By MELISSA WELLHAM
Does the sight of yet another food photo with an unnecessarily dramatic filter on your Facebook news feed made you cringe?
Do the friends who incessantly update their statuses with cute things their kids have done leave you feeling irate?
Do people who post selfies every single day make you seethe with rage?
Well, I have a way to make all your problems go away: Just quit Facebook.
Seriously. It’s time to end this unhealthy relationship. It isn’t making you happy anymore. You know it. Facebook knows it.
You wonder where all the love you used to have for each other has gone? Well I say it’s time to cut ties.
And I have the perfect breakup line for you. “Its not you, Facebook. It’s me.”
Because it probably is you. No offence intended.
A German study from earlier this year revealed that many people experience feelings of envy and discontent after visiting Facebook – no surprises there. But what may surprise you is that people who were happy using Facebook and people who were sad using Facebook used it in very different ways.
Researchers from Berlin’s Humboldt University and Darmstadt’s Technical University found that people became the most outraged and annoyed when they saw holiday snaps that their friends had shared, statuses where people talked about job satisfaction or promotions, or shared exciting tidbits about which new bars and restaurants they had visited as part of their cracking social schedule.
Even this seems a bit Scrooge McDuck-like, really.
But the people who were most troubled by Facebook posts like this, were the people who didn’t comment on their friends’ statuses, congratulating them on their promotion.
They didn’t like photos of their friends’ overseas adventures. They didn’t touch base with anyone they knew using private messaging, for a quick catch up. They didn’t share interesting articles and engage in conversations. They just… lurked.
On the other hand, respondents who expressed the most satisfaction and happiness after using Facebook, did all the above. They shared in their friends’ job joy.
They wanted to know where that cool new restaurant was, and asked for recommendations off the menu. They commented on endless pictures of their friends’ kids, and left many an “Oh, how adorable, little Timmy’s growing up so fast!” observation.
So basically: Facebook is just like the real world. If you sit in a corner at your office Christmas party determined to have a godawful time, and judging everyone on their terrible karaoke performances – you are going to have a shocker of a night. And not just because you’re listening to karaoke.
Whereas if you do make an effort to talk to people, take an interest in your friends’ lives and pretend to laugh at all those lame jokes inside Christmas crackers – you’ll probably end up having a really fun evening.
If YOU are engaging in the former, crazy-making sadomasochistic use of Facebook – then it’s probably time to stop. Step away from the computer. Switch off the smartphone.
Because you know what? Your friend posting about that perfect dinner they just had wirth their perfect family that was just perfectly perfect? They are probably not trying to make you feel bad about your current single status.
And your acquaintance that has just posted 27 selfies in a row is not trying to make you feel BAD. They are either (a) showing off a new haircut/their recently mastered cateye eyeliner technique/their rad new Birkenstocks, or (b) trying to make themselves feel GOOD.
Also, your friend on holidays? Yep, she’s just sharing holiday snaps. There’s no hidden agenda.
If you still see these things as a major inconvenience, just remember that they take approximately 0.02 seconds to scroll past. You are in control of your own mouse cursor.
And if you can’t accept any of the above as truth? If you’re still arguing, ‘Yeah, but this one friend I have is different. She literally posts pictures of her kids every day’?
If you still think that people sharing good news about how they’ve recently paid off their mortgage, or snapped a picture of a ridiculous-looking multi-coloured cocktail, somehow demonstrates that they are a bad person? Somehow makes them worthy of your derision?
Then you need to quit Facebook. Because that is what Facebook is for.
Sharing updates about your day. Posting holiday snaps. Seeing the little details in your friends’ lives. Connecting with people. We all get envious occasionally. We all have feelings of jealousy. But they are not exactly healthy emotions.
So I’m going to try something new this week. When I see something on Facebook that makes me green-eyed, I’m going to get over it. I’m going to see my jealousy for what it is (read: bullshit). And I’m going to be happy for the people I call my friends.
What do you think? Is it totally fine to get irritated by people sharing good news on Facebook? Or do we all need to learn how to scroll past things we don’t want to see?