Facebook: Why the popular social network could be making you unhappy
Nearly everyone has a Facebook account nowadays. I bet your parents - possibly even your grandparents - use Facebook! Even if they don't, I'm sure they at least know what it is. Facebook is arguably the most popular social networking website in the world. For those who do own a Facebook account, I'm sure you can agree that most people have a very extensive friends list. Our friends on Facebook usually range from our currents friends and co-workers to the person we just met at the coffee shop last weekend. Some of us wake up in the morning and check our News Feed before even making our first cup of coffee. Others continually check it throughout the day on their smart phones or their office computers. Either way, most of us do scroll through our Facebook News Feed at least once, if not multiple, times on a regular basis.
Why Facebook can cause feelings of unhappiness
While Facebook is a fantastic way to keep in contact with old friends and faraway relatives, it can also cause people to feel unhappy about their own lives or about recent events that have happened in their lives. Think about it this way.. Maybe you are having a bit of a hard time financially at this point in your life, and then you start scrolling through your News Feed and see some friends posting pictures of their brand new cars, or their most recent vacation to the Bahamas. Or maybe you just went through a really hard, heart wrenching break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and then you see that your old friend from High School just got engaged. Seeing these things isn't going to make you feel very good about yourself, is it? You are going to feel upset, jealous and bitter. You are going to feel like others have better lives than your own. What most people fail to realize is that just because someone's life looks a lot better than yours based on what they post on Facebook, does not mean that is the reality. No one posts the negative, embarrassing or shameful parts of their lives on Facebook. No one posts about their relationships being in turmoil, or about getting fired from their job, thus making their lives look absolutely perfect and having you feel like your life is far from it.
Here is a few examples of things you might see on Facebook that are not what they seem:
You see: A friend from college constantly posting pictures of their brand new designer clothes and watches that they buy every week.
The reality: They are about to be evicted from their apartment because they have been using their rent money to buy all those nice things.
You see: An old friend's new status update stating that they got a promotion at their job.
The reality: This promotion also includes ridiculously long hours at the office and less time with their friends and family.
You see: A friend just started a new relationship with someone and you are still single.
The reality: Your friend is only dating this person because they are still upset about their ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend.
Although these examples are only hypothetical, they demonstrate how we really can't base our thoughts and feelings about other peoples' lives by what we see about them on Facebook.
Now, I'm not saying you need to deactivate your Facebook account. You just need to keep in mind that what you see on Facebook is not the big picture. You must remember that you are only seeing the positive aspects of your friends' lives, and none of the negative aspects. Contrary to popular belief, not everything on the internet is what it seems. Here are some tips for not letting anything you see on Facebook upset you:
- Always keep in mind that something you see on Facebook could always potentially be too good to be true
- Avoid looking at an ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend's profile directly after a break up
- Avoid scrolling through your News Feed directly after a traumatic event in your life, such as losing your job
- Always remember all of the positive things in your life
- Keep only your current friends on your friends list