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Don't Let Facebook Depress You!
Random Status Updates
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.
Check Out "Catfish"
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.
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!
Are you skeptical when someone only posts optimistic status updates?
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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