07 Nov Why It’s OK to Unfollow People on Facebook
Social media can be so annoying.
(I realize this may sound hypocritical because many of you got to this post through social media channels, but of course, I wasn’t referring to myself. I am never annoying. Just ask my husband. He loves it when I put my ice cold feet on his back or when I forget to close the garage door or buy food for meals. Nope – never annoying. Just rainbows and butterflies around here.)
Do you agree, though, that social media can stress you out and just plain get on your nerves?
Last weekend, I attended a conference where one of the speakers made a simple statement that liberated so many people listening. She gave us all permission to unfollow people on social media.
I almost stood up and applauded, because I have been doing this a LOT lately (election, anyone?) and it has been so freeing. Most of us are “friends” with people we aren’t really friends with, and daily we’re subjected to posts reminding us why we’re not really friends. I’m not talking about people we disagree with, necessarily. I have a lot of friends (in real and virtual life) I share vastly different views from, but I still follow them and see their posts. No problem. But I’m talking about people whose mission in social media-life seems to be to alienate people through highly offensive language, posts demeaning me for believing something different, and insults aimed at what I value.
Here’s the truth: we wouldn’t live with people following us around in real life saying inappropriate, offensive things repeatedly. We wouldn’t let a salesperson come to our homes every.single.day and never say, “You know what? I’m just not interested in your product.” We wouldn’t listen to a person demeaning the things we believe in and never speak up or walk away. So we don’t have to let these things happen on Facebook, either.
We get to be the filter for what comes into our lives through social media. We are not at its mercy.
The thing about social media is that we come to it with certain expectations, and because we have a streak of optimism inside us, we keep coming back after those expectations are broken.
Here’s what I mean:
- We expect to catch up with old friends and get a glimpse into their lives. But we end up comparing our lives to theirs.
- We expect to be entertained. But we end up being offended.
- We expect to kill time while we’re waiting for something else. But we end up wasting the time we should be doing something else.
- We expect to get ‘likes’ from our inspiring or witty posts. But we end up getting the cold shoulder and feeling like losers.
- We expect to be in the know with what’s going on. But we end up seeing where we’ve been left out.
- We expect to have our opinions affirmed. But we end up having our beliefs attacked.
Insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting different results. If we keep closing social media feeds feeling worse than before we looked at them, shouldn’t we make a change? The change is simple: unfollow those who drain you, demean you, or damage you. You don’t have to block them – just unfollow them. They’ll never know and you’ll feel so much better.
It’s time we take our power back and refuse to let our free moments turn to sadness, anger, and bitterness because we feel obligated to follow someone else’s social media feed. We aren’t obligated. We can choose, and we forget we have a choice. That’s one of the beautiful things about being an adult. We can say no.
Here’s your challenge: edit your social media feeds. Keep only what inspires, uplifts, or educates you. When you come across something that sucks the life out of you, remove it. When you come across something that demeans you, delete it. When you come across something that offends you, unfollow it.
Be in charge of what enters your mind – and don’t be afraid to say “No. This isn’t for me.”
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