I think I could easily list a hundred reasons why I decided to delete my account. But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll give you my top 5 reasons why I had to cut the cord with Facebook, and why, after 5 years, I’ve never looked back.
5) The incredibly fake identities people created for themselves. I’m not sure why this bugged me. I should have been able to let it go. But it was a huge turn off for me to see friends share heavily-edited photos of themselves, exaggerate about the adventures they were having, and post comments that were completely unlike how they would behave in real life. As much as I told myself it was fake, and not to compare myself to it, it was only a matter of time before I started to feel like crap about myself. Because my life paled in comparison to the unattainable standards I was seeing online.
4) The incessant and blatant attention-seeking behaviour. Specifically, the people, who on a daily basis, posted vague, incomplete sentences such as “Worst day ever…” and “FML…” or “Can’t believe this….” Scrolling through my news feed, I always felt like a bad friend if I didn’t take the bait. So, I would surrender and ask the person what had happened, if they needed help, and offered sympathy. I was almost always given a cop out for an answer (ex. “The story is too long to type”). Which basically lead me to believe that the person didn’t even really *want* to talk about it (or have anything to talk about), but just wanted people to inquire.
3) The exhausting need to be available, and tuned in, 24/7. With the advent of smart phones, it became almost impossible to keep up. I felt the need to be constantly logged in, scrolling, commenting, for fear of missing out, or being scolded. It became increasingly difficult to unplug. If I missed a day or two I felt years behind in the conversation. People would be frustrated with me if I didn’t instantly comment on or like their photos, status, and I would then get texts or emails asking me “did you see on Facebook that…”. I just seriously needed a break. Apparently people felt entitled to not only post photos of what they were eating for breakfast, but felt equally entitled to be pissed off if I didn’t take immediate note of it.
2) The super-unbelievably-petty drama that resulted. I couldn’t keep up with the rules. The best way to demonstrate this is with an example. I friend of mine had made a post (it was good news). Naturally, I wrote a comment and congratulated her. Little did I know, this would lead to a few other friends being bent out of shape. I guess they had only liked the status update, but I had went so far as to comment on it. This allegedly made me look better. So, a third friend of mine decided to trump me by writing the mutual friend a longer, more heartfelt message that would be delivered to her personal inbox. I was advised that this would be “even more thoughtful than ‘just commenting’ on the post”. I swear I felt like my brain was melting. This made zero sense to me. How was I supposed to know that writing a simple congratulations would upset people?! But, at the same time, while I hate to admit it, the more I continued to use Facebook, I started to get sucked into that kind of crap. I found a new thing to agonize over every day: why did so-and-so unfriend me (what did I do wrong?!), why did another person get more birthday wishes than I did, or why did a picture I posted of myself get virtually no likes or feedback. While I promised myself I wouldn’t/shouldn’t care, I just couldn’t stop obsessing.
1) My mental health was suffering. Ultimately, most of what I outlined above lead me to feel anxious, sad, and bloody exhausted most of the time. When I originally said that I was deleting my account, my best friends immediately expressed concern that I would feel worse, and isolate myself.
In reality, I think that using Facebook isolated me in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. There where some friends that would pretty much only interact with me on Facebook. If I asked them how a recent trip went, for example, they would simply tell me “I posted it all on Facebook”, and were apparently not interested in taking the time to tell me a bit more about it, or giving me anything personalized.
As a person with social anxiety, this often suited me just fine. But it was a slippery slope. Sometimes, even though I was craving human interaction, or something a little more intimate than a screen, I still felt incapable of picking up the phone to call someone. Or ask them out for a coffee. It somehow felt weird, and just seemed easier to hide behind my digital shield. It was enabling me, and I needed to stop.
I can confidently say that I am 100 percent happier without Facebook, and I will never, ever go back. I understand that a lot of the stuff I couldn’t cope with is due to my personality. Lots of other people can log in and set boundaries without issue. Sometimes I am envious of that. Because I’m not saying that Facebook is evil, nor do I look condescendingly upon those who use it. There are benefits, and pros, after all. The bottom line is that the cons outweighed the pros for me, and it therefore simply didn’t make sense for me any more.