Updated: Aug 1, 2020
DISCLAIMER: This article has a more personal tone than usual, but there is a point and advice at the end, so stick with it.
Social media is a great tool for meeting new people, maintaining existing relationships, and even reaching out to those long lost friends. Sometimes, our profile can make us feel loved and popular. Think about birthdays for example, when Facebook tells everyone it’s your birthday and suddenly everyone that you know (or that knows you) is wishing you the best birthday and is sending you their love. But, does this ever make you feel lonely?
Our generation has grown up accustomed to the new way of digital communication, we seem to shortchange ourselves with technology. Meeting up with a friend for a catch up spontaneously became a mere phone call, and a phone call became a few short text messages. Genuine connection with people seems not to be a priority for some anymore and the occasional text message may be enough to maintain a relationship. So that once upon a time birthday visit, became a phone call, then just a Facebook wall post and not even a private message.
Social media can make us feel lonely. Not just because of the highlight reel, but it can make us evaluate our lives. Our feed is laid out like a tapestry of events for all to see, which can be interpreted however people like. There seems to be a certain expectation that comes with the platform that I have built; popularity.
Popularity is not attributed with my social media, I don’t quantify the size of my profile to feel more “liked”. It is a job to me and a passion, but having this platform doesn’t bring me automatic happiness, it can actually bring me a lot of stress. Don’t get me wrong, my part-time 9-5 is boring as fuck, but it’s social. I talk to people all day and catch up with my colleagues, with social media I’m sat in my room, alone. People look at my profile and assume I have loads of friends and am constantly doing social things, this could not be further from the truth. Honestly, I think I meet up with one friend per month. The majority of people I know have moved away for university, those that have stayed are usually too busy and most of my family has moved away. We’re all adults, we all grow up and become busier, but sometimes it’s hard not to take a step back, and just feel a little alone.
FYI, I talk a lot about conscious social media usage and the benefits of solitude. This is me showing you that I myself sometimes still get myself into a negative headspace when it comes to social media.
I can honestly say, the last 12 months where I have built up this amazing platform with the ability to help others, to meet amazing people, go to brilliant events, and of course get free shit, has genuinely been the most brilliant yet the loneliest year of my life. I am super grateful for what I have been blessed with, I love the opportunity I have been given, and it’s not stopping here. I will continue to grow, I want to write books, I want to write articles, I want to do speeches, I want to help. This however, is the journey I am on that makes me want to help.
So, if you ever feel lonely on social media, here’s a few things that I’ve found to be helpful:
Reach out: Talk to people, it’s the simple and obvious solution. There are people that love and care about you, tell them how you feel. Arrange to meet people and put yourself out there in the real world.
Turn your phone off: Contrary to the above. Having your phone off can allow you to focus on the present and what you really want to do. Focus on that hobby that you’ve always wanted to do, or had given up. Get the work done you’ve been putting off, go use that gym membership you’re paying for. Having time on your hands is ok. For me, the gym always works.
Hug a dog: Honestly, whenever I feel low, my dogs notice instantly. Both of them get as close to me as I can until I’ve smiled (you can trust dogs more than people just FYI). Also if you don’t have a dog, borrow someone else’s, I’m sure they won’t mind (with their permission of course).
Be grateful: I’ve written this first thing in the morning after ignoring most of the advice I give you. I went to bed feeling alone, and woke up feeling it. The emotion you fall asleep with will be with you the next morning. But, I wrote this. After reading this back I felt grateful. I love my family that does put the effort in, I love my friends even though they’re busy doing other things, I love my dogs, and I love my own company.
You guys know I’m open and honest with you, and I never do an emotional outpouring of this size, but my form of therapy is writing down how I feel and coming to my own solutions, then sharing them with you. My point is, social media affects most of us, we all have down days with it. The important thing is to be conscious of it, and do what you know works to make yourself feel better.