Liking something. Deleting somebody. Blocking, posting, commenting, and tagging are all terms that a lot of us have first hand knowledge of in this social media world. Facebook is a giant that allows us to find friends, companies we like, news, and anything else you can think of. But it also makes people like me feel socially awkward and insecure. That was until I decided I didn’t need what Facebook could give or take away at a moment’s notice: Validation.
Facebook will help you find friends that you currently have in your life or even ones you haven’t seen in 20+ years. You can send “friend” requests to these people. On the flip side you can “delete” somebody. This person may have slighted you out in the real world or even wrote a biting comment about you on their page. I can like a friend’s post and they can like mine. Commenting on somebody’s status lets them know that you celebrate with them or feel their pain. Posting on a friend’s page lets them know that you are thinking about them. We can post cryptic statuses to provoke your friends into asking, “Are you okay?” “I’m here if you need me.”
I have friends, family, and acquaintances as part of my Facebook account. A lot of them I see outside of Facebook. But I also have a number of them that I haven’t seen in a few years even though they live less than an hour away. I think Facebook is making me lazy with my relationships. Rather than calling a friend or even making plans with them, I send them a Facebook message.
I don’t think Facebook is entirely the devil. I have found friends that I have thought about over the years and missed. I have renewed these relationships and feel that my life is the better for it. I have also made online friends that live in other states that I would have never met otherwise. But I have also “blocked” people to make a symbolic statement about their place in my life. Out of sight, out of mind.
I had an epiphany, “AHA!”, light bulb moment last week when I went to post a status. I asked myself, “Why am I really posting this?” Am I doing the humble brag (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)? So my friends and family can comment and tell me how awesome what it is I posted about? Why do I need this validation? And should I be upset at those who don’t give it to me? And I knew I didn’t. Because I am enough. Friends and family aren’t in my life to be my 24/7 cheerleaders. They are so much more than that. I don’t need Facebook to prove that to me. Facebook discourages me from reaching out to friends and family as opposed to me actually making an effort to see them in person.
I am not going to close my Facebook account. I like to see what’s going on in others’ lives and find out promotions from companies that I shop at. But I know now that my self worth doesn’t depend on how many likes I get for the day.