Despite dire warnings of my demise if I did so, I deleted Facebook

When I Googled how to delete my personal Facebook account permanently, many sites warned me how much I would regret it, but this weekend I finally pulled the plug on Facebook. In other words, I deleted my entire account (gasp!) and plummeted myself back into the dark ages. If you’re reading this on Facebook, it’s because I set up an account in another name and also added my husband as an administrator of my page so I can still share my blog posts but not operate a personal Facebook page.

Here is what one site said when I looked up the directions to delete my account: “Deleting your Facebook account is a serious decision, so make sure it’s something you really want to do. Whether you like it or not, social media is ingrained in society, and your Facebook profile can affect friendships, job prospects, and social opportunities. Remember that there are also ways to secure your Facebook privacy settings., if that’s your particular concern.”

The site really sounded like a Facebook propaganda site. They certainly wanted to be sure you knew how much your life is going to suck without Facebook. Still, there were other sites that encouraged me to pull the plug. One of them featured an article by a working professional photographer who deleted all his social media accounts to increase his creativity. He had been warned the move would sink his business financially but instead his business increased because he was actually networking the old fashioned way – in person and by handing out business cards.

One of the only things I will miss about Facebook is being able to harass my dad online and share photos with friends, but, to be honest, most of those friends stopped talking to me a long time ago, and maybe because social media has made us much less interested in actually interacting with people. Or maybe my friends stopped talking to me simply because I’m annoying. Whatever the reason, I don’t actually have any friends I talk to regularly anymore. I noticed a couple of them also started talking to me less when I wasn’t on social media as much as I used to be. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess?

The thing is, the idea behind Facebook is to keep people in touch with each other. Instead, I now have less friends than I did when I hopped on the site ten years ago. I have also lost friends because of Facebook. Those friends either didn’t appreciate my political or religious beliefs and told me so (in comments or messenger because, hello! No one actually talks on the phone or in-person anymore), got annoyed at something I said or did online (who knows, they just stopped talking to me), or I suppose thought anything they needed to know about me they could read in my wall and didn’t need to actually talk to me.

One relationship ended because of this blog after someone in my life actually read one of my posts (very rare), took offense to it and told everyone else about it and completely misrepresented what the post was about. And where did they see about the blog post? You know where. Otherwise, they never would have bothered to read my blog.

Only a couple of my friends from college speak to me. I can’t even recall the last time one of them spoke to me without me making contact first. Only one friend from high school now speaks to me, once in a while, and she doesn’t as often because she and her husband recently started their own business (and they’re really good at it and busy, which is awesome!).

I realize the two above paragraphs sound like whining and I don’t mean it to be. If you could hear my tone, you could hear that I am more of the mindset of “it’s simply the way it is”, instead of a lament. These are simply the realizations I came to while trying to argue with God that I still need Facebook. When these thoughts came to mind I felt almost as if I was being reminded that communication by writing really hasn’t strengthened any of the relationships I have had. If anything it has destroyed almost all of them.

I spend almost every day alone with my kids. My phone doesn’t ding alerts at me to tell me a friend is asking me how I am. That’s because no friends ask me how I am. Not exaggerating. No friends. They say how much they appreciate it when I ask them how they are but the concern about them is never reciprocated to me.

There is something, apparently, very unlikable about me. I’m not invited to events, parties or concerts or their church gatherings. I’m not often wished a happy – well, anything.

I’ve had people say “well, it works both ways” and the thing is, I have reached out to friends, only to have been ignored or brushed aside pretty fast. There are only so many times a person can hear “we should get together someday” before they realize someday is code for “never.” My sister-in-law (husband’s sister) said that once almost ten months ago. She hasn’t talked to me since. She lives a mile from our house. See what I mean about “someday?”

One of the friends that said this to me had kids who were about three at the time. The oldest is now going into her junior or senior year of high school. We’ve never got together, not just us or our families with our kids. They live about ten miles from me. What does that tell you about “someday?”

All this is to say this: leaving Facebook really won’t affect me that much. While it did help me to pretend that I’m not as alone in life as I really am, the family and friends I once talked to on there no longer speak to me. What’s left are fear-mongering articles about a variety of issues and twenty thousand screaming political rants. My nerves need the break and I’m looking forward to it – even if it does mean feeling the crush of loneliness even more.

I read a recent article by someone who quit Facebook because it was making him feel lonely. He said his friends felt they were being real friends by liking and commenting but that they rarely saw him in person.

