I gave up Facebook, and it wasn’t even a New Years Resolution. I did it because I WANTED to, at least, I THOUGHT I wanted to.
After many futile months of trying to gradually spend less time “plugged in,” I couldn’t deal with the temptation anymore. Not to mention the very addiction-like feeling of guilt after failing to quit. Then when my husband came to me and asked me to change his facebook password, I asked him to do the same for me. Cold turkey is the way to go, let me tell you.
I didn’t realize how addicted I was but, after the first few days I started feeling frustrated. I doubted my reasoning for giving it up, thinking “it’s not really THAT big of a deal.” What was happening was that I was angry that I didn’t have a distraction anymore. Something to kill time at the doctors office, or taking a break on the couch while my son played on the living room floor. Something to do in the car while my husband drove us to a restaurant. Something to do while waiting to get our seat at the restaurant. Something to help me fall asleep and something to help me wake up in the morning.
While there have been some good things to come out of facebook for me (like talking to people from college I didn’t really ever talk to until we all became moms), most of the time it was just mindless scrolling with a few likes and comments tossed in for fun. And worse – it was that feeling of acceptance and confidence when something I posted received likes and comments.
It hasn’t even been two weeks without it and I’ve already noticed a change in my perspective. I depended on facebook to keep me entertained, and occupied, while complaining that I was too busy to accomplish my goals. Not having facebook I have already knocked out a huge list of things that have been sitting around waiting on me to have time for them. I have spent a lot more time playing with my son, who was also waiting for me to have time for him. I’ve sent more texts and made more phone calls to people – not to comment on a photo of their cute kids, or vacation photos, but to ask how they are doing. My husband is traveling this week for work and we spent an hour talking on the phone one night, something we haven’t done since we were dating..
I didn’t think I was addicted to facebook, but now that I don’t have it, I’m already questioning why I was so hooked. Trading facebook for actual face-to-face time with people has been awesome because the internet can never replace the value of real, personal relationships. Digital photos may have replaced film, and emails and texts may have replaces phone calls or handwritten letters – but they can’t match their value. Getting actual mail is always more exciting and personal than getting a text. It means something to know that person valued you enough to spend the time to write or call, so much more than a comment on facebook ever could.
Photos and words on a screen cannot compare to being there in person. Likes and comments can never replace the supporting hug of a friend, or a surprise visit when you need it most – even if your house is a mess. It’s the value of a real, raw relationship that we need most, even though we can sometimes fill that need with the false version. It can be scary to make ourselves vulnerable to people by making ourselves available in person and without the protection of the computer or phone screen in between us, but I guarantee that vulnerability makes for a much better relationship and rush of confidence.
This month I encourage you to pick up your phone and call someone, grab a pen and paper and write them a letter, or better yet, host someone for dinner. Just be present, not distracted.