So, we all know that Facebook is the voyeur of this decade. We can turn on our digital devices and look into other people’s lives without them really knowing. The problem? The stuff that we view on Facebook is heavily edited and weighted towards perfection. This can lead to Facebook burnout.
You see a post with a beautiful four-course home-cooked meal:
My family hasn’t had a home-cooked meal like all year!
You see the vacation your friend recently went on…for the third time this year.
We couldn’t afford to go on vacation this year…
You see the beautiful pictures they post of their children.
How come my kids never keep their hair combed in a picture?
You see the post on the perfect birthday. The party, the dinner, the presents, the friends.
And on and on…
And, the comparison and self-esteem depletion goes on and on.
Some may say that if someone struggles with Facebook, then it is their own insecurity. It is their own problem. There is some truth to that, but honestly, these are our friends we are talking about. We all have imperfections and insecurities. We can all show a little more kindness and empathy online.
I believe Facebook is supposed to be a social network, which means, a place to get to know one another and keep in contact, not a place to compete, feel depleted and insecure. So, here are a few tips to be more Facebook Friendly and prevent Facebook burnout:
1. Be Friendly First
Humans want to connect, but they really want to know this one thing first:
Are you interested in getting to know me?
If someone feels that you are truly interested in them, then they are more likely to be friendly. So, if you truly want to connect with others on Facebook, do this one thing:
Be a real friend.
Don’t just post stuff about yourself. Like and comment on other people’s updates. Wish them a happy birthday. Congratulate them on their accomplishments. Show interest. And, don’t just do it on Facebook. Be a friend in real life. You know: face-to-face. Facebook does not make up for real-life interaction. If you are lucky enough to see a Facebook friend at the store, be sure to say hello.
2. Post family friendly stuff.
I like to see updates. I like to see pictures. I love the funny videos and silly tests, but I also think it is important to be family friendly. I can’t tell you how often my little ones will crawl up on my lap when I am checking Facebook.
Sadly, I have learned there are some videos that I won’t click on because I have experienced the panicked: Where is the BACK button??? while watching a video with a little one in my lap.
I really don’t want to explain what that four-letter-word means to my five-year-old. If you are going to post something less family friendly, put a warning in your post.
3. Give the benefit of the doubt.
If you have a complaint about someone’s post, my best advice is this: give them the benefit of the doubt. It is like trying to communicate emotionally through a text message; there is so much context that is lost online. You cannot hear a tone of voice. You cannot see and interpret body language. Don’t be too quick to jump to judgment, and certainly don’t jump on the bandwagon of contention.
Now, there are some places and some Facebook pages where disagreement and being argumentative is encouraged, and if you visit there and understand the rules, then by all means, do your worst.
But, in general, people like to be liked. They want to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Practice giving it. You will become a bigger person for doing so.
4. Please, please, please…
Don’t correct someone’s grammar on Facebook.
Maybe this is my pet peeve. But, most people do not correct another’s grammar in person, so why do we think it is o.k. to do it on Facebook, where anyone and everyone can see and laugh into their computer screens?
I love to see words correctly used and spelled as much as anyone, but why do we have to point it out publicly?
It is just not nice, people. We all make mistakes. We all type too quickly or misremember how to spell a word. Give us a little leeway — please!
5. Remember, there is this thing called Perfection Distortion.
Facebook posts are only a fraction of what happens in other’s lives. We only see a small part of their very real life. Don’t compare yourself. Remind yourself that it isn’t all real. It isn’t all perfect, and that you are only viewing a part of the picture.
It is so easy to judge and compare when you only see a portion. It is like those perfect Christmas letters that we used to get, only we get them every day, updated regularly. You only see the good stuff. Nobody really tells you when their kid got busted for drugs, their dinner burned for the third night that week, or that they just had a miscarriage. Even though they posted great pictures of that perfect birthday where they went out to eat, had family over and got great gifts, they omitted that they yelled at the kids and cried themselves to sleep.
Remember that we look through only a portion of the window when we are on Facebook. It’s not the entire picture.
Let’s avoid Perfection Distortion.
6. If you really want to be nice and be real on Facebook…
Take a break.
Let it be.
Don’t check it for a day…or at least for several hours.
When you take a break from something, then go back again, you can see it with fresh eyes. Look at what “image” you are presenting. Are you Perfect Patty? Are you Gloomy Glen? Are you Feel-Bad-For-Me Fran? Are you Superior Sarah? Are you reaching out and being a real friend?
Are you interested in others?
Take a break and then view yourself from the outside. What are you presenting?
So, how do you feel about Facebook? Any tips to share?
Leave a comment below.
And, if you really liked this article, share it!! I always love it when you share!
Have a beautiful day! And, be sure to say hi to me on Facebook!