“They (my friends) had stopped doing these things because they truly believed they were playing their part in maintaining our friendship by “liking” a post, commenting on a post, tagging me in a post or worst of all just lurking around my posts knowing what I was doing but not even interacting with the posts. My “friends” believed they were still being good friends. That made me feel lonely. I longed for true human connection with these friends. I wanted authenticity. I wanted honesty. I wanted true friends, warts and all, bricks and mortar.”

His last paragraph is what I’ll leave you with because it is along the same lines of what I’ve been thinking and feeling. And it’s why I’m hoping I can find some real, lasting friendships in the future.

Nat Duncan writes:

“It may be morbid, but lately I’ve been imagining my funeral. A simple coffin (empty because I’ve left my body to science) with my friends all gathered around it, dressed in black, all holding a single red rose, and tearfully saying “I only just yesterday liked one of her posts” “oh I haven’t seen her in two years but I loved her Facebook rants” “I will miss commenting on her posts” “I met another Facebook friend through her” “I didn’t even know she was sick, I just saw she was still on Facebook” The curtain closes – and they all update their Facebook status (not to the intensity of Bowie’s passing but with some poignancy) to ensure their “friends” know that they are here, with me, being real friends.” – source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

Written by Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, photographer and former journalist, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She self-published her first novel, A Story to Tell, in September 2019 on Amazon. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

10 comments

  1. I seriously want to delete mine, but it’s the only way I hear from family, which is sad. We have a family group on FB and it’s where people post what’s going on and when reunions are. I rarely ever post anything any more except for my blog posts on my blog page. It’s so irritating and pointless. I wish Yahoo groups would make a comeback. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our family never talked to us on fb either so it doesn’t really affect me either way. I set up a ghost account for my blog page and to talk to ladies in a group I’m in for perimenopause 🙄 ugh… I’m so old.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you! You already know I don’t personally have a Facebook account (my husband does and I look over his shoulder, lol) and really, I don’t miss not having one! I did have one a long time ago, but Have Not Missed not having one. My one friend from high school that I still talk to emails me every couple of months. Other “friends” that we have made in adulthood (and 99.9% on Facebook) are…complicated. We gave and gave and never got anything back. We checked in, said Happy this, Happy that, how are you, etc. etc. But, when it comes down to it, if people don’t want to talk or “hang out” with you, then they aren’t really friends and aren’t worth your time and energy. Harsh? Maybe, i don’t mean for it to sound that way, but we gave too much of ourselves without getting anything back and so pulled back from the friendships. We are happy with that. We are happy the way we are. If we meet some friends in the future, then we will attempt to form a friendship. If not, then that’s the way God wants it to be 🙂 Life can be lonely sometimes, but you have to be true to yourself. I don’t think you are annoying or unlikable (I’m pretty sure you were just making a point but still!) and honestly, I think you just need to meet people who actually get you. People who like and appreciate the real you!! I think we would be friends in “real life”. It might take me some time to actually feel comfortable (major introvert over here!) but I really do think we would 🙂 God Bless!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the thing: I got tired of always being the one to make contact or ask about getting together. I was there when friends needed this or that, or to watch their kids when they went to see other friends (yes, that happened more than once), but when I would ask for similar help? They were suddenly too busy or out of town. One friend said to me, after I explained that our friendship felt one sided: “You’re one of the three people I think of daily.” I had no idea what to say to that. She thought of me? But never contacted me? Um…thank you? I guess. I have spent the most lonely year and a half of my life but at least someone thought of me – once or twice. Another “friend” said “I pray for you daily…” but again – does not contact me, ask how I am and actually talked about me behind my back instead. I wanted to tell her I pray for her too, but for different reasons. I know that all this time will eventually lead me to some clear and wise understanding of myself or some such garbage 😛 but for now it, quite frankly, sucks, and has opened my eyes to how I hope I don’t treat people in the future. I know one thing – I won’t be as willing to put myself out there or reach out to people. I’ve learned from many, many friends that are now “former friends” that I’m just not someone people want to be around or care about. It’s just the way it is and I’ve tried changing so many things that I started to not know who I was anymore – so no more changing to try to make them all happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. And like when someone posts something and someone who reads it dosin’t agree with it. They will get offended and block you. And then next time you meet they won’t even talk to you because there offended. Its so stupid just because you don’t agree on something you have to completly shut them out of there lives. Facebook ruins friendships.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. exactly, because if you actually talked in person you’d probably realize you agree on more than you realize and if you still don’t agree, at least you talked it out face to face where expressions can be seen and tones heard.

        Liked by 1 person

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