Don't Let Facebook Depress You!

Random Status Updates

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Facebook Depression

Not that long ago, I read an article about how many Facebook users feel depressed after spending too much time on the site. Some people compare their lives to the lives of those on their friend list. If someone is already feeling down about a certain aspect of his or her life, seeing other people who are apparently happy on Facebook makes it worse. Some Facebook users are actually getting depressed over the situation.

To be honest, I thought the article was a little silly at the time. I figured most people were not affected by Facebook one way or the other. However, recently my friend admitted she no longer logged into Facebook on a regular basis because it made her sad. She said it already bummed her out that she was single; there was no need to look at the faces of so many happy couples, people getting engaged, people getting married, etc. After discussing this matter with others, I realized many people felt the same way.

It seems as if whatever is bothering a person, it only becomes magnified for them when logging into Facebook. If you are depressed about your job, seeing status updates from people that love their jobs only makes it worse. If you are bummed out about being single, seeing new wedding photos or engagement photos is super depressing. But I am here to tell you there is no need to be depressed over Facebook. I can give you several reasons why you should not let it bother you.

Sugar-Coated Status Updates

In the land of Facebook status updates, many of those ultra-positive updates are sugar-coated. Just because people are constantly posting semi-pleasant updates about their jobs on Facebook does not mean they love their jobs. What it does mean is they love having a job and need to keep it. Most likely, it also means their boss or co-workers friended them on Facebook, so they have to keep their status updates "work appropriate" if they discuss their jobs. That is just one example of a sugar-coated mess, but it happens all the time.

Even those of us that do not friend our boss on Facebook still have to be weary of posting negative work-related status updates or just simply venting about work. Even if you believe your Facebook page is completely secure, there is always a little doubt in the back of anyone's mind. Facebook does not always work right and there are silly quirks that catch you off guard when you least expect it. Instead of angering your boss, it is best to play it safe and either post happy job updates or none at all.

As for the overly optimistic status updates about personal lives, some are totally exaggerated. Maybe your friend from middle school posted that her daughter got an amazingly awesome report card this term. You become jealous because your daughter only made straight "B"s this time around. Turns out, your middle school friend's daughter actually only made straight "C"s but this is a major improvement for her child and she is proud of it. Of course, she is not going to say what her child really got because it does not sound that great if she gives specific details. Instead, she wants everyone else to encourage her and her child, so she sugar-coats things a bit. It happens all the time, so there is no need to be jealous or depressed over a status update that is a bit vague with details. If you find out the real details, chances are, things are not as wonderful as they seem.

Source

Check Out "Catfish"

Blatant Lies

Let's face it, if you have 100 or more people on your Facebook friend list, at least a couple of people on that list are probably lying about certain aspects of their lives. Yes, this even goes for people you really know in person, like that kind neighbor that bakes you brownies for your birthday or your co-worker that allows you to vent to her when you've had a bad day. Some people get a kick out of living a little fantasy with just a few little lies here and there on Facebook. Other people get a kick out of creating an entirely new identity on Facebook as evidenced by the show, "Catfish" on MTV.

What I am trying to tell you is, don't believe everything you read on Facebook. Furthermore, you especially don't want to compare yourself to others based on what you see on Facebook. You will only get depressed over situations that may not even be true. I will give you an example.

I know of a person that constantly posts updates on Facebook about her grandson, spending time with him, how great he is, and how much she loves him. Guess what? She has not seen this grandson in years. She has never talked to him on the phone and does not even so much as send him a card for his birthday. The grandson hasn't seen her since he was a baby and if he saw her somewhere, he would not even recognize her. So why does she post these updates?

The most I can figure out is she is living a fantasy on how she wished things turned out. She wished she could be close to her grandson, but does not know how or where to start. The longer she waits to do something about it, the less likely her fantasy will come true. Perhaps it is not even about him at all. Maybe she just likes to brag to her other friends about her grandson so they think she is a wonderful grandmother. Maybe she even likes making other people jealous of her great life and amazing grandson. Who knows? What I do know is one should not get too caught up in other people's status updates. If you scratch beneath the surface, life sure is not all sunshine and roses for plenty of folks.

