Friday, May 22, 2015

40 Days Off Facebook (Part 1 of 3)

Thoughts after Day One

It hits me when I open my web browser. I am not use to Facebook being gone. Usually Facebook is on a tab, already opened, and signs me in automatically. Now I only have e-mail, a few blogs, and Netflix opened.

Facebook. What once was a place to connect with friends and family, to make plans to meet or call or share, has become (to me) a facade. I became a facade. People would like or comment on funny videos or pictures but when I would bear my soul, those posts were typically comment-less.

I would spend my time sending messages to friends (at times) to talk on the phone, Skype, or meet in-person, only to receive no replies, get cancelled on at the last minute, be told they were "too busy", or that something came up. The thing is, something always came up. Once or twice is fine, stuff happens, but when a pattern develops one notices. You just wouldn't expect it with people who you thought, at least, were good friends with you at the time.

Moving from Texas to New York was tough and I thought Facebook would keep me connected to everyone but somehow in the last few years, I've realized the sad truth: Facebook has replaced real communication. Where there was once tone of voice or body language there are pictures posted of everyone having a happy smile, text messages, status updates, and blog entries.

So many of us are lonely, desiring connection and friendships (I know this from when I do occasionally get people to actually message me back or somehow get offline to talk); yet we sit behind our technology, projecting an image of ourselves that isn't us at all.

We find ourselves lying to our friends about who we really are... if Facebook friends are really true "friends" at all anymore. Married people are too busy and I often feel as if they pity me for being single, instead of valuing me as a friend who happens to still be single (segregated from their other married friends, left out when those get-togethers are planned). Often, I feel like through others eyes I have some insufficiency, some kind of social disease I need to be cured of being single, like if they get too close, perhaps they will catch it as well and die a slow death.

I don't really have any single male friends anymore, as most of them have become married. Actually, most people my age are married. Nowadays I rarely hear from them. I have a few single friends who are female but mostly those friendships exists purely on Facebook, perhaps a few messages per year on and off, typically initiated by me.

Almost all attempts now to initiate real-live friendships are usually not reciprocated; either by lack of response, business, or passive resistant passages, like "Let me see how my schedule is for next week, let me get back to you, yeah we should totally do that sometime" - only, after silence is all that follows.

I remember a time when friends shared life and now we share Facebook statuses. I remember when we use to laugh at life, now we laugh at Memes and YouTube videos along is our homes. I remember when we use to pray together and now we type "Praying for you". We lack real life follow-through anymore.

We have seemingly lost a lot of true connections. We are blind. We do not even see how much we have given over ourselves, sacrificed deep friendships for shallow ones. We "connect" online but it is more like observing. We do not even need to comment anymore when we can "like". We do not need to write a blog when we can tweet. We do not need to call when we can send a text. The black hole of technology is sucking us in, emotionally leaving us numb, alone, isolated, sad, and depressed. Yet, we log on each day, hoping to find connection on that screen.

I am tired of this farce. Tired of scrolling through a news-feed, an endless progression of posts by people I haven't seen in person or heard from in months, even years. Ironically, some have likely never even sent me a message or commented on one thing I've ever posted or shared. Often, I feel like we are more "spying" on each other than friends, voyeurs into each-others’ lives, observing, lurking in the shadows of Facebook to see what others are saying and doing.

But why? What are we so very afraid of connecting? Are we now at a point where we fear connection? Are we at a point where talking on the phone, on Skype, or meeting in-person is just too much? Have we lost the ability to connect, human to human, soul to soul, heart to heart?

I got off Facebook for 40 days; I wanted to "Log Off", to quiet myself, to stop feeling lonely in a place with so many "friends". I want to stop being bombarded by others who are in relationships, getting married, having children - while I am single, struggling to make friends, date, and am working two jobs to pay down student loan debt so my future, which hopefully includes a wife and family, will be not be so limited.

I wish I had the time and money to travel, to be more involved at church, take classes for fun to meet others, or to go on fancy vacations to interesting places. That is not my life. Real life is tough. Tough is NOT for Facebook. I would rather Log Off and be alone by myself than keep logging on, seeing those things, and feeling worse in what is ironically such a "social" and "happy" place.

Facebook is a party of people, all living out there lives; yet when you try to get their attention, try to get them out of the room and into the real world, people disappear. You never know what’s going on with them, except for what they post. You are friends with mysteries, mysteries who only let things be known by what they post and you can’t be quite sure anymore who any of them truly are outside of your news-feed and their profile page. We are our own press agents.

End of Day One
~ Single Me