The growth of social media in recent years has resulted in us being able to build relationships with those we haven’t seen for a long time and helps to maintain relationships over distance. However, social media can also result in spiralling negative emotions that can negatively impact on relationships.
7 ways that Facebook is bad for friendships (and your self-esteem):
1. A very close friend has posted a major announcement. Why didn’t she tell me first? I thought we were close. How can she tell the world, most of whom are practical strangers, before she told me? Do I mean nothing to her? Guess we are not as close as I thought we were. 2. You have sent a message and can see that it was read, but there’s been no reply. Why aren’t they replying? What have I said to offend them? Surely they can’t be too busy just to send a quick reply. I’ll re-read my message. No, there’s nothing in there to offend. At least I don’t think so. Should I send another message? No, that just looks desperate. She is clearly ignoring me.
3. A friend has tagged a few people with a suggestion to meet up and you’re not one of them. What’s wrong with me? Those who have been tagged are mutual friends, so why am I being missed out? Do I not fit in with them? Do I do something that is socially unacceptable? Or do they simply dislike me?
4. A friend request is still not approved. Why haven’t I been ‘approved’ as a friend? You have over 400 Facebook friends and I’m sure that we are closer than half of them, so why aren’t you called me a ‘friend’? Clearly I’m being rejected as a friend.
5. Nobody has ‘liked’ recent photos that you posted. My children look so cute in this photo so why is nobody ‘liking’ it? Two hours have passed and still nobody ‘likes’ it. Is it the photo that nobody likes or is it me?
6. A friend comments on everyone’s posts apart from yours. I thought we were close so why does she comment on all our mutual friends’ posts and never on mine. There’s another comment offering a ‘hug’ to a friend. Where’s my ‘hug’? I really need one and she never gives me one. Does she not love me enough to give me a ‘hug’ too?
7. Following a friend”s status, there are comments implying something has happened, but you don’t know what it is. What has happened? How do they know and I don’t? I’m closer to her than some of them. Or maybe we’re not close if she has told them and not me. We can’t be as close as I thought we were.
This is a light-hearted look at Facebook friendships, but there is a risk that if we take Facebook too seriously and allow ourselves to feel negatively about others’ actions, it can damage real friendships and our own self-esteem.