I haven’t completely “quit” Facebook. Let’s just throw that out there. However, I very RARELY scroll through my personal news-feed, and if I do, it’s just the first top 5 posts that I look at, or a post that someone else has asked me to look at. Once a week I will visit my favorite farm and homesteading groups and pages. I do post a status or cute photo every now and then if I feel like it’s worthy enough. That’s it.
My husband and I share a Facebook account. At the beginning of 2015, Facebook banned us from posting because we had a “shared name” as our account name (MarkandAmy). After that whole fiasco got sorted out, the account was now only under my husbands name. This wasn’t such a huge thing — after all, I had decided not to spend a lot of time on Facebook anymore anyhow (about 4 months prior). But this really started the journey for me — a lot less Facebook, and a lot more real life.
What an incredible adventure it has been. It has been liberating and eye-opening, to say the least.
Here’s what I have learned after “quitting” Facebook:
1. The people who were my “friends”, aren’t actually my friends.
Mind blowing, I know. I always knew this, I think we all do, but there’s something humbling about coming to the very real realization that your “support group” online — the ones who cheer you on in the comments section and who attack others if they attack you…the 150 people who tell you happy birthday because Facebook told them it’s your birthday — they aren’t really your friends. In fact, they don’t even know you, at all. They know the Facebook you, but that’s it. They wouldn’t even know it was your birthday if Facebook didn’t tell them.
Since having a combined Facebook account with my husband, my birthday has never been on there. One year I remember specifically watching friends wish other friends these extravagant birthday wishes, but when it got to my day, there was nothing. And there was normally not a single birthday wish (even from close friends) on my page until my sister would post something, and then everyone else would see it and jump on board. This year, it was a cousin that posted something first, and then everyone else jumped in. Amazing, isn’t it?
The best part, however, is that my true friends….yeah….they sent me a text message, because they knew I wouldn’t be online much during the day. Honestly, it was so much more personable and needed.
Long story short, only about 5 people out of 350 “friends” on my friends list have kept in touch with me through email, text, or phone calls. Mind numbing, isn’t it? In this world of social media, we have all become faceless friends. We say things that sound good, but that we never mean. I even had people say “I’m going to miss seeing you post everyday! Come back soon!”, and I thought to myself, if you are going to miss me so much why don’t you keep in touch? But the ones that really matter are the ones who realized I was “gone”, and that I was important enough to stay in their lives….even without a Facebook page.
2. I am less stressed.
…a lot less stressed. I often found myself scrolling through my news-feed and watching people argue and bicker about stupid things. Or they would post 100 photos of themselves every week. Hello, we haven’t forgotten what you look like! I am a people fixer. I like helping and fixing things that need fixing. But I realized it stressed me out more than helped people *DUH!*. Politics, religious beliefs (or lack thereof), media, 20,000 complaints a day….all that negativity is gone. And therefore, most of the negativity in my own mind has ceased.
3. I’ve learned a lot about other people.
When you sit back and watch people and how they act and interact with others on Facebook, you begin to see who they truly are. I have learned a lot by “people watching”, and some of the people who I used to really enjoy are actually not people I enjoy now. When you aren’t submerged in something or their situations on a daily basis, and you really sit back and pay attention, you’ll begin to realize people for who they truly are.
4. I care less, and yet I care more.
I could really care less about point #1. Once upon a time, it would have really hurt my heart, but apparently I’ve grown into my adult heart at some point in my life. The fact is, I have far better things in my life to worry about, and these little facts caused me to realize that they aren’t important. Those things, those people, they are amazing and I love them and cherish what little friendship we did have, but it’s not important to me anymore. I don’t need to feel validated by someone sticking up for me online. I don’t need to feel loved by other people, therefore posting selfies of myself constantly. I have a husband that loves me the way I am, he’s the only one who cares what my face looks like everyday. And honestly, he’s the only one I want seeing every single detail of my life everyday.
But more importantly, I can love people from where I am. I can be more intimately involved in other peoples lives by not putting my life out there for others to see on social media. I can care for people — I can be the hands and feet of Christ and care and love more without Facebook….because I don’t need 350 people knowing what good I’ve done for others.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4
5. People are more dependent on social media than I am.
There have been at least 35 times in the past 6 months when people have gotten offended because I haven’t asked how “so and so” is doing, or I haven’t given my sympathies to someone in public. How am I supposed to know someone has passed away, had a new baby, is ill, or had some life changing incident if I’m not on Facebook? This was something that concerned me in the beginning, but not now. Someone recently asked me if I “saw” something on Facebook, blah blah blah. I finally turned around and said, “you know what, if it were that important for me to know about it, they clearly would have called or texted me”.
My life is not dependent upon Facebook, and therefore I’ve become the bad person simply because I’m “supposed” to keep up with every good time and bad time that someone has. No, I’m sorry, that’s your problem, not mine. If you have something important going on in your life that you want me to know about — tell ME….
6. I don’t feel “left out”.
….this goes along with #5. I actually feel privileged that I don’t have the weight of over sensitized knowledge. I don’t feel left out when someone invites me to something and I don’t see the Facebook invite. What happened to paper invites? I don’t feel left out when I see a friend posting photos with other friends…because I now know where I stand in their lives, and it’s not all about me. But most of all, I don’t feel left out when someone texts me something that says, “thank you for being you”….because I know those friendships matter most.
I don’t compare — my house, my homestead, my body, my life. And therefore, I know that others also cannot compare their lives to mine either. Wow, how nice it is to know that I am simply living my life…without worry of comparing or being compared by others.
7. I have a lot more free time.
You truly don’t realize how much time you spend on Facebook until you quit it. Even if you don’t comment or post things, scrolling through your news-feed can waste an hour of your time very quickly. I have really been able to focus on house work, relationships, work, homeschool, homesteading, and losing weight a lot easier now that Facebook is almost completely out of my life.
8. I am a happier person.
And therefore, my household is happier. Less stress. Less comparison. Less feeling ‘left out’. Less worry. Less pain. Less anger. Less stress. Less annoyances. Less distraction. It has all turned into happiness….because there is now far less of the other junk!
9. I feel more compelled to love others right where they are.
This has been a really huge ordeal for me. I mean, probably one of the biggest outcomes of leaving Facebook. I feel more compelled to love others when I don’t know every single detail of their lives. We do it to ourselves. We put all of our info out there — people see us at our best and at our worst. And that makes it extremely hard to love someone when you know every detail of their lives. It’s hard enough to love your spouse and family unconditionally — it weighs a heart down ten times more when there are 300 other people to love unconditionally. You’re bound to fail…multiple times….very quickly and very ugly. If you think you’ve mastered this, I assure you, you are deceived.
…and last but not least…
10. Real life is the good life.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to sit down and not worry about something stupid I might have said online, or having to check my phone every 10 mins to see the latest gossip, or worrying about the over-exaggerated news that pops up.
I get to live real life without taking a photo of it to share with the world. I get to make real memories for us, not for everyone else. I get to celebrate what I love and support, not what I dislike and find annoying. I get to sit down in the evenings and not even think about checking into my news-feed.
I get to live real life without outside influence from others, judging ‘glares’, or fear of offending someone. And let me tell you, that is the good life.
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