Dear Facebook friends: Are your lives really that fantastic?
Dear Facebook friends who constantly make my own life seem inadequate by comparison:
It's time I come clean. For the longest time, I've been reading your status updates and secretly hating you for them.
Every other day I read about the 5K run you just completed, see pictures of your gorgeous children doing adorable things in cute outfits and watch you share impossibly artistic dishes from restaurants I probably can't afford to visit.
It feels like every single one of you is living a fantastic, successful, fulfilling life that would make one hell of a high school reunion story. And I, by comparison, am not.
I think what I hate the most about your Facebook walls is that they come across like one of those breathless, self-congratulatory "family newsletters" certain relatives always include in their Christmas cards: Susie was named all-star in track! Robert was happy to receive a lovely promotion! Our dog can do a handstand while reciting key anniversary dates, so we always remember to buy presents on time!
Everyone always hates those relatives because their shiny-happy perfect lives seem to somehow be mocking ours.
But the real, messy details of life don't go into our Christmas cards — or our Facebook updates. What we share on our walls is selective. Our perfectly angled photos are only a fraction of the hundreds of "why am I making that face?" shots we've taken and deleted.
My days are filled with deadlines and lost keys, dust bunnies and leftovers that are probably alright to eat, even though they're just on the edge (but hey, let's try them and see what happens). Not really the stuff of Facebook legend.
But lately I've begun to realize something, and it's made me finally stop hating you. I've realized that we're really not all that different. Our Facebook lives are not our real lives. And that means that your lives, dear Facebook friends I've been envying, are really no better than mine.
Of course our lives look amazing on Facebook. That's because our status updates are the whitewashed version of what's really going on; they're the highlight reel. None of us is living the fantastic, successful, fulfilling lives Facebook portrays.
Facebook is where we share our successes, the fleeting moments of beauty in our days, the things we want our friends to celebrate with us. (And, maybe, secretly be a little jealous of.) And that's OK; we want to be happy for our friends' victories, and we want our friends to be happy for ours. But sometimes it can give off the wrong impression.
If I were to actually meet up with one of you for coffee sometime, I'm willing to bet you'd tell me about some of the things that didn't make it onto your wall — your husband's recent layoff or that time your adorable child had a weekend-long tantrum and tried to shave the dog.
For all I know, you've been reading my status updates and hating me for my recent vacation (I've been working 60 hour weeks since to make up the time), for my new boyfriend (we may or may not be breaking up soon) and for the picture I shared of that tiramisu I made (it's the first I've made that didn't come from a box in months).
See? We're really not all that different. I'm glad I've realized that now.
Looking forward to hearing what's new with all of you.
~All the best,