After reading Quiet by Susan Cain, I’ve been thinking a lot about how social media has slowly been demolishing real life social skills while simultaneously making extroversion a competitive sport.
Many introverts suffer from social phobia, or what I like to call – human nature.
Social Phobia (Or Social Anxiety Disorder): the fear of judgement. The fear of making a mistake, being embarrassed, or feeling criticized by others.
Everyone should take peak at this article about one woman’s week long challenge to quit social media entirely. I myself have attempted to do this as well. I completely quit Facebook almost 2 years ago. While I would love to say it was to reconnect with the real world, it was more to run away, to avoid my social phobias.
Living my life on Facebook (and Instagram, too – though I haven’t been able to give up those perfect little squares yet) only aggravated these fears in me. I was constantly comparing my
life profile to those around me and I would find myself embarrassed of things I had no control over. I was embarrassed of the fact that I never left this town while so many of my peers were posting pictures and videos of their adventures abroad and beyond. I was ashamed by the lack of passion I felt. I did not have an exciting career or desirable location. Why? Well, partly because I still have no idea what the fuck I want to do with my life, but also because I have family here that needs me. So I would get discouraged, feel inadequate, and shut down.
My fear of entering a new social situation prevented me from putting myself in situations where I would make new friends or networking connections. I had a picture of what my life was supposed to look like and what I saw on the screen in front of me didn’t even come close. The problem was that I felt lost how to make it a reality.
So I found it was so much easier to not exist – on Facebook at least. I felt more peaceful not having to count the likes or follow the threads or admit that my life was not what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t so much about being popular as it was about being interesting. It was about being someone that people looked at and thought, “Wow, that’s awesome! She’s really going places.” Because the truth is that I’m not going places. I am staying here where I feel safe. And although I would love to be in the mountains, or be able to drive to the beach, or experience big city pride – I would quite honestly rather stay home. I would rather be snuggled with my love, hiding from the world. I am fulfilled by the love that I feel in real life, but only when I stop paying attention to what I may or may not be missing, while the “love” from social media always made me feel desperate for more.