In this day and age we are so readily and easily contactable through the instantaneous accessibility of social media.
Having studied communications, this is something I have conflicted feelings about. While I agree that platforms such as Facebook are a fantastic tool for the utilization of brand marketing and business, I also believe that it has caused us to become lazy within our relationships, those that are mere friendships and those that are more intimate.
Following the break up in April, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account and I am still yet to reactivate it. While I do have Instagram and Snapchat, there was something about Facebook specifically that needed to be eradicated from my life at that point in time.
All my fellow sistahs out there are lying if they’ve ever told you that they’ve never done a good ‘investigation’ aka – ‘stalk sesh’ on the big F. We stalk potential partners, we stalk our potential partners exes, we stalk our current partners profile, their exes and their friends. We even stalk our own profiles, ensuring that each post on our wall is meticulously handcrafted with wit, humor and ‘cool factor’ to maximize as many likes as we possibly can. We now live in a society where constant comparison of ourselves to those around us is inevitable. How sad it is that we blindly believe each post that pops up on our news feeds? We don’t post the tumultuous aspects of our lives. You don’t want everybody knowing you’re having a shitty week, or that you had a massive fight with your boyfriend the night before. No – you’d rather everyone know about the one time he took you to dinner at the Meat and Wine Co and the beautiful Tiffany and Co infinity necklace he bought you for your anniversary.
I can say I have been guilty of this behaviour and it is only now, that I have been off Facebook for 7 months, I have realised the immense amount of stress and negative feelings it can cause.
I mean think about it, how draining is it constantly checking up on those who were previously in our lives? How sad do we feel when we see them moving on and happy without us? We constantly torture ourselves by checking in on the updates of their lives, yet we find it so difficult to switch off and block it out.
While I was in Europe my ex unfollowed me on Instagram, as did his friends. Sure, I expected this to happen sooner or later, but when it finally did, I couldn’t help but break down in tears. Despite being half way across the world, about to embark on new exciting adventures, this small action still caused me so much grief. Why? Well, it finally hit home that this relationship was actually done. That chapter of my life was definitely over, and I had to put aside my denial and turn over a new page.
I know this may sound sad to some, but for me, I don’t turn off genuine emotion that easy. When I love, I love wholeheartedly so a small action like this has the ability to greatly effect me.
I couldn’t bring myself to unfollow him while on my trip. It wasn’t until I returned to work a dear colleague of mine took me for lunch. He refused to start the car and head back to the office until I unfollowed him. As I sat in the front seat of his car my eyes began to well up. See, my colleague knew that I was ready for this long before I did. I was so entrenched in holding on to the only thing I had left, I didn’t think I was ready to do it. But I was, and I did. Of course, it wasn’t easy. I had a good cry and was treated to some ice cream to ease the pain. But in doing so I finally closed this door behind me, and opened another to allow for new opportunities to make their way through.
As I write this post while sitting on the train, I look around me and I can safely say that 90 per cent of people on this carriage have their noses buried within their phones. Don’t worry, I’m not about to embark on an anti-Facebook crusade, my only wish is that you are all aware of the behaviors and fake sense of self we tend to portray on social media. If you are in a relationship right now, don’t get angry or jealous by comparing yourself to other couples you see on Facebook. That negative energy will only cause detriment to your own relationship. Take the leap and switch off, it takes great self control but even if you only do it for a week or two, the benefits are apparent and you’ll notice a difference.
As the saying goes – ignorance is bliss.