How to lose friends and influence people.

Facebook is a constantly running, ticker tape of stuff that varies in use.  A friend told me months ago that it’s a ‘necessary evil’ in the modern world because of the connectivity it allows and the effortless way it keeps you ‘in touch’ with others.

About 6 weeks ago I binned it after about 7 years of using it pretty much daily.  I had decided that it was not for me.  I was struggling with depression and kind of reckoned that when the bile rises when I see someone presenting a fake angle of themselves on FB that I could do without the negativity.  I’m not so much blaming others, its an odd concept though how people communicate on FB.

You get the ‘boast posts’ with people saying what they’ve bought.  Now, really, what went before FB on this front? Did people put their most recent expensive jeans / shoes / coats in their front window with a clipboard on the outside of the glass with instructions to others to add a tick if they ‘like’ it? Or is it about materialism…the ‘I am considerably richer than yaw’ mentality? I really just don’t get this sort of post ; may as well say ‘i’m insecure but obviously my latest expensive shoes show i’m a success’.  Weird as a lemonade sandwich.  If my own kids ever decide to post something they’ve just bought in a gauche ‘look at meeeee’ post I promise, they’ll be moving out.

There’s the ‘banter’ posts.  Now this I miss.  For naturally sarcastic people it’s like a firing range – just aim and fire off a comment that pokes fun at something or someone and it’s good for a giggle.

There’s the ‘i’m at x’ posts, checking in from wherever.  I’ve seen check ins from shops, gyms, America, Australia and everywhere in-between.  I’ve checked in from landmarks, from coffee shops and trains.  Odd isn’t it though….in the past we used to send postcards when we’d been somewhere interesting but now…now the arrival of the postcard is usurped by you thumb scrolling past the fact that i’m in somewhere dead interesting.

There’s the ‘feeling’ thing on FB.  The ‘little bob is feeling…upset’.  Then the next person says ‘oh are you ok’ and little bob doesn’t reply. Repeat x 10 on your timeline most weeks.  Before FB did we walk into the pub with a sign in our hands saying ‘i’m feeling excited to be out with (tagged friend) and (tagged friend)’ before checking in at the Cock and Bull before we even got a drink?

There’s the ‘Little Bob has invited you to play jelly swap’ or some such crap.  On receiving a message like this there should be an option to click that euthanises Little Bob instantly. If life gets so bad that I wait for an invite to play a game on a computer then i’ll be joining him.

There’s pictures.  My god are there pictures.  ‘Jane has just posted 47 pictures of her night in the pub’.  AND YOU CLICK ON IT.  And it’s Jane. In the pub.  And her friends who you don’t know. In the pub.  I love to see a pic, or 2 or maybe 3 of people I know but I can only imagine the horror that 47 pics of me would inflict.

So, FB and me are divorced.  You’d think bearing in mind my views that it’d be a happy separation? Not especially.

I used to post a fair bit on FB about my kids, about news, about how I was feeling sometimes but no more.  In the 6 weeks i’ve been off i’ve found out I face redundancy, I’ve questioned whether life is worth living aside from my immediate family and i’ve come close to throwing it all in.  Would the support on FB have helped? Probably not cos people say things like ‘chin up’ and ‘it’ll work out’ and ‘thinking of you’ and it’s all wallpaper to the reality that life’s pretty shitty at times.  Had you spoken to them in person they would say more than ‘thinking of you’ wouldn’t they but how FB makes us communicate is that we can feel like we’ve done something positive by a click or a vacuous statement.  I’ve heard people say ‘I click ‘like’ on their posts because I feel I have to’ and it’s that sort of thing.  I have found myself saying ‘hope all is well’ when someone has just posted that they’ve got an elderly relative in hospital who will probably die imminently.  ‘Hope all is well’??? It’s like the most non committal comment that makes me feel i’ve connected by writing it, and feel better.  What does the recipient really feel? Hopefully a bit supported but it’s nothing really is it.  If I cared i’d call, or text or do something that shows a little more empathy.  FB is not for compassion.

In 6 weeks there’s some mates who I thought i’d keep in touch with through old fashioned means like text or email or phone, but we haven’t.  It’s selfish to say that the isolation that comes from depression means that you need people to reach out but it’s unfortunately true.  At times I can’t be arsed with people who I probably should be arsed with ; friends but people I think a lot of but who fall under the fog of the negativity of the depression sometimes.  Some people have made so little effort that it shows that the FB link up was less than superficial to them – and with those people I know i’ve made the right decision moving off line.   It really redefines friendships – FB takes away that ‘who makes the first move to stay in touch’ thing but once you’re off it then it all lies on me.  And the thing with depression sometimes is that I think others don’t care so why would I bother to contact them.

The other thing you miss out on is ‘news’.  Announcements, alerts, opportunities, and so on – FB is a conduit for a lot of ‘stuff’ in your networks and you miss out, simple as.  Can I live with that? Well what you don’t know, you don’t know…

I really don’t know whether I’ll ever return to FB.  I miss some of the positives ; I have mates in Australia and America that I will lose contact with and family members who i’ll never hear from for years probably but on balance at the moment it’s not a good place for me to spend time….I hope they understand.

One thought on “How to lose friends and influence people.

  1. My husband gave up work 9 years ago when Amélie was born profoundly disabled (we have 4 children) your post is very honest and worrying.

    Honest because men don’t usually open up and share feelings or depression. And let’s face it there is no support for long term carers, we like you, are seen as “coping” and services presume all is well.

    I worry about my husband and his role now, he has gone from friends colleagues and socialising to nothing and I think that’s very isolating.

    We both openly worry about Amélie as we are middle aged (47 and 50). What if? And who will care for her like we do when we are gone ?

    I have no words of wisdom or advice, CBT for me was ok but it isn’t a cure for the 24/7 nursing life we know lead. It was about raising my self awareness and improving my confidence and self worth.

    Sharing and communicating wider is a method of release, that’s why I use social media and learn from others posts like yourself.

    Stay strong keep communicating, strangers like myself care about such honest and open posts, it’s a different life for each of us with complex needs children… It’s a very hard journey often exhausting mentally and physically
    Regards, Lesley

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