Selective Sharing

What I feel is the most frequently used Facebook sharing technique for many users is "selective sharing." Selective sharing is similar to selective hearing. When you talk to someone, but that person only hears what he wants to hear, that is selective hearing. With selective sharing, people share with others on Facebook exactly what they want you to know about their lives. This gives friends and followers a certain image that may not be an accurate image of that person's life.

If you think about it, the most annoying friends on your Facebook friend list are the whiners. No one likes someone that constantly posts negative or melodramatic status updates all the time. A little reality here and there is fine, but too much negativity is a bummer. So instead of being a whiner, plenty of people go in the opposite direction and only post happy events, status updates, and photos. While this is wonderfully positive, some people may misinterpret this to mean some people have super happy lives. This is simply not the case! Don't believe it! No one is happy 100% of the time and if you know someone that is, please let me know what medication that person is taking because I want some of it now.

When people post vacation photos, do you think they are going to post photos of when they argued with their spouse, had to put their kids on a timeout, or found something weird floating in the hotel sink? No, most of the time people post photos of the happy moments during their vacation because they want to celebrate the good things that happened. Even if they had a miserable time, most people can muster up a smile or two when the camera comes out. So the next time you are getting jealous over a friend's vacation, don't waste your energy on it. If you send a private message, chances are, you will get to hear a whole series of things that went wrong.

Another major topic I want to bring up is Facebook couples. If you are single, don't be jealous of your friends that are part of a couple. Not everything is as wonderful as they can appear on Facebook. I know plenty of couples that post beautiful photos at the beach, at restaurants, at parties, and other public places, and they look like the happiest couples in the world. However, if you do a little research, you can learn all sorts of dirt on these couples... some are cheating on each other, others are unhappy but only staying in the marriage for the money, the kids, or both, and still, there are couples that do nothing but fight, yet they are extremely photogenic. Don't allow yourself to wallow in self-pity over couples that might wish they were single like you!


Is this photo taken during a happy moment or just after an argument? You never know!

Source

Facebook Poll

Are you skeptical when someone only posts optimistic status updates?

  • No, I believe some people are just really happy.
  • No, I want to believe what people post.
  • Yes, I think some people embellish a little.
  • Yes, sometimes people just want to convey a positive image. That is totally normal.
  • Yes, some people live in a fantasy world.
  • Yes, I totally live in a fantasy world on Facebook and assume everyone else is doing the same.
See results without voting

Be a Skeptic!

The point I am trying to get across in this hub is don't allow yourself to become depressed over some Facebook updates or photos. Facebook offers you a small glimpse into the lives of many people you've met (or haven't met) during your entire life. If you are not close to someone but you are Facebook friends, don't take everything they say at face value. It is certainly not worth getting depressed over lives that could be significantly embellished on Facebook, or at least full of "positive spins."

It is best to approach Facebook with some skepticism. In general, I've found it is healthy to approach anything in life with a little skepticism. If something sounds too good to be true, including Facebook status updates, it probably is too good to be true. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying your friend list is filled with a bunch of liars. It probably is not. However, your friend list is probably filled with people that don't want to air their dirty laundry all over the internet. If all of your friends are constantly posting all their problems online, you are probably either: A) still in high school, or B) need to branch out and find more positive friends. After all, seeing all that negativity everyday isn't going to make a person less depressed either!

Basically, you can keep your Facebook account, keep your friends, and still stay happy! Don't compare yourself too much to others. After all, comparing yourself to others can bring you down. Who cares if your cousin just bought a new home and you live in an apartment? Maybe your cousin bought a house with a toilet that overflows twice a week and the deck is falling apart. You shouldn't waste your time comparing your life to others, especially when you don't know the full story. So go enjoy yourself on Facebook!


Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle


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Comments 24 comments

sheilamyers 3 years ago

You made some very good points. Young or old, I think a lot of people on FB make stuff up to get either praise or sympathy. Me ... I say what's on my mind - good or bad. What you see is what you get.


Weekend Reader profile image

Weekend Reader 3 years ago

I don't even use my real name on Facebook ...


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

sheilamyers - I am pretty honest on my page, too. Sometimes I just bite my tongue about work. :-) Thanks for your comment!

Weekend Reader - Uh-oh... you are being really sneaky. ;-)


livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

How very true, I agree with you on this. Thank you for sharing this with us. I need to pass this article to a few of my friends who would love to read this.

Voted up and sharing!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much! I am hoping I can help out some people with this hub. I never thought of Facebook as depressing until recently.


Kiwi Max profile image

Kiwi Max 3 years ago from New Zealand

I remember reading a similar article to the one you described in your hub. Secretly I think a lot of people using Facebook feel this way (everyone's life is perfect, but mine), even I do after a bad day. Then I go eat some cookie ice-cream & the good times start :D.

Thank you for sharing your article, you've got great ideas how to help people who are depressed by Facebook to look at it in another way.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

When I read the over-the-top positive messages from FB friends who in person gripe just like the rest of us I wonder who they wrote that for (and what planet they're on today). And where else but FB can you learn about so many deaths in people's extended families, about marital or relationship crises, about children who are perfect and happy (until the happy kid posts a retort to the parent in front of all their friends), ... ? It's kind of like a low budget movie. You can't help but watch because the acting is so bad. A little detachment helps. Good perspective here, Jeannieinabottle. Voted up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Kiwi Max - Ah, yes... ice cream always helps a bad day go away. I typically don't get too bummed out over Facebook though; I get more depressed when I see a friend that claims everything is perfect in their life. It always seems more believable in person. Thanks so much for your comment!

FlourishAnyway - Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. I think some people post things according to how they wish their lives were, but not what is actually going on. It is sad that other people read these things and feel inadequate when those statements are not even true. Sigh. It is a weird world we live in! Thanks for your comment and the vote up.


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Interesting hub. I guess I am kind of guilty of posting this way. Most of the people I know are always either fighting, griping, or posting depressingly sad stuff. I tend to just pick a happy thought or positive comment to post. Nothing over the top, just "Yay, my daisies bloomed", or something similar. I never thought it would be offensive to anyone. :(

I do have a couple of over-the-top posters on my friend's list. The ones that make you wonder if they are super-human or closet millionaires. Everyday they are buying something new and wonderful, their kids are entering college at the age of 5, their husbands surprise them with roses or maybe a new Camaro, they took a day off work to go have a massage, and still had time to watch their non-college children compete and win in twelve different sports before dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Since those are relatives, I just smile. I know all the stuff that is posted between the lines.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I didn't think much about how Facebook could depress you either until my husband and I started trying to have kids and it didn't go as planned. Now there are Facebook friends that I avoid online for a host of different reasons related to this topic. There are any number of other topics that can depress people online from not owning a house to not finishing college. I do my best to avoid reading my news feed excessively and block people whose statuses are consistently intolerable. I'm really glad that you addressed this important topic.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

sharkye11 - I doubt your optimistic posts are bringing anyone down. Status updates about daisies blooming would cheer anyone up... unless of course, all their daisies died or something, but what are the odds of that. ;-) I am referring to the over-the-top posters you mentioned in the second paragraph. I also know people like that, but I know the truth behind many of the posts. One of my friends used to get annoyed about the posts one of my relatives would put on my Facebook page about how great marriage is and how it is sad to be single... blah, blah, blah. Once I explained to my friend how that relative was actually cheating on her husband and about to file for divorce, the jealousy stopped. I can only laugh at those posts, too. Thanks for your comment and don't worry about your status updates... they sound really nice. I agree that there are too many negative posts out there, too.

