Perhaps we can blame it on the Season. The dark and dank nights sat at home under a blanket, phone or laptop snuggled for warmth and interpersonal contact. You don’t really want to leave the house but you also don’t like the fact that no one is inviting you out. Facebook starts to irritate you. ‘I want more real life connections!’
You see it again and again with people posting dramatic statuses, ‘I’m leaving Facebook! It’s up to you to be my friend in real life.’
Now look, I’m not targeting anyone here. I’ve seen it a handful of times in the past couple of weeks. But it got me thinking, why does Facebook work for me? Why don’t I feel like leaving?
So here we go, five things that may make your Facebook experience a bit better (unless you’re leaving for Internet Big Brother reasons and then all power to you).
Is one of the most helpful things I’ve ever been told. The amount of connections we attempt to maintain today is insane. It’s also exhausting and for many of us, unsustainable. (Check out this article on having too many friends as a starting point).
So how do you cut down?
You look at who adds value to your life.
Do they give you love? Friendship? Entertainment? Knowledge?
It’s a useful tool for real life (especially lovers) but also applicable to your online relationships.
So when it comes to your Facebook friends – who are they? Why are you Facebook friends with them? Would you say hello to them in person? Or even better, would you give them a hug? If not, why are you connecting online?
Do they add value in any way?
This comes back to the lament of wanting more meaningful connections. This may sound harsh but if you’re not having meaningful connections, it may not be Facebook’s fault. Friendship goes two ways and you get out what you put back in.
Facebook is just a stream of updates? Sure, but connection comes when you use those updates.
See your friend has had a shitty/brilliant day? Flick them a text and see if they want to catch up and talk about it.
See someone has posted about something fun they want to do (and you want to join in)? Why don’t you suggest that you do it together – and actually follow through with it.
On that note… how many Facebook events do you RSVP to and then don’t show up? (I am notoriously bad for this).
Stop it! It’s really rude.
Imagine if your friend rang you and invited you out for coffee and you just didn’t show. You’d be pissed right? It doesn’t matter if it’s a party or a small catch up, your RSVP still matters.
The same goes for everything on Facebook, sure it’s online but it doesn’t give you (or your friends) an excuse to be lousy and rude. Treat your online connections like you’d treat your real life ones and maybe they’ll segue into each other in a positive way.
Okay, so we talked about restricting your friends to those who add value but what about those people who you just sort of have to be friends with online?
Facebook has settings for that! Make lists, restrict content, hide people from your feed. My feed only has people I find interesting or hang out with in real life on it. No bullshit.
Decide what you want out of Facebook and make it that for yourself.
My preferences? Interesting articles and organising real life hang outs. It adds to my real life interactions, shock horror.
A lack of interpersonal communication is the mother of all friendship melt downs. The amount of times I’ve ended up balling my eyes out because I felt excluded (when really it was more that my friends assumed I’d know and just turn up) is ridiculous.
Facebook often gets blamed for this. But really? I think it’s a communication break down. So basics of better relationships? COMMUNICATE.
Don’t assume that your friends are being assholes – talk about it, they may have just been a bit useless on the organisation front (again, guilty). If they are being assholes… that’s another matter.
And at the same time don’t leave it all up to other people to invite you to things. Remember what I said about it being a two way thing?
You can also communicate about your Facebook or communication preferences e.g. hate Facebook chat? Tell your friends, hey, I prefer to chat via *insert method here*. Or let them know that you don’t check your events and that if they want you to come to things to let you know by text.
Also while we’re here – getting annoyed by quote posts, selfies, rants, moans, politics. Think of it this way, you’re getting annoyed at the way your friend chooses to express themselves to the world. Is that reasonable?
It may sound like I’m putting the onus on you, but fingers crossed you’ll get back what you put out there – to quote my wise grandmother, Didie,
And in my own words, stop sulking, stop waiting for the world to come to you. Be proactive and demand you get the friendships you deserve (while using Facebook to your advantage).
What Facebook tips do you have? How do you make it work for you?