You’ve never considered yourself a masochist. You probably even genuinely believe that you don’t seek out pain or heartache. Although that may be true in the real world, in the digital world, you too have wasted hours of your precious time receiving emotional blows from Facebook. It’s addictive, doesn’t matter what you say, you can’t, and won’t delete your account. Despite all the times you have been filled with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because everyone around you is having way more fun than you, and despite the physical pain of seeing your ex-boyfriend’s new “in a relationship” status, you remain an active Facebook user.
A day in the life of a Facebook user…
You were perfectly happy in your own little world today. You went to work, had a wonderfully productive and inspiring day at the office, had dinner with old friends, and even made some weekend plans that include the perfect amount of art, culture and sociability. This is you living in the moment, enjoying your life day in and day out.
You drive yourself home from dinner in good spirits and bundle up in bed. As your eyes grow tired, you decide to hop on Facebook. You’re scrolling through your newsfeed and doing what everyone does when on this site: making assumptions about people you used to know but were never really friends with. Once you’ve spent a good deal of time searching them, your mind wanders to those whom you used to have a real life connection with but no longer do.
These are the people you know you shouldn’t look at their profile, nor should you look at their friends or family members profiles just to be safe. They are your ex-boy/girlfriends, or ex-loves. They are the people that you no longer love, that you haven’t spoken to in months if not years, and likely for good reasons. Yet still, your emotional self wants to know what they did for Thanksgiving this year, or whose wedding they were invited to that you weren’t. Despite your sensible-side knowing that seeing this information will give you an emotional rush leaving you in pain or longing, your will power to protect your heart is overruled by the easily accessible information.
After a deep breath, you’ve clicked on their name. If it’s not a picture of them with their new significant other, then their status is a quote in which your self-indulgent ego can’t help but wonder (or hope), if they were thinking of you when they wrote it. Your insides do some flips and you might even log off for the night. The problem is, the day will come when your addiction is in full affect, and Facebook feels the need to inform you that your ex-lover is now engaged, or ex-best friend had a baby and you had no clue she was even pregnant.
You’ll sit there staring, angry at the computer. If you had already heard such news from a friend, seeing it happily displayed in front of you with a bunch of “congratulations” messages will be a little easier, but not much. Facebook validates the news. It reaffirms that you really know nothing about this person’s life anymore.
The truth is the only way to be completely free of the emotional stress Facebook causes your life, is to get rid of it altogether. You can de-friend, or block for so long as it’s only a matter of time until you find out some information. Or at least until he/she “pokes” you, causing a tidle-wave to run through your stomach.
In reality, you’re never going to de-activate your account. You secretly want that little bit of knowledge and access into the lives of those you no longer talk to. So either tone down the Facebook stalking or accept that Facebook is just going to hurt your feelings. Ultimately, you too just want to show off how successful, happy and in love you are, likely hurting someone else’s feelings.