Scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I’m met with a typical stream of the usual photos and status updates. An old school friend has ‘just arrived in Cyprus and already on the cocktails!!’, a uni friend has ‘checked in’ to a fancy restaurant with her ‘one and only’, and there are of course the endless pictures of everyone’s amazing night out at the weekend. It’s a similar theme over on Twitter, and once you get to Instagram, there isn’t a grey sky in sight.
Needless to say, if my old friend’s accommodation had been a let down, if the date night had begun with a row over money, or if Saturday night’s antics had actually been one of those nights where the DJ was pants, everyone had to look after the emotional drunk and the taxi was ordered early, then those of us scrolling on Facebook would never know. And this, of course, is only natural; why would we want to share our mishaps with the world? If we are going to have a permanent, public exhibition of our lives, it’s understandable that we miss out the not-so-great parts. What’s more, if we treat our Instagram accounts or our facebook profiles as a documentation of our memories, then a showcase of our best times would be far nicer to look back on.
There are of course the moaners, the ‘hate-staying-in-on-a-Saturday-night-ers’, the ‘cracked-my-phone-screen-FML-ers’ – you know the ones. And yet they are only doing just that, moaning, about life’s little annoyances, usually with the hope that people will comment sympathetically and everything in their universe will then be restored. No one is talking about the genuinely tough times, that at some point we all go through. No one is updating their status about how they are still not coping, all this time after the death of a loved one, or how they are trapped with an emotionally abusive partner, or how behind all the baby photos, they are actually struggling with post-natal depression.
More often than not, this is the way things should be. Personal problems are best shared with those that truly care about us, not people who went to your primary school but that you wouldn’t so much as nod to in the street, or that boy you went on a couple of dates with but haven’t spoken to since. And yet, when browsing on social media, you’d be forgiven for thinking everyone else’s lives are perfect, that their lives are strictly care free, fun and exciting, their biggest problems being a missed bus or having to return their new dress.
If you’re anything like me, and you find yourself killing time by having a good nosey at peoples lives, it’s easy to slip into a classic case of life-envy. This is probably worsened by the fact that we tend to check social media when we are bored and on our own. When we’re the ones having the fun we’re far too busy to be checking Facebook. Before social media, we didn’t have a constant stream of our friends’ lives seeping in to our day-to-day, asking us to compare, asking us, though indirectly, if our lives are as fun, as glamorous or as photo-worthy?
But it’s important to remember nobody lives their life going from one good thing to the next, whatever their timeline looks like. We all, understandably, make our lives look that little bit rosier, that little bit more fun-filled than, in fact, they are; nobody wants to hear about your day spent in your joggers cleaning the bathroom and watching day time TV. So the next time you catch yourself scrolling through social media and envying someone else’s life, remember that they could be doing exactly the same thing, because their life is likely no more perfect than yours.