Why So Serious? The Pressures of Being “Facebook Official”

July 7, 2019

 Photo by Duri from Mocup on Unsplash

 

It seems like whenever people first get into a relationship and tell others about it, the one question that people tend to ask is, “So does this mean you guys are Facebook official?” To some, it may come off as a simple question that can be easily brushed off without a care in the world. They’ll smile and nod their heads, not thinking anything of it. Others, on the other hand, react differently. They might roll their eyes at how such a question needs to be brought up. Or they might clam up at the thought of having to put it out there for everyone they know and are connected with online to see and either praise or judge. So, why do we allow something so trivial to be taken so seriously?

 

If you were to rewind to ten years ago when Facebook was just dipping its toes into the social media waters, then this wouldn’t seem like such a big topic of discussion. Back then, people used Facebook for connecting with others and not necessarily posting and boasting about their achievements or new life updates. It was only seen as a way to reconnect with childhood friends you lost touch with, post embarrassing pictures your friends begged you to take down (even though they already untagged themselves), and using the “poking” tool in hopes that your crush would “poke” you back, which basically meant you two were a thing.

 

These were much simpler times, when we didn’t care so much about having a tiny device with a keyboard and touchscreen always in the palm of our hands --- when we didn’t constantly feel the need to check our phones all the time as a way of distraction. And when we didn’t feel the need to have to validate ourselves by creating a new life event for everyone to look at.

 

Photo by Con Karampelas on Unsplash​

 

In some ways, Facebook can be seen as a dangerous dark hole with barely any escape. It’s like the minute you sign up you’ve given over your power to have total control and say with what you want to post. It almost becomes this competition of whose life is better and constantly checking up on others to see if they’re doing bigger things in their life. We have this unhealthy jealousy towards others when we see them posting about something great happening in their lives instead of being happy for them. It’s this vicious cycle of having to one-up every person you come across on your timeline with a new post.

 

But when it comes to events dealing with personal life, there’s this overwhelming need that it has to be up there for everyone to see. It’s like the moment you get asked out you go straight to your phone to change your status instead of relishing the moment in real life. We have this desire to be heard and seen by others and have their approval on something that shouldn’t have to be a popularity contest. It’s like we forgot how to take in a moment and not care to have everyone involved with you too.

 

We as a society constantly put this pressure on ourselves to be better than one another. Most of the time we don’t even know we’re doing it, but it’s there. We feel like it’s our obligation to tell the world what is going on in our lives and have them be part of it. It’s become such a normal routine for us that we don’t even second guess ourselves because our natural instinct is to just put it out there. Maybe we do it out of insecurity, maybe it’s for the attention, or maybe it’s for validation. 

 

Whatever it is, just know that you don’t always have to make everything so public. It’s okay to make some things private, and that includes your relationship status. So, next time you get asked out, think before you post. Sometimes it’s better to cherish the memory in reality instead of seeing both pictures of you and them in your timeline with a little heart under it. No pressure.

 

Kirstie Devine is 24 years old and is working towards her MFA in creative writing at Western New England University. She is most likely writing, reading a book, at a concert, laughing, petting a dog, or eating french fries. She hopes one day to write a book and have it be in the library in her town.

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