The Facebook Trap

by Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

So there I was staring at my Facebook friend count, it read 250 friends. I had just received a Facebook request and saw this person had 2000 friends. I thought, “What is wrong with me that more people haven’t asked to be my Facebook friend?” If I’m honest it made me feel like I didn’t measure up, that I might not be worthy of more friends. I really should know better as I just completed a book on the topic of the digital invasion. But this experience showed me how our social media diet today is setting us all up for Facebook comparing, contrasting, competing and yes even for depression.

 

The Comparison Trap

We look to Facebook to wrap us in the warm embrace of social connections, as we skim our friends’ pages to make us feel loved, supported and connected. But skimming through photos of friends’ life successes can also trigger feelings of envy, misery and loneliness. Research shows that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site especially if they viewed vacation photos. It showed that Facebook frequenters who spent time on the site without posting their own content were also more likely to feel dissatisfied.

I believe as women none of us are immune to the posts and tweets we read that leave us comparing and contrasting our lives with others. We fall into the comparison trap when we find ourselves judging how well or poorly we believe we are doing based on how we perceive others around us are doing.  We can get pulled into constantly making comparisons, contrasting our own life or our child’s life with others, and in the process our life doesn’t seem to measure up.

 

Facebook Depression Trap

When we read posts about how amazing someone’s husband is or how incredible their children are and see the pictures from their dream vacation to Tahiti this can make us discontent, envious and leave us with a sense of loss. It’s this sense of loss that causes us to feel depressed. Envying others is at the root of what makes us feel depressed on Facebook and all of us have been there and done that at some time.

I find it helpful when the green monster comes over me to remember that all these amazing posts and people’s pics are not an accurate view of someone’s life. That Facebook friend has pain and trials just like I do but they are only showcasing the best images. James 3:14-15 says, But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.

 

Ways To Avoid the Facebook Trap:

·      Practice gratitude. Be thankful for who God has made you and your family to be.

·      Practice contentment. Be content for what you have and don’t let it steal your joy and happiness.

·      Practice a Facebook diet. Don’t spend too much time on Facebook and if it is pulling you down limit your intake or log off.

 

It’s helpful to remind yourself you don’t have 250 Facebook friends you have 250 Facebook contacts and that is a big difference. If you and I had just a handful of real life friends we would be better off. Try making some face-to-face connections today and commit to those relationships being your priority. You are much more interesting than your profile, much more attractive than your pics. So get off Facebook and enjoy real life with someone in person!