Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fear and Self-loathing on Facebook

Dear Eve,

I don't have many close friends so I hope you'll help me.  I have a lot of anxiety when I post on to Facebook.  I go over and over what I'm going to write then check back over and over to see if anyone has commented or liked what I wrote.  If no one does then I feel terrible.  Does everyone feel like this?  I just wanna be normal with Facebooking.

Dear Facebooker,

You say you don't have many close friends so I'll make an assumption that you're a little shy and  a little private, so posting on a social networking site is probably way out of your comfort zone.  I can understand a few butterflies when you're putting yourself out there in the beginning.  However, it sounds like you have more than just a little social anxiety.  I don't think that's unusual either, but it's causing you distress so let's deal with it.

You need to remind yourself that no one is judging you.  Honestly, your posts are just chatter on the world wide web.  Everyone is bombarded with so many status updates it very easy to get lost in the shuffle.   Make an effort to comment on or "like" posts made by your friends and they'll see that you want to be a part of the chatter.  You know how good it feels when you're acknowledged.  It makes other people feel good too!  Get in on the conversation and, organically, you'll have more friends interacting with your posts too.  Will every post get hits?  No.  Remember that you don't comment on every post you read either.  When you don't comment does it mean you thought negatively of that post?  Hell no!  It just didn't elicit a strong response from you.

As you post more, you should find that it's enjoyable.  If you never do, though, maybe an online presence is not for you.  The important thing is that it sounds like you want to connect more with people.  Online or in real life you're doing a great thing for yourself.  Focus on that and don't take FB too seriously.  Remind yourself that it's just a little ol' website.  It's not something important like World of Warcraft or Words with Friends.  Lose sleep over those, please.  People actually die for not taking those more seriously.  THEY DIE!  THEY REALLY DIE!

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