Wait, you’re not on Facebook?
April 12, 2012 § 7 Comments
Earlier this week I caught an awesome Biz Ladies/ Design Sponge post on How to Escape the Comparison Trap. Are you prone to the comparison trap? I fall into it all the time. I’m really good at it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read another blog or looked at someone’s event planning business and thought “Why can’t I be like them? I want what they have!” It’s really productive.
Luckily, I’ve gotten a bit better at stopping these thoughts in their tracks. They crop up from time to time, but mostly I’m able to dismiss them quickly, realizing they won’t accomplish anything, and that in reality, I’m very happy with my life. Becka, the girl who wrote the article, shares some great tips for paring down the online clutter in your life to actively keep from falling into the comparison trap. I follow most of her recommendations, but there’s one in particular I’ve really exercised to the maximum. And that would be Facebook.
I’m not on it.
This wasn’t always the case. I joined Facebook during college and stayed on until December 2009. If you had asked me in late 2009 or early 2010 why I got off, I probably would have told you it was because I was studying for the GMAT. This was kind of sort of… ok really, not at all true. I said it anyway though, because I was afraid to be honest with people as to why I got off. But the truth is, the reasons I got off have a lot to do with the comparison issues Becca talks about in the article. Facebook made me constantly compare myself to other people, and because of that, I always felt like I had to “prove” how great and fun my life was on it. If I was posting pictures, it was partially because I wanted to share the pictures with my friends, but also because I wanted it to seem like I had fun! I went out! My life was so great!
Along with the tendency to try and “prove my life,” I also felt like Facebook brought out some of my worst qualities. I can have a bit of a jealous and possessive streak, and by viewing other peoples profiles or seeing other’s activities on Facebook, I would get jealous of people or possessive over weird things that in actuality, I really didn’t care about.
Some people could recognize these tendencies and just decide not to go on Facebook but keep their account. That wasn’t going to work for me. I don’t have that much self control! So I de-activated my account. That’s not as scary as it sounds. Even if you deactivate your account, for a certain amount of time Facebook still keeps all your account info. Still, it was hard. I was very tempted to go back on in the beginning. I remember at one point an old co-worker got engaged, and immediately upon hearing about it I went back on Facebook to check out her photos. But after looking at them I was kind of like, huh, that’s it? So I tried to remember that feeling every single time I was tempted to go back on.
People’s reactions were really funny. Some friends asked me to go back on, though they weren’t the people I was closest with. A lot of people thought it was crazy that I wasn’t on it, they couldn’t imagine how I lived without it. In the beginning I thought about what I was “missing” all the time, but now I hardly ever do. And the funny thing is, it actually made me invest more in my friendships. Now, instead of writing on someone’s wall or commenting on a photo, I send them an email, catch up over the phone, or send a handwritten note around holidays. Yes, it is more of a challenge to remember birthdays (!), but my friends are all pretty understanding. In the beginning it freed up a lot of my time. Now, between my own blog, reading other blogs, and Twitter, I probably spend more time than ever before online. Nonetheless, I think not having Facebook in my life is still beneficial, especially when it comes to comparing myself to other people.
The purpose of this post is by no means to tell you to get off Facebook. I think this was something that, selfishly, I kind of wanted to say for a while. Everyone I know is on Facebook, so I’m definitely in the minority. And the truth is, between my blog and business, I may actually need to get back on Facebook for work purposes in the near future. But for now, I’m good without it and hardly ever think about it.
If you made it through, bravo! I’m so curious, have you thought about getting off Facebook or disconnecting from any social media? Have any good techniques for staying out of the comparison trap? I’d love to hear!