Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
Arguably the most popular platforms people are using to stay connected to their friends and family. When used responsibly, they’re great. You can see photos, video and status updates all in one place. It’s easy to see how your loved ones are doing. You don’t need to have an actual conversation with them anymore, you can just scroll down your timeline and be instantly updated. No phone calls or text messages necessary.
I’m here to tell you that notion is completely false. I got a shock to the system end of last year. Good friends of mine were struggling and I had no idea. Friends and associates who were going through financial difficulty, issues with employment, mental health concerns and other troubles.
The problem with social media is there is a pressure to put your best foot forward. We fear coming across weak or incapable. We use our profiles as though they are our personal representatives. A digital record of all our best achievements. A social curriculum vitae we use to sell ourselves to the world. But these profiles are completely two-dimensional. They cannot encompass the complexity and frailty of what it means to be a human being. It is foolish and masochistic to take what we see on social media at face value. Life is not always perfect. We’re not always going on holiday, getting a promotion or celebrating passing our driving test.
A lot of the time we’re struggling to pay our bills, we’re worrying about how much we’re spending on food, if we’re in a relationship we’re learning how to be vulnerable and cope with challenges. If we’re single, we’re learning to be independent, not apologise for it and educate those who are threatened or perplexed by our single state.
There is a lot of pressure out there. Some of it external and a great deal of it internal. We’re putting pressure on ourselves to achieve goals at certain arbitrary milestones. Whose idea was it that we need to be in an amazing job with a mortgage and car by the age of 25? Society tells us that if we’re not achieving certain things in life we have failed in some way. For a lot of people, getting up in the morning, having a shower and going to work is a massive achievement. For others attending their medical appointments and keeping busy with mundane tasks is also an achievement for them.
The perceived enormity of these daily tasks are what we are not sharing on social media. The fact that we struggle to do these things. There are days when we would rather stay in bed and self-isolate. Days that have been truly awful and we don’t have the energy to pretend that everything is OK. Those are probably the days when your friend hasn’t posted much online.
The image social media projects is a pure myth.
Try calling your friend or sending a text. Ask how they have been and be prepared for an honest answer. You may feel like a bad friend but you can take the opportunity to resolve to contact them regularly . Contrary to popular belief, social media is not the future of communication. We still need to call and message our friends and loved ones. Go one better and actually visit them. Social media isn’t evil in itself but it has made us lazy and complacent.
Complacency kills. You can’t nurture a relationship by the click of a like button.
If you want your relationships to grow and flourish you need to invest real time in them. Make it a goal to send more text messages and make more phone calls. Relationships are reciprocal.
If anything, I hope this post encourages you to reach out on a more personal level.
You never know who may be needing your support and love.
Let me know how you get on.
Love blackpistachio x