Let me get something straight – I’m not one of those people who thinks social media is the work of the devil, but I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. However, it was only when I deleted my Facebook account that I realised just how much of my life was connected to just one site. Only now that I’ve detached myself from that world have I realised how toxic it can be.
Deleting your Facebook account seems to be a big deal these days, especially for someone at uni. However, I felt as if this was something I needed to do to be happier. Although I’m not trying to convert anyone else to my way of thinking, I thought I would share with you a few reasons why I decided that I had had enough:
1) The main reason I decided to rid myself of Facebook was because I was sick of the constant feelings of inadequacy when seeing everybody having a fantastic summer or night out while I sat at home doing nothing. The impact on my mental health was quite substantial and it wasn’t unusual for it to take a massive hit from the endless stream of drunk photos and couples. Of course, I knew that people only put their best lives on Facebook, but that didn’t change the way I felt at that moment. For this reason, I knew I had to delete Facebook if I wanted to stop feeling down.
2) Another big factor was how tired I was of constantly seeing everyone’s opinions on current affairs. It seemed everyone had something to say, relevant or not, and it was their right to clog my news feed with these opinions.
3) I was also incredibly bored of the preaching and self-flattery! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – those early morning statuses telling us how someone’s already been to the gym, made a smoothie, written an essay, saved a puppy, and single-handedly put an end to world poverty. Although I congratulate people who have that much drive, I don’t really see the need for them to tell the world about their success. This culture of over-sharing was too much for me and was something I could definitely do without.
4) One of the biggest reasons for me to delete Facebook was how easy it was to get in contact with exes. You always got that monthly annoying message on Facebook from that one ex who still hasn’t quite let go, or be on the receiving end of a drunk 2am “I miss you” message. But if you’re being honest you’ve probably sent a couple, too. And if you’re the one having trouble letting go it can be hard to see your ex move on. By deleting Facebook, I felt like I was like putting a big wall between me and them, eliminating the possibility of hurt or any unwanted contact.
5) Before I decided to delete Facebook completely, I tried deactivating it from time to time. This allows you to suspend your account until you next decide log in, and although this may seem like a good enough solution, it wasn’t enough for me. Logging back in would always be instinctive, automatic, and I’d get stuck in the same old loop. By permanently deleting my account, I was making a decision I could not go back on.
A generic message was sent out to some of my friends a few days before I decided to delete Facebook for good. Just because I’m signing out of a time-sink, it didn’t mean I wanted to lose contact with my friends. Nobody seemed to blame me for my choice. It’s as if everyone knew that my decision would prove to be a positive one for me in the long run.
The only real snag I’ve encountered so far was forgetting to make a note of the location of my best friend’s 21st birthday party, but a quick text sorted that out. And after that, I figured that if people want me to meet with them or to do things, then they’d let me know.
I’m not writing this to encourage you all to delete Facebook. Far from it; it’s not my place to try and tell you what websites you should and shouldn’t be signed up to. Facebook might be perfect for you, and that’s great, but it really wasn’t for me. I don’t feel smug or superior for having deleted my account, but I do feel happier. By removing myself from Facebook, I feel more connected to the world around me and less so to the device in my hand.