Showing posts with label Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stories. Show all posts

That Time I Gave Facebook Another Chance


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If you missed part one of my giving-up-Facebook story, you can check it out here!

My break from Facebook was really healthy for me.  I honestly don't remember much about it, except that it felt like a really easy detox.  There were times when I missed Facebook a little bit, but I honestly didn't think much about it.

But there were things happening in my heart.

I know there were hurts that I was holding on to, and having a break from Facebook allowed me to let those go.

I know I learned a lot about pride through the process.  I realized one of my main reasons for resisting the break from Facebook was my pride.  I wanted to show off my life, especially to those who had hurt me in the past.  While that may be a natural desire, it was boasting, pure and simple.  I was trying to prove something to people, prove that I was worth knowing.  I was putting the opinion of people ahead of the opinion of the Lord.

Scripture tells us we shouldn't boast, except in the cross of Christ, and I knew that my desire to impress everyone on Facebook did not fit with that.  Giving up Facebook gave me the chance to get out of that habit, and it took away my avenue to keep failing in that area.

Mostly, it felt like a breath of fresh air to be off it.  I didn't have to think about what everyone else was doing.  I didn't have to feel frustrated every time I got on Facebook.  I could do my own things, develop the relationships that were important to me in person, and it surprised me how little I thought about it.

However, there did come a day when I realized that maybe it was time to give Facebook another chance.  I had been off of Facebook for almost a year, and something big happened in my life.

I got pregnant with Gwen.

That little blessing made it abundantly clear to me that Facebook did have some benefits, such as being able to announce our new addition to everyone I loved at the same time.  So after careful consideration, I created a new Facebook account.

When I decided to get back on Facebook, I created a few boundaries for myself.

For one thing, I decided not to be friends with any guys, except for those who were in my family.  It's not that there were any problems with any of the males I was friends with before, but I wondered why I had never instituted that rule for myself when I was on Facebook the first time.  The stories of marriages breaking up because of connections made on Facebook are rampant, and though I never expect that to happen to me, I wondered why I should even take the chance.  Now, most of my Facebook friends are women, and the few men that I am friends with are relatives.

For the first several months I was very strict with who I decided to add as Facebook friends.  I mainly wanted to be friends with people who I actually saw regularly in my real life, or people who I would like to be closer friends with.  I didn't see the benefit of giving a closer glimpse of my life to people who I never actually heard from outside of Facebook.  My friend list was probably about 50-60 people, and that was how I liked it.

If I felt like I was starting to get annoyed with someone's posts, or if someone was just being a little too negative or controversial for me, I just blocked their posts from my newsfeed - sometimes for just a little while, and sometimes permanently.  I knew if I was going to come back to Facebook this needed to be a safe place, and something that was going to improve my real-life relationships, not hurt them in any way.  So if blocking someone's posts would contribute to that goal, that was what I did.

When I knew that my posts would only be going out to those whom I already knew and loved, and vice versa, it was much less tempting to try to show off.  I thought more carefully about what I wanted to share.  I didn't write posts to brag so much as to just share a little bit of my daily life with people who were already close to me.  It was a much healthier way for me to do Facebook.

I was also on Facebook much less because I was out of the habit of checking it so often.

I rejoined Facebook almost two years ago, and I feel like it has stayed on a pretty even, healthy level since then.  My friend list has grown to 115 people.  I have loosened my standards a bit on accepting friend requests from people I don't know very well, mainly because I was reminded of a few people who I would not be friends with at all if it weren't for a connection that was originally strengthened by Facebook.  There are some benefits to Facebook, and this is one of them - I think if used properly, Facebook can not only enhance and strengthen existing friendships, but it can also cause friendships with certain people to form when they may never have otherwise.

My goal continues to be to keep Facebook a safe place for myself.  I have recognized that I don't have to leave my feelings at the mercy of posts on Facebook, and I give myself permission to limit it where I need to without feeling guilty (such as when I block certain posts).  Facebook can be a very useful tool, or it can cause problems in my life, and I think I am the one who decides where on that spectrum it is going to fall.

Within my boundaries, I have found there are things that I love about Facebook.

I love that it does let me keep up with friends that are not in my same state.

I love that it opens up opportunities to connect with some ladies on a more personal level, particularly when it gives me the chance to suggest a get-together that may not have otherwise happened.  It's a lot more natural to suggest getting together for coffee with someone through Facebook than through cold-calling or hunting down someone's e-mail.

I love that it allows me to share pictures with people who don't get to see my kids as often, because it has become apparent that I am ridiculously bad at sending out e-mail updates.