randomcreative - You are so right! There are so many topics on Facebook that can be hurtful to others, and often the person posting it never realizes it. Sometimes people post something totally harmless but it bothers someone else. It is best to stay away from the feeds whenever feeling down and sometimes blocking is the best solution. I have a relative that posts the most depressing stuff about family members and I had to block her feed from appearing in my feed. Facebook can be great, but it can be sad at times, too. Thank you for your comment!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 3 years ago from Canada

Jeannie, it's so funny that I found this hub because my sister and I were talking about this very topic this morning: how we felt sometimes that everyone seems to have such a perfect life on Facebook. It's like a glamorous gossip magazine, only with people you really know. You make some very convincing points. Voting up and sharing!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Good advice! This IS an important topic, as randomcreative mentioned. I do see glowing statuses consistently as well as consistently negative ones. I hope I'm somewhere in-between. :-) Great hub!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Nice work. Sound advice that should be obvious is apparently not. UP and shared and all that good stuff.


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

A good work you did it only because you did a great research about Facebook or as we say it feckbook.voted it up as useful and shared


Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

Good hub, I guess many people feel bad about how much time they actually waste on Facebook.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

Before I gave my job up I desperately wanted to vent about it and my colleagues but being a Government employee I couldn't. Oddly now I could there doesn't seem much point. I have from time to time made mild reference to their policies which I don't agree with. See I'm still scared! Voted up and interesting. Pinned and shared too


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

prairieprincess - You are so right! Facebook is just like a gossip magazine. I try to steer away from anything too melodramatic or gossipy. The more I think about it, the more I think I might need to use Facebook less. Hehe. Thanks for voting up and sharing!

Victoria Lynn - I like to aim for something in-between as well with my status updates. Thanks for your comment!

PDXKaraokeGuy - I never realized how much Facebook bothered some people until recently. I guess I was always skeptical about overly happy updates and thought everyone else was, too. Thanks for checking out my hub!

Deepak Chaturvedi - Thanks so much for the votes and for sharing. I suppose I might be on Facebook a bit too much to put this much research into it, but at least the hub seems to be well-liked.

Hezekiah - You are probably right... some people do spend too much time on Facebook and that does not help matters. Thank you for the comment.

Sue Bailey - I used to vent all the time on Facebook about work when I was not concerned about being fired. I stopped doing it because my friends told me I was a bit whiny about it. Hehe. Thanks so much for the votes, for pinning, and for sharing!


Kathleen Kerswig 3 years ago

I happen to love Facebook. It has helped me to stay in touch with a lot more people and I know what is happening in their lives more often than not. When I run into them, I love being able to ask about updates to their problems or their victories. I do believe many people like to put on a "mask" in front of others for a variety of reasons. I've seen a lot of posts with negativity and drama attached to it.

You have some great points in this hub. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing! Voted up!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much for your comment and the vote up! Facebook is wonderful for catching up with people. It is nice to stay in touch with relatives that are in other states, too. It is a shame it has become a place of negativity, but I guess it is to more people than I imagined. Even I stay away a bit here and there. I am happy you enjoyed my hub! Thanks again!


macteacher profile image

macteacher 3 years ago from New York

This hub is so on target. I tell people all the time that Facebook is not real life. Everybody wants to be liked and impress - FB is a great place to make things look a whole lot better than they really are, and many people have become experts at looking fabulous. It's just a show. Thanks for a great hub. :-)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

You are right... so many people have become like PR people for their own Facebook profile. It is all about looking as good and as happy as possible... even if the message is false. Thanks for your comment!


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 3 years ago from Aurora

I suppose it is natural to want to appear successful and happy on FB, but some folks really do get carried away with unbelievably fantastic happenings or really too positive sounding lives.

There are certainly some annoying posts, however! Excessively commenting on politics, telling me you are somewhere on some day with zero details (more appropriate for twitter) and overt self promotion turn me right OFF. Also, rehashed and re-posted pictures with some arcane message are a waste of my time!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

People do tend to get carried away on Facebook. I also don't care too much for political debates on Facebook. There is a time and a place for everything, and Facebook is not it. Thanks for your comment!

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