Friendship - Blog

How Will You Feel Loved If You’re Not on Social Media?

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Have you ever deleted a photo because it didn’t get enough likes? I have.

I remember a time when I clicked refresh on my notifications for about the tenth time in a minute. My husband, watching quietly, asked, “Did you post that photo of us because you’re proud of me, or do you just care about the likes?”

Ouch. In that moment, I knew I had a problem.

My job revolves around social media, and I believe there is a lot of good in it.

Social media offers us an unprecedented means of connecting and communicating with people all over the world.

Yet somehow it can simultaneously create a disconnect between us and the people around us.

Excessive use of social media cultivates loneliness.

Social media is designed to create a sense of community. But this doesn’t guarantee we will experience the relationships we really need.

If we rely on the digital world for our relationships, it can distract us from going deeper with the people in our physical space.

Facebook has admitted in a press release that “when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.”

Real people need to connect with real people in real time. It can be harder, messier, riskier, but ultimately it’s what we were made for.

Social media is a poor substitute for an encouraging word.

We all want encouragement and affirmation at times. That’s natural. And in our world today, social media has become the go-to place when that’s what we’re seeking.

Not only is it easy to let people’s reactions to a photo post define our moods, but those likes have also become a replacement for verbal compliments and displays of appreciation and love.

Think about your birthday. Perhaps you can remember a time when you used to get lots of cards on your special day. How many of them have been replaced by a like on social media or a scripted comment?

We’re more likely to post about how our friends make us feel than to tell them to their faces.

Social media affirmations just don’t feel as powerful, whether you’re giving or receiving them. And coded criticism of others online lacks integrity and genuine courage.

So how do I keep social media in its place?

  • Experience more, document less. When was the last time you went to a special event, left your phone alone, and just took in the moment without taking 100 attempts at the perfect photo?
  • Put down the phone and grab lunch with a friend. Ask more questions. Pay attention to the other person. Find friendships that go beyond the digital world.
  • Show love or respect through a verbal compliment, an action or a personal letter. Foster your relationships face-to-face before you put screens between you.
  • Delete apps from your phone. Wait, what? But how will I navigate the day without them? Maybe you’ll give someone else an opportunity to help you. Maybe that will make it easier for them to ask you for help when the time comes.

So does my husband still call me out? Yes, all the time.

But we went on a cruise recently, and I enjoyed the liberating feeling of not even being able to use my phone.

We talked, we read, we made friends and had conversations with the people around us.

Yes, I posted an “adorable” photo of us as soon as we got to wi-fi. But then I put my phone down, looked up from the screen and took in the incredible view in front of me.

Now imagine you’re in a special moment like that and your phone starts buzzing with people loving that photo just as the person you’re sharing the moment with wants to enjoy it with you.

What would you do?

While you’re thinking about this, here are some ideas for where to go next:

 


Where Do You Find Your Value?

Feeling valuable can influence your emotions, decisions and mental well being, so finding your value in things that last is important. Are the things you find your worth in satisfying you?

Sign up for our email series to learn more about placing your value in things that are truly satisfying.

 

Angela Towle 

serves as a Social Media Strategist with Cru. She grew up in Jacksonville, FL.
When she's not finding new ways to reach people through social media platforms, she loves reading mystery novels and going to Disney. Contact Angela at angela.counihan@cru.org.

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