Social media is possibly the biggest phenomenon of this era. Its popularity is extraordinary, yet its impact is becoming more and more detrimental to real life relationships. It’s unavoidable and it genuinely is an integral part of every day life, but it’s time to face up to the fact that it will never, ever be our best friend.
If you counted the number of Facebook friends or Instagram followers that you see face-to-face on a regular basis, do you think you’d be shocked by the number? How many of those friends would be there for you when things get tough? How many of them would spend your birthday with you rather than just send you a digital message?
I have 170 friends on Facebook. I used to have over 400. Family aside, I would say that just 18 of those online friends are who I would call true friends.
Social media feels like the place to go when we want to be social and hang out with our friends. Yet it tends to take away the desire to meet face-to-face. It’s what everyone else seems to do though, so we join in. Right?
The thing is, it’s become so much more complicated than that.
We want our digital self to be loved more than our real self. We want our ego to be boosted and our confidence to be lifted by people we don’t know.
We compare ourselves, and our life, to others. We perceive other people’s online happiness as a reason for our unhappiness.
We crave to be understood. In a world that does not understand itself, let alone understand us as human beings.
We long to stand out, just for a moment.
We fear being exposed. We fear judgement. We fear that no one will like the real us. And more than anything, we fear that even we don’t know the real us, so why would we dare to find out.
So we come away feeling deflated, self-conscious and anxious. We allow ourselves to believe that we are not good enough, based on how our social media relationships make us feel.
Social media should be, and is slowly becoming, a place for individuality to shine. For us to let go of fear. To let go of what is expected of us. To express ourselves in our own way.
So how do we cope with the fact that social media will never be our best friend?
We must remind ourselves that it never will be our best friend, which in turn will remind us that our digital relationship should always be secondary. It should be seen as an acquaintance that we enjoy seeing from time to time. Nothing more, nothing less.
If we are able to see it this way, we begin to value our real relationships. We begin to tune in to our inner self. We no longer feel judged or compared on a daily basis and we can begin to release our individuality.
Social media will always be there. It’s only going to grow and challenge us in more ways than we already know. But there’s no reason to fight it, because we are never going to be best friends.
On a good day, social media can inspire us. On a bad day, social media is best avoided.
When we’re having a bad day – and we all have them, we should turn to our real friends instead, because they will always pick us back up.
Social media can’t do that. No matter how hard we try to work at it.
Photo credit: Pixabay