I love that I can announce happy news, like pregnancies, so that everyone who is important to me can know at roughly the same time.

My break allowed me to recognize the problems with my own heart that were being perpetuated by Facebook, work on them, and come back with a fresh perspective.  I feel like Facebook contributes much more positively to my life now.

So it took me 2+ years to share it, but that is the story of the time I gave up Facebook.

Have any of you ever struggled with your Facebook use?  Have any of you ever taken a break from Facebook?  What kind of boundaries do you have for yourself on Facebook?

That Time I Gave Up Facebook


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A couple of years ago I gave up Facebook for several months.

There were several reasons I decided to cut myself off from Facebook, and there were several reasons I decided later on to give Facebook another chance.  The whole experiment taught me a lot about other people, and a lot about myself.

I never really wrote about it, though I considered starting a post on my decision several times.  The words just never seemed quite right.  However, recently a current Facebook friend of mine posted on her decision to give up Facebook for a little while, and it made me think of when I did the same - so I thought that maybe the time had come for me to write about it here.

I went back and read a rough draft that I wrote at the time about all the reasons why I wanted to get off Facebook - and though reading that did refresh my memory about a lot of the things that I don't particularly like about Facebook, there is a general tone of exasperation to that post.  I was just done.

I think I first started to realize there was a problem when I would close my browser feeling dissatisfied or annoyed.  I was friends with a lot of people that I had known in years past.  You know the ones that I'm talking about - friends from high school, "friends" that had rejected me informally long ago, though thankfully without severing the relationship with a dramatic de-friending gesture.

But I was still connected with all these people - people who might have hurt me, or people who had always been competition to me, whether in reality or just in my own head.

I got to see their lives play out on cyberspace.  Graduations.  Marriages.  Pregnancy announcements.  Houses.

Sometimes it hurt because I was sad that these friendships ended.

Sometimes it was jealousy spurred by something that someone else had, and the frustration came because I wanted that thing, or thought I had worked much harder for that thing.  The whole comparison game that it is so hard not to play.

Then there was just the general negativity from people who always seem to want to air their gross laundry where everyone can see it.

I felt beat down.  I felt dissatisfied.  I felt I felt inadequate.  It left me wanting to post about everything fun I was doing to prove to everyone else that I was doing cool things too.  I was someone interesting, and they were missing out if they weren't friends with me.

As in real life friends.  Not Facebook friends, because "Facebook friends" can mean anything.

Looking back, I think these things were largely a heart issue, and I can't blame Facebook as much as I blame myself.  Pride was a huge factor here.  The bottom line is that I wanted to feel good enough, and I thought Facebook made me feel less than.

I just ran around in circles like this for years before I started to realize that maybe there was a problem here.  Ironically, the effect of Facebook on my own pride was just an afterthought at the time, though now I realize that pride was the biggest problem I needed to recognize with my Facebook use.  But that is not what made me give it up.

One day I realized that a lot of the girls who I really wanted to be friend with, but that I didn't really see outside of Facebook, actually thought that we were friends.  They thought that keeping up with me on Facebook meant we were friends, even though our interaction only consisted of an occasional "like" or comment on one of my posts.

I didn't want cyber-friendships with these people.  If we were going to be friends, I wanted to be real-life friends, and I started to wonder if Facebook's tendency to create a false sense of friendship was getting in the way of actually forming real friendships with these girls.

I started to hear stories of gossip and drama that people had experienced on Facebook.  I never experienced much of that personally, but I started to feel a bit convicted.  Even though I had never started an actual rumor based on information on Facebook, I would be lying if I said that I had never drawn incorrect conclusions or gossiped to my husband about something someone said on Facebook.  I may not have let anything escalate to the level of traditional, rumor-spreading gossip, but I did judge people's motives and invent narratives in my own head about situations I had no actual information about.

I also realized through comments from extended family and friends how much information about my life people got from Facebook.  It seemed wrong to me somehow that these people got to know these things about my life without ever actually talking to me.

True friendships can't form without conversation, but on Facebook you don't have to have that.  People don't have to put out any actual effort to be friends with you, because all the things they might want to know about you are probably on Facebook.  I started to wonder if people might be more likely to reach out in real life if they didn't know everything that was going on with me already.  It made me feel a little "spied on", to be honest, but how could I blame anyone but me?  I was not only providing the information, I was encouraging the "spying".

The final straw came when someone who I rarely saw gathering a little bit too much information about me from Facebook.  It freaked me out a little, and all the other things that had been bothering me came rushing to my mind.  In that moment I made a decision that it was time to take a break.

I deleted my account that same week.

Click here to read the rest of my Facebook story!
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