Have you ever met that one person that just always lurks on all your posts? They like your Instagram post as soon as you’ve put it up and view your snapchat story within the first thirty seconds of it being out. This is that person that literally NEVER puts their phone down. They take it with them everywhere they go. Even going to the bathroom without it causes them to undergo a myocardial infarction. They can recite to you everything that X, Y, or Z is doing with their life. This is the kind of person that knows people who don’t even know them. It’s that person that will tell you congratulations on your accomplishments, but won’t ever be there for you when you’re dead beat on your bed wondering how you’ll make it through another day.
I was that person.
I remember being so enveloped into people’s lives so unintentionally. I genuinely did not even realize how much time I spent living someone else’s life with them. The funny thing was, these weren’t even people I was truly friends with; they were acquaintances. I can recall saying things such as, “Wow, Jessica is pregnant now?” Mind you, I was in the same class with Jessica in like 2nd grade. YES, 2nd grade.
I was addicted to living peoples’ lives. I was addicted to scrolling endlessly making sure I knew exactly what everyone was up to. Addicted to studying others. Addicted to making sure I didn’t have time to think about myself. Addicted to masking my own issues by constantly focusing on those of others.
The saddest part out of all of this was that I yearned to know so that I would stay “connected” to them. I wanted to stay “close” to people that no longer had anything to do with me or my life.
Then one day, I actually needed SOMEONE. Not a virtual SOMEONE, but an actual PERSON.
I didn’t need to post a snapchat story to cry out to someone. NO! NO! NO! That’s not how it was supposed to work! I didn’t need to post a Facebook status for someone to come comfort me! I didn’t need any more fake “what happened’s” and insincere “I’m sorry’s.” I was done.
I couldn’t take any more virtual friends. I had reached my maximum quota of acquaintances disguised as friends just so they can keep their snap streaks. I was tired. So so tired of not actually facing the reality that maybe I had an addiction. I did not want to come to terms with the fact that perhaps I actually desired the comfort of having these people “in my life.”
I never wanted to admit that I was one of those virtual friends.
But, I LET GO.
Letting go of social media was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The first day was torture though. I kept looking at my phone expecting some kind of notification, but there was none. The only thing I was getting were texts. I ACTUALLY listened in class. It was amazing actually being able to leave class and feeling like I didn’t have to study my notes. I heard the birds singing and saw the sun peeking through the trees as I walked back to my dorm. My awareness to the world around me had increased drastically simply because I wasn’t looking down at my phone.
So far it has been exactly one month and one day off of social media. People constantly ask me to get back on, but I have no desire to. I don’t feel empty without it. Actually, I feel a lot more complete now than I did before.
There’s a certain contentment in not knowing what everyone else is up to. It gives you the ability to be more conscience of yourself and your own life. I find that I have gained so much self-awareness by not having things such as that distract me. The subconscious act of comparing myself to others has declined drastically. Being off of social media has allowed me to appreciate my own milestones without comparing them to those of Jill, James and John.
Now, whenever I find articles, pictures, videos, books, passions, or activities that intrigue me, I actually share them with PEOPLE.
I didn’t realize how few people would actually still stay close. Very few people are actually willing to still go out of their own way and give me a phone call or send me a text. My phone used to be constantly buzzing, but now it mostly stays quiet.
(If you ever want to know who your true friends are, get off of social media.)
This is only the beginning.