Facebook Envy

I feel torn about something, and it’s my love/hate relationship with Facebook.  On the one hand, I love Facebook.  How could I not?  Facebook is how I met my now husband SHL.  We met randomly through a dating application soon after I joined the site; no mutual friends, just a picture of one another, a “click,” a “be my friend,” millions of emails, visits back and forth, and phone calls (he lived in Toronto at the time and I in Boston) and two and a half years later we were married.  It’s a pretty wacky story and just the other night while we made soup for dinner and talked about our day the story of our meeting came up and we did what we do every once in a while:  Look at each other with wide eyes and a crazy grin and think about all of the things that had to happen for us to meet that way.  So that is why, on the one hand, I love Facebook. 

On the other hand (there always is one) is a word that makes most people cringe:  Envy.  We all have it, but I’m going to just put it out there (I promised you in my first post that I was not one of those gals to post status updates like, “My hubby is the best ever, he just brought me flowers and cupcakes and I have the best life, giggle giggle.”  Me:  Vomit).  I know I can’t be the only one to feel badly about myself and my life sometimes when I log onto the site.  Almost every day it feels like one out of my 345 friends (which is a whole other story about the competition to see who can have the most “friends” on Facebook) is doing something amazing.  If somebody isn’t moving to Italy (which just happens to be my dream place to live) then they’re getting promoted at work, they’ve won the lottery, had a baby, bought a house, or had their husband bring them flowers and cupcakes– In the same day of course.  All I’ve probably done is gone to work, maybe done a load of laundry, and if I’m lucky, had dinner while watching TV with my husband after a disastrous day of trying to maintain my composure at work.  See?  Envy.

Granted I know (and you know) that people just want to make themselves look good.  There aren’t many people who will put “My husband’s socks stink” or “my house is falling apart and I don’t have the money to fix it” as their status updates.  So all we see are pictures of the outside of a perfectly beautiful house, perfectly beautiful spouses, and perfectly beautiful kids.  How not to feel badly that I don’t have a house or kids?  (Thank goodness I have the husband or I’d have to log off of Facebook entirely).  Seriously though, Facebook has just become another way to keep up with the Joneses, and I for one feel as though I can’t seem to keep up with anybody– On Facebook anyway. 

This thought then begged a question that I had to ask of myself:  Do I ever promote Facebook envy in anybody else?  Probably not, but the truth is, I don’t write “My job sucks” or “Too bad we can’t afford a house right now” as my status update, either.  I may write that I’m sick of taking public transportation or that I hate the Boston weather or that I’m tired, but generally I am sure that I try to present myself in a somewhat “put together” light as well, sharing wedding and honeymoon pictures, a link to an online article that I was quoted in, or the occasional status update that sends the message that I am married, that I travel, see my girlfriends, and that sometimes, good things happen (case in point: I met my husband on Facebook).  Perhaps, just perhaps, somebody else on Facebook is looking at that and feeling what I feel when I look at them:  A twinge.  And it doesn’t feel good.

I’m not sure that I’m going to do anything differently.  I don’t see myself getting off of Facebook because I enjoy keeping in touch with friends that live far away and that I don’t have the chance to connect with on a daily basis.  I enjoy sometimes posting a status update and getting messages back quickly or a “like” here and there.  I enjoy posting pictures of a trip or of my nephew and of the sharing piece of it.  What I don’t love is feeling as though I’m not good enough because I’m not doing what many, many other 34-year-olds are doing in life.  We don’t have kids.  We don’t have a house.  Both of our careers are in flux at the moment.  So I suppose that it comes down to feeling secure enough with yourself to be able to enjoy other’s good news without feeling as though we all have to be in the exact same place in our lives at the exact same time.  We don’t!  And let’s face it: looks can be deceiving.  Even that “perfect” woman who has time to go to the gym every day and has a wedding ring the size of a rock on her left hand, with her pefect  husband, kids, house, and job, has her bad days.  She gets into fights with her husband.  Her kids vomit all over her.  She gets yelled at her by her boss. Or at the very least her yoga class gets cancelled. 

Things are never perfect, no matter how much people want us to believe that they are.  What I wish is that we could all just be honest with one another and join together to form a camaraderie about how funny/crazy/stressful/maddening the world can be sometimes.  I don’t think I’ll ever find it on Facebook, but maybe I’ll find it here:  After all, I can handle the truth about my imperfect life.  Can you handle the truth about yours?

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7 thoughts on “Facebook Envy

  1. Honestly, if I find out another person I know is having a baby, I’m throwing in the towel!! I love babies, and seeing the pictures and sharing the news and can only hope that one day the baby post is mine :)

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  2. Indeed…I appreciate your honesty. I too have felt FB envy…in my case, as I watch people posting about their kids and their pregnancies…while we wait and try and wait and wait and try and wait…but I also know I have things in my life others might envy, a partner, a home, the ability to walk to work, a job…there’s always something. I try to focus on the blessings. I’m not always good at it. But I try.

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  3. I think we all envy something about our friends and maybe even our family members- but we probably hold it so close to us because it feels wrong to let that side show right? It feels wrong to envy those close to us during their happiest times, doesnt it? We want to happy for them and we truly are but there is that little twinge of envy that creeps in. But with Facebook it is in your face daily – I think we should make it an effort to one bad thing a week – I know I usually do. But it is reality isnt it? No one’s life is perfect! :)

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  4. I think that Facebook highlights the “keeping up with the Joneses” and “Keeping up outward appearance.” The thing is, it’s easier to do due to its superficiality. While I too have about 350+ friends on FB, I have met them all in real life (but fewer than half of those are people with whom I regularly interact). The green-eyed monster gets us all, but can also give us a sense of reality when we contrast that with what we know to be reality.

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  5. I just read an article about this a couple months ago! I think anyone, if truthful, will say they’ve had a few Facebook envy moments. How can you not feel a twinge of jealousy when your sorority sister is on a tropical island or touring Europe, a high school friend gave birth to the most adorable child ever, or a former colleague just got the big promotion? And let’s be honest, would you rather hear about an amazing vacation or the fact that your friend is wearing the MOST uncomfortable thong ever today?

    Envy is a fact of life. It exists online and it exists walking down the street (hello NYC, full of the most well dressed, beautiful women on the planet). As long as you keep it in check, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little bragging or a little envy.

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