When Social Media Lies about Friendships (A Few Things to Remember)
Let me set the scene for you:
It’s Saturday night. The kids are in bed, you’re sitting on the couch in your jammies with a cup of tea or decaf coffee. Or wine. Or straight whiskey on the rocks. Whatever floats your boat.
You’re scrolling through your social media feed and seeing posts showing what everyone else is up to this weekend.
One friend is out with a group of other girls, having drinks. #LoveTheseGirls #GirlsNightOut
Another is in Vegas with her besties from college #MomsWeekendAway #VegasBaby
Someone else is bragging about this crew of women she can always count on #rideordie #squadgoals
Your favorite blogger posted on Insta about a life-affirming coffee date she had with one of her favorite people earlier in the week. #blessed #relationshipsareeverything
Then you see that a group of YOUR FRIENDS have gotten together for a birthday and didn’t include you #HBDJen #Bestiesforlife
And there you sit. Alone. Just you (and maybe Carlo Rossi or Jack Daniels or Earl Grey), looking around the friendscape of your own life and finding it to be pretty bleak.
Nobody called to invite you anywhere this weekend. Or last weekend. Or the weekend before that.
If you had decided to up and go out yourself, you’re not even sure who you would have called.
Maybe you’ve got some anxieties gripping your heart and mind and you’re not sure you could have gotten up the gumption to go or would have had to leave early, even if you had been invited.
You think back to rejections and betrayals in your past, the hurts come rushing back and start to make you think there’s something wrong with you- or maybe there is something wrong with other people. You just can’t trust them.
And you head for bed, turning these things over and over in your mind, wondering why it seems so easy for everyone else and yet it’s so danged hard for you. And your heart is heavy, your soul is weary, and you are lonely.
Been there? Me, too. Girl, I have been there and back again.
And I’m here to share with you something I’ve learned along the way. Come a little closer...let me whisper in your ear…
IT’S. ALL. LIES.
(Well, not all of it. The pictures are true. But these stories we make up about ourselves and others as we look at them- those are lies, or at best half-truths)
You see, Social Media is like your family scrapbook, only better (and worse). It’s filled with all of the best memories and biggest smiles, the high points and highlights, with the added special kick of rapid fire camera phones and Instagram filters so we can pick shot with the BEST angle and then slap a filter on it to make our skin look just so.
It no more shows the real and complete pictures of people’s lives and friendships than does that smile-filled photo album of the 1990 family road trip to the Grand Canyon where everyone actually fought and puked the whole time.
The real stories behind those pictures may not look much different from yours.
Maybe that was THE ONE THING some of the #momsnightout girls had been invited to do in months.
One of the #VegasBaby girls had to wrestle down some serious anxieties to get on a plane and share a hotel room with three other people and is STILL not sure if she’s having a good time.
It could be that the reason that one #rideordie squad is so tight is that they’ve all experienced the same deep rejections and betrayals that you have and so appreciate one another that much more.
Perhaps that group of friends who didn’t invite you to celebrate #HBDJen just completely forgot (“I thought you were going to text her!” “No, you said you already had, I swear!”)- or maybe they DID leave you out on purpose in which case, those are not ACTUALLY your people because people who would do that to people are not YOUR people.
And as for that blogger who had the #blessed coffee date, it’s her JOB to make her life look like it’s all that and a bag of potato chips. Maybe the coffee date was all she said it was and maybe it wasn’t. Who knows? You don’t!
Social Media is a great thing, really. It’s fun, fabulous, and often meaningful to keep up with the best moments of our people’s lives. But we have got to keep the comparison trap in check, to keep at bay the lies that prowl our borders as we scroll.
Here are a few things to remember in those moments when Facetagram or SnapBook or whatever starts to whisper untruths to you, about friendship or anything else:
Remember that “Real to Reel” comparisons are a lie. When you look at those pics, you’re not seeing the whole story. Don’t compare your REAL life to their highlight REEL. There are stories behind those pictures and more often than not, they probably look a lot like yours.
Remember that God don’t make no junk. You are no less worthy of love and like and friendship and relationship than anyone else. Even and ESPECIALLY with all the warts and quirks you see in yourself that you never seem to see on others’ Instastories. And this is also true of other people. They are worthy of like and love and just because you’ve met a few bad apples doesn’t mean that the perfect ones aren’t out there waiting for you to find.
Remember that you can do hard things. Actively seeking friendship can be HARD work. And BRAVE work. It can make us do things that we don’t wanna do, like sending a text that could go unanswered or spending an hour finding a decent, non-sweatpants outfit so we can go to a gathering that intimidates the heck out of us. Sometimes, it may require medication or therapy. I’m serious, here. Social Anxiety is an actual thing and fighting back may take some help- and getting that help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you stronger than you know.
Remember that friendship and connection are worth the hard and brave work. We are creatures created for connection. There is an ache in our souls for it. Even if you are 100% introvert on all the quizzes and personality assessments ever, you still need it. I promise. You CAN and WILL find people who are your jam.
So now, I have a few invitations for you.
The first is to the Project Mother Facebook Group. It’s a place for you to come and connect with other moms online. If making friends is hard for you, come talk to us about it. You are not alone in this, I promise.
The second is to our #MotherLocal Groups. Actual meetups in your community where you can connect with other moms. If there isn’t one where you live and you want to take the brave step of starting one, we are SO here for that. Reach out and we will support you all the way.
And the final invitation is to just reach out to someone right now. A friend, the next mom you meet at a park, whatever. Reach out and tell her you’re thinking of her, invite her to coffee, don’t let her go another week, another month without knowing she’s been invited somewhere. You can start the change you want to see.
Remember that YOU are someone’s #squadgoal just waiting to happen.