Have you noticed that the social networking scene can has some startling similarities with junior high school?
It’s true — My friends and I have discussed this, because we have experienced feelings of insecurity and irritation that we haven’t felt since we were in the eighth grade, and it’s, well, unsettling — here are a few of some of the more creepy similarities:
- We tend to question ourselves based on how many friends we have, how we perceive others’ lives to be better than our own. We tend to throw out what we know to be true about human nature and this that no one’s life is perfect, and to compare ourselves with one another is a huge exercise in futility. Why do we do this? I think it’s because many of our “friends” on Facebook are people we don’t see on a regular basis, if we see them at all. So all we really know about their lives is what they choose to post. We don’t see those perfectly coiffed offspring of theirs behaving atrociously, nor do we see them do anything but smile and look blissfully happy. Think about it. No one’s going to take a picture or video of themselves having an argument with their spouse (unless they’re trying to get on the Dr Phil Show). We see our Facebook pals living in a state of perpetual bliss while we struggle with cranky teenagers, kidney stones, hot flashes and a mortgage.
- Remember how we used to try to make our boyfriends/girlfriends jealous by flirting with members of the opposite sex during football games and band concerts? Some couples do just that online in an effort to make their spouses jealous. According to an article published in the New York Daily News, 1/3 of all divorce cases in 2011 named Facebook as a contributing factor in marital demise.
- We overanalyze why some people liked a post or comment we put out there, and others don’t — that sounds like the navel-gazing of a 13 year old, but I confess, I’ve done it. Apparently I’m not alone; a study conducted by the University of Michigan reveals that over time, Facebook use can lead to unhappiness.
I do enjoy Facebook, but I hated junior high. I guess the key is relearning what we already know about ourselves, our insecurities, and our tendency to compare ourselves to others and grow up!