I made some drastic changes at the beginning of the year. Over the holidays, when I realized California was no longer a place I wanted to be, I packed my bags, moved back in with my mom in New Hampshire, found a job, moved to Connecticut, and started new.
Well, everyone knows it’s not forever. Unfortunately, you can deactivate your account, but it’s still there whenever you feel the urge to check it, but it was a step in the right direction.
There were a lot of questions and reactions surrounding my breakup with Facebook. Are you doing it because of your recent breakup? Are you trying to avoid someone? Is it because you’re looking for a job? You’ll be back, right?
No, to all of these.
I actually wanted to get rid of my page years ago, but there were many people fighting against it that I raised my white flag instead.
I did it because I personally felt like I wasn’t going to figure my life out with the distraction of Facebook. It was a place where I constantly compared my life to other people. My page claimed I had around 500 friends, when in reality, I didn’t actually have many friends. At the time, I had around 2-3 friends I constantly spoke to, and still do to this day. While most people would say that’s satisfying, it only goes so far when most of those people live in different parts of the country.
I needed to figure out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, and who I wanted to spend my time with without Facebook and all of its people influencing those decisions. I wanted to be able to do just about anything without everyone knowing about it. I didn’t like the feeling that all eyes were on me, watching my every move and judging my every decision. If I want to pull an all-nighter and walk aimlessly around New York City, I don’t want the entire world to know it, and proceed to ask me questions. In hindsight, I just wanted to be left alone.
It’s been approximately six months since I left Facebook, with only a handful of times I’ve logged on only to grab a picture or two. I’ve noticed some pretty liberating changes since then that I’d like to share with all of you.
1. Meeting and getting to know friends organically.
Since moving to Connecticut, I’ve met a large number of new friends. Back when I had Facebook, I most likely would have become friends with them after meeting them the first time, creeped on their Facebook page, and that’s how I would have gotten to know them.
Oh, I see Amanda went to Ireland a few months ago. She must like to travel.
Brian is constantly confessing his love for Hillary Clinton. He must be into politics.
Our real-life conversations would have been mediocre at best because we would have felt like we already knew each other based on our Facebook page. Without Facebook, I have no outside knowledge about them, therefore I ask them questions and really show that I care, and vice versa.
2. Absolutely no drama.
Everyone deals with stress whether it’s work-related, or family issues, but Facebook stress is a real sucker and is completely unnecessary. Since I left Facebook, I haven’t been wrapped up in an internet argument, or been subtly insulted by some unknowing individual not realizing their statuses affect their “friends”. There wasn’t a day I didn’t get upset about something because of Facebook, but now, it’s one less thing I stress about and that feeling goes a long way.
I logged on the other day to retrieve an old photo to my phone, and the first status that popped up was a complaint about society, or something like it. I instantly felt claustrophobic and wanted to throw my phone against the wall. It’s kind of similar to that parenting method – if you’re anxious and stressed, your child will be too.
3. Reaching out.
When I hear good news through the grapevine, I now have to personally text or call the person to congratulate them. I feel like that makes a difference, even if they don’t say that it does. For instance, a friend of mine from my MFA program recently signed a 3-4 book deal with a publishing house. I don’t talk to him much, at least not since I graduated, but when I found out, I immediately texted him to send my congrats and asked him all about it. It seemed like he really appreciated it, especially since I’m sure many people said similar things to him on his status.
When I heard a friend of mine got engaged, I texted her to ask how he proposed, and I got the full story and all of her gushyness. I would not have gotten that same experience through Facebook. I certainly feel like I’ve become a better friend and person because of this.
4. Focusing on healthy relationships.
I’m no longer wasting my energy on relationships that are actually just acquaintances. I get to share happy events with those who matter the most, and eliminating those who only spoke to me out of convenience from Facebook. There were some people I considered close friends, and I haven’t heard from them in months. At times, it’s upsetting, but then I remind myself that I’m now surrounded by friends who like speaking to me, and put in the effort to spend time with me.
When Mr. Jess and I decided to start dating, it was pretty nice not having the entire world know about it. Not that I was trying to hide him or anything, but we didn’t have the distraction of everyone asking questions or sticking their noses where it didn’t belong. Everyone got to meet me naturally, and vice versa. There had been too many times in the past when a significant other and I changed our relationship status, and then ex-boyfriends and girlfriends fluttered in like a pack of cluster flies, sending messages and throwing things completely out of whack. It kind of puts a damper on the honeymoon stage.
Mr. Jess and I got to focus on each other instead, and it has made all the difference in how we approach our relationship. The real beauty of it was when he texted me the other night saying that he realized he never changed his relationship status and he actually didn’t care at all, and for once, he was just focused on being happy. It made me realize that I’d never had a relationship before that wasn’t announced to everyone through some form of social media. I guess that’s growing up millennial.
Facebook has way too much of our past – where we’ve been, who we’ve interacted with, what we’ve said and done. I don’t miss one thing about Facebook. It was the best decision I ever made.
Have you ever thought about leaving it? If so, why? Tell me your thoughts on the matter! It seems as though the Facebook walls are slowly crashing down.