Have you logged onto Facebook and felt a twinge of jealousy? Or what about feeling like a failure when your stream is full of everyone else’s good news? Does it feel the whole world feels like it’s doing much better than you?
Join the club.
Facebook is a constant reminder of what we should have, where we should be heading. Even the annoying suggested app is telling us what we should like. We can’t help but pitch ourselves against each other. It’s more personal because these are the people you know, you’ve grown up with, your peers. It’s tangible. This is real life – not a piece of aspirational telly about some stranger doing better than you.
I wrote about turning 30 a few weeks ago and how it’s put the pressure on to have all the adult trappings such as a house, marriage and kids. I think Rachel from Friends nails it on the head when she says: ‘Look, y’know I know my life’s going pretty well, but I look around and I just see so many people who’ve accomplished so many other goals by the time they’re thirty.’
Comparing ourselves to each other isn’t a new thing, but I think Facebook has added to the pressure. Here in the UK, 23% of us admit to checking Facebook five times or more every day. It’s hard not to judge yourself against everybody else when we’re constantly checking Facebook and seeing what everyone else is doing. It’s even harder to avoid temptation now that our phones have become mini computers and we become an ever more connected society.
It’s easy to say ‘don’t log onto Facebook if it makes you feel that way’, but it’s a modern way to keep in touch. It’s easy and convenient – other than for work, are you more likely to email or Facebook your mates? My hunch is you’ll Facebook someone. You’ll probably get a faster response anyway. Why? Because it’s harder to ignore a message on Facebook than email, especially when they can see that you’ve read their message (thanks a lot Facebook ‘I’ve seen your message’ tick).
But we need to remember the feed is made up of news that your friends want to you know. Facebook serves to highlight someone’s life – it’s not all of their life. Like my mum says, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
So the next time you’re tempted to compare yourself to the whole universe according to your Facebook world, ask yourself why you’re letting it make you feel like crap then go and do something nice for yourself.