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.