We all love our social media — Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter. The main platform I used was Facebook. While I wasn’t obsessed with it, I did eventually realize I was spending more time on it than I probably should, and that there were other, more constructive ways I could spend my time.
So I quit Facebook.
I’ve now been Facebook-free for over six months. I’m a social person, so the withdrawal has been challenging at times. But it’s also been refreshing to get some perspective and see that I can face the dreaded fear of missing out (FOMO) while still remaining sane.
Have you thought about saying good-bye to Facebook? Or other social media platforms? Here’s my top three reasons for giving Facebook the boot, along with a few tips that might be helpful if you also decide to quit social media.
1. Comparison and Discontentment
Don’t get me wrong — I liked the self-assurance that came when I got a lot of likes. But the feelings of rejection cut deep when someone who I hoped would like my posts didn’t. I also played the never-ending guessing game of wondering whether to like someone’s posts, and wondering what people would think if I did or didn’t. I was tired of letting these mundane decisions rule my time and mind.
Then there was the issue of comparison and jealousy. My unfulfilled expectations backfired as I compared my life to those of my friends. After absorbing too much content of what I thought my life should look like, discontentment and restlessness abounded. This destructive cycle began every time I typed in my Facebook password.
Facebook became especially problematic when I graduated a semester early and moved back home to begin my job search. I was removed from college, but I was still exposed to the pictures and posts of the friends I had left behind and everything that was going on in their lives without me.
I’d always struggled with change and embracing the season I’m in. But I wanted to change my mindset and experience life where I was, instead of imagining life where I wasn’t. I wanted to rest in what and where the Lord had me, and constant exposure to posts on Facebook deterred me from this goal.
2. The Fraud
People I knew added me on Facebook, and I added them back. A few of them would contact me and like my posts, but they wouldn’t talk to me in real life. I’m not talking about faraway friends I would rarely see; I’m talking about people I would see daily. They wouldn’t have much to say face-to-face, but they seemed to have plenty to say behind the protection of a computer screen.
To me, this was a strange phenomenon and one I didn’t wish to be party to. Yet I sometimes found myself falling into the same trap, though not to the same extent. I’d follow people online, admiring their lives and liking their posts when I didn’t know them well.
I don’t think this is all bad — especially if you’re actually getting to know someone in real life and not just through social media. But the trouble comes when we put up a façade and make a show of trying to convince all our other friends we have this special connection with someone who really is only an acquaintance. Personally, I have found my face-to-face encounters with people to be far more real and fulfilling than my online interactions.
There is also the issue of trying to convince one another we live flawless lives. Who wants to post an unattractive video or picture of himself? Or allude to the fact there might be something negative in her life? But we’re only contributing to society’s standards of beauty when we try to project a perfect image. We’ve lost sight of what it means to be genuine on social media.
3. Poor Time Management
The mindlessness of Facebook astounds me. It required nothing of me to open it up and spend 30 minutes watching pointless videos or scrolling through posts I wasn’t interested in. I realized there were goals I wanted to accomplish and activities I wanted to engage in outside of the virtual realm.
My main goal was spiritual growth. I’d been doing daily devotions, but at times it was more going through the motions then actually delving into and exploring the Word. Now that I no longer have Facebook, I’ve expanded my devotion time, exploring the cross-referencing footnotes in my study Bible, and I’ve made more time for scripture memory. I’ve also gotten more involved in two loves of mine: blogging and writing.
I wasn’t self-disciplined enough to have Facebook and access it only occasionally. For me, it was a matter of eliminating it completely so I wouldn’t be tempted to fall back into the trap of constantly logging in to see if I had any little red notifications waiting for me.
Maybe you, too, love Facebook or other forms of social media and don’t know how you could live without them. But if you’re thinking about limiting your time or even deleting your social media accounts, here are some helpful tips:
First, pray about it. This, like many things in the Christian walk, is a heart issue. Maybe you have a healthy, self-controlled relationship with Facebook. When I realized I didn’t, it was time to consider alternate outlets.
Second, start with small amounts of cutback. It can be difficult to completely eliminate something from your life. Before I knew I wanted to delete Facebook, I had fasted from it a couple of times and temporarily disabled my account (allowing me to put my account on hold without altogether eliminating it). I found during these interims I wasn’t missing as much as I thought I was, and you may discover this, as well.
Third, do this with real friends. Fast from social media with your church small group. Focus on tangible things your group can do outside of the virtual realm, such as writing snail mail to each other or volunteering in your church and community.
Who knows? I may get Facebook back someday, either for a requirement for my job or just to connect with some old friends. But for now I think I’ll say hello to my real friends — in real life.
Jessica Thiele loves country swing-dancing and occasionally drinks frappés. She’s from Nebraska and loves connecting personal experiences with God’s Words in order to draw others closer to Christ.