spend my time pursuing hobbies, engaging in real life, finding what I really want to do in my life, and most of all spending time with the people who are there for me and aren’t just little blurbs on a screen reporting how sad they are they have to do dishes or mop the dog or something. Most of all I will miss the videos and pictures of my nephews who are my world, but I will just make people send them to me instead and use the time I normally would waste on Facebook hanging out with them and not with only partial attention always looking back to see if something interesting popped up on Facebook (spoiler alert: there is nothing interesting on Facebook). It’s time to be more present in life and to do that I need to take away the clutter and crap that is keeping me from making my life what I want it to be. And not just physical clutter needs to go, but the mental clutter too.  It’s time to cut back on the mindless addictions and be mindful of what I’m using my time for.

So despite all my withdrawal and twitchiness from going cold turkey from Facebook (do they have rehab for this??!!!), I think things are looking brighter. You really do have to get rid of the old if you want to bring new and better things into your life. If something isn’t making you happy or doing you any good, get rid of it. It may be hard to part with some things or situations or even people who drag you down, but in the end you will feel lighter and have a sense of relief and the room in your life to bring more positive things and people.

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6 responses to “Facebook Detox

  1. I fully endorse absolutely everything that you wrote in this post! You described exactly what I so often feel about FB! And yeah, I know I am an oversharing mom – my excuse is that I have no friends here and the baby can’t talk, so I talk to nobody on FB – but honestly, it gets to me, too.

    I honestly feel like smart phone technology is the devil in disguise. My students here were always on their phones. They’d message friends who were sitting two inches from them. When I asked them if they’d rather meet their friends for soccer or play time or just sit and interact with them online, they chose online. Unanimously. That’s worrying to me. We’re going to have a generation of socially retarded weirdos coming on soon.

    The thing that hit home most with here though was the jealousy thing. I am so awful about this. I see friends who have finished grad school, gotten jobs so much better than mine, have big houses, and who are driving new BMWs (at age 26), and I think, “Good God, where did I go wrong?! I’m a complete and utter failure!” I have to tell myself that their parents bought it all for them, including primo educations and that BMW, but it still leaves a bitter taste.

    You’ve inspired me to quit FB. My only issue with it right now is that it’s the best way to communicate with my family since I’m still overseas. I think when we get Stateside, I’m going offline, too. I’ve been having these same thoughts, and you really validated my feelings.

    Oh yeah, and people who don’t respond to emails? HATE. THAT. I don’t care if they’re “absent-minded.” It’s f**king rude.

    Okay. Done. You said everything I’m saying but said it better. Good for you for getting rid of the clutter! I’ve resolved to do it when we get home!

  2. For you being overseas I can totally understand it’s a great tool to stay connected with everyone back home. If I was, I’m sure I would want to still have it- think I’d just have to do some weeding out of people. That’s another thing I’ve done in the past was deleting a lot of people who I never talked to before or after we were “fake book” friends. And I think there is no problem sharing all the baby news. I like those updates and I love the ones about my nephews and all the cute things they do. So those are things I will miss, but like I wrote the convenience comes at a cost I’m not willing to pay anymore. It really has been upsetting me lately because of certain people and certain things and life has been hard lately, but I know it will get better. Getting rid of Facebook was my little baby step to changing things. My health, physical and mental are more important than some little app. Yesterday, we spent the day at Shaw’s Garden with my nephews for an Easter egg hunt and I can honestly say it was a better experience without checking in on Facebook. I felt more present and happy and it really drove home the point of why I am doing this. Also, I realize I struggle with making changes in my life because I have been unwilling to get rid of the negative or the things that aren’t working anymore. Last night I even sat down and wrote out steps to take to get feeling better. Also, sometime around end of spring or summer I am planning to move back into my house with Sam so I’m looking forward to that. Now I just need to find a better job!!

  3. We were all closer and better friends before we got facebook and smartphones. Maybe we shouldn’t just accept that we are all ignoring each other while we are in the same room and only half listening to each other. We should sit and talk without our phones and go places like we used to and leave our phones at home!

    • I agree…it’s a bad habit. Should have cell phone free stuff…and I know I am just as bad as everyone else. I used to like hiking without my phone, was a chance to have a break from it. Then I always would take it “just in case”, but it’s not the same, you can’t help but check it.

  4. Pingback: Oversharing | Sanjay's Blog

  5. Pingback: Post-Facebook Detox | Deep Thoughts and Sparkleness

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