Curing Social Media Misery: A Case for Communicating in Real Life

5 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Social Media rules, right? It rules our every day. It's the foundation of our daily routine. We're never logged out. That being the case, we don't, we can't, seem to unplug from the idiosyncratic patterns of our fellow man.

Sure, we tolerate it with our families, and some friends, but from acquaintances? It's downright annoying.

There's something about the written word that seems to carry more weight - its display, its permanence - that tends to hasten the solidification of anger - or envy, or plain old disgust. And I don't like it.

Mild-mannered human beings with whom we used to cry, laugh, and perhaps rollerskate, have grown into intolerable monsters we must destroy.

I've said this before and I'll say it again - we should not be in other people's heads all the time. Further, the contents of those heads shouldn't be perpetually spilling over onto your granite countertop.

Imagine with me, if you would, a world in which, all day long, anxieties and inner hopes and dreams leaked out of every human being all the time. Imagine a world where people hold up their lunches until someone takes notice. A world where enthusiastic athletes loudly tick off the miles they've run, the squats they've performed, and the steps that taken.

What would you do if you heard all this, well, noise? And would you even be able to hear it over your own prideful declarations?

People would, without reservation, tell you to shut the bleep up. Murder rates would soar.

So, why do we accept this online? Why is this okay? 

Because it's silentAnd remote. And the offender is often separated from his offenses.

As an individual with a background as a therapist, I can tell you, with assurance, that human beings are guided by social behavioral cues. As much as I loathed living in a cluster development, you could bet your sweet ass my trashcan didn't lay on the sidewalk past trash day.

It's all of us who live in isolation that eventually discontinue functioning, or lose the desire to function, successfully within mainstream society.

Think about it: Would you have ever considered taking photos of your bare breasts, bringing them to Woolworth's to be developed - in triplicate - and then handing them out to all of your friends and acquaintances?! These are decisions made in the absence of other people.

Maybe we're not as bright on our own. Maybe our frontal cortexes do not function as efficiently when starved of human interaction. Maybe we need just someone around us saying, "Dude. That's not right."

Let's say you run into your best friend from high school and start chatting. How long would you imagine it would take you to divulge that you fear you'll be alone forever, that no one will ever love you for the kind and generous woman you are? Probably a while and a few glasses of wine, because you wouldn't want them to throw up their hands and run away. You also probably couldn't cram all this information into a chance meeting at a warehouse store.

People need others to maintain the intricate set of human checks and balances. Primitive man did not live in caves alone, covering the openings with antennae made from tinfoil. They lived with other men. They shared, they comforted, they raised children, they told stories. They healed their sick. They built extraordinary monuments.

In Ancient art, there were no selfies.

As much as we try to claim not to like other people, we need them. And they need you.

Most devious acts are performed in secret. Granted, the Salem Witch Trials and the formation of the Tea Party were group efforts, but you can't win 'em all. In general, more good seems to come from collaborative living than from broadcasting remotely.

Your friends are also less likely to disown you over a hushed confession during dinner or an intimate phone call than for spreading a huge bucket of cray all over the Internet. Someone might be there to say, "Hey, you might want to stop posing on all fours, backwards, in front of that mirror, with your iPhone."

The eye rolls and groans might stop if you simply didn't tempt people to bludgeon you with the carrot sticks arranged neatly around your roasted garlic hummus. You might find out that person with 'such a blessed life' is just as miserable as you.

Only good things.

So, shake it off, friends. Go outside. Breathe in some fresh air. Pick up a phone and make a date with friends. (Speak into the phone. You can do it.) Sit down to dinner. Delight in the warmth of laughter and breaking bread with those you love.

It will do your heart good.

And the world will be a better place. I promise.

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