What I Learned Being Off Facebook For Seven and a Half Months

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

As I type this here, I’m getting ready to log back into Facebook, after a seven-and-a-half-month hiatus. 
Wish me luck, hahaha! 

In the spring of 2016, I decided I didn’t want to be on Facebook during the American election. I was already tiring of some folks who posted their “opinions” and various dividing, dramatic, media links. 

So, I decided to be off Facebook from 4/01/16 to 11/15/16. (I must mention that I still used the Messenger portion of Facebook during this time. There were a couple of times I had to get onto Facebook quickly to log into other apps that I use. Oh well, I didn’t scroll in my newsfeed or go into my groups. On some occasions, some chose to send me links from Facebook to check out certain things and I didn’t look at those. I guess some don’t understand “I’m off Facebook,” which tells you how distracted our modern culture has become!)

I wanted to be under my own influence for a while, not just with the election, but in other areas of my life. I wanted to put a big dent in my decluttering project (which I did). 

I also wanted to get my focus back. I have found during other social media type of detoxes or abstaining from technology that I have always brought about a new sense of clarity, focus, and renewal in various parts of my life. 

This time around, I have to say that I’m emerging as the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. 

My return to Facebook will not be what it was before regarding how I use the site and especially not with how often I used it in the past. I took the Facebook app off my iPhone this past weekend and during my hiatus, I didn’t refer to it once. 

I know that I’m stronger than my habitual ways of being. 

I’m putting some boundaries on my Facebook use and time. I’m going to be on Facebook for a total of one hour per week on one or two days total each week. I also plan on only checking my other social media such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as my emails, texts, and voice messages once per day. 

I’m tired, actually exhausted from constantly being plugged in and feeling others’ expectations that I reply almost instantly to them. Some of it is our digital world creating the feeling we must respond to everything and everyone instantly. I don’t actually blame others, but I do need better boundaries. I no longer want to be others’ free coach or business consultant or online marketer. I’m done with those fields. 

I also can’t be in constant conversation with others. It drains me. I was taking stock and there’s a few folks I enjoy chatting with online, but even my best friend and I don’t talk every day or even every week and our interactions are mostly by email or seeing each other in person from time to time. 

One thing I began to observe about Facebook Messenger on my hiatus from the rest of the app was how much friends of mine write me when they are at work. I’d write back right away because I’m a caring person, but then, I had a revealing truth bomb-y type of thought. I realized some in my life see me as their work break or good time friend. I mean, I don’t have a traditional 9 to 5, but I still do my work during those hours. 

Yes, ugh, I need better boundaries. This is something I will be working on the next few months. I want more of my days back to create art and music on a higher level that will make me happier. 

Yep. I’m reclaiming my schedule and getting my focus back from digital distractions. The distractions not only keep me from doing my important work, but also, when I engage in them, I get quite exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

In the past, I’ve done other social media detoxes. This current one that is ending today is my longest ever and it was related specifically to Facebook. I don’t really care for those top 10 list type of blog posts, but I’m making an exception today and I’m sure my list will be longer than 10 items. In no special order, here are the things I learned being off Facebook for seven-and-a-half months:

  1. Some people care. Some people care deeply. Some people don’t care at all. 
  2. Without your hundreds of “friends,” you will still mostly talk to or see your 5-20 people you love the most. Yep.
  3. Some will say they “miss you on Facebook” when you are standing in the flesh in front of them and your head will spin. You might even feel hurt. Don’t let it. Just accept that some people find social media to be fun or a way to connect. For some of us, we find it alienating and isolating, along with frustrating, to put it mildly. 
  4. Some will say that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch. Yet, they are the same ones who only connect with you once or twice per year. Hmm. Interesting, isn’t it?
  5. I found ways to follow my favorite bands, artists, bloggers, and events that didn’t involve Facebook.
  6. If you are off Facebook, if you are important enough to people, they will find a non-Facebook way to invite you to events. 
  7. Not everyone needs an instant reply. In fact, you don’t even have to reply at all. If you aren’t family or a real friend, I don’t have to reply to you. Nope. Not everyone needs a reply. 
  8. Find your favorite place and spend time there. For me, it’s Instagram. I prefer it to Facebook and it soothes my introvert, hermit, sensitive, and creative soul. I still put limits on how much time I spend on there. 
  9. Life is way better than the media or social media newsfeeds would have you believe. There’s a whole world outside. Actually, the world and you are one in the same. I sort of laugh when folks refer to “the world outside of Facebook” or “the world out there.” It’s all one, right? I thought it was. Did I miss something? 
  10. Political discussions can be quite dividing. I saw some of that play out on Twitter and Instagram. So, I learned don’t ever read the comments. I tended to get my news from other sources such as the BBC and NPR. I felt that some on Facebook love to proliferate negativity by posting rants. I decided that I’m no longer interested in drama, even observing it. No thanks. I will send good vibes to places and people needing it from my yoga mat and do my best to embody love daily in my actions or dealings with others.
  11. Everyone is offended by everything. I’m a highly sensitive person who is liberal and yet, I’m in utter shock or amazement daily at how much folks say they’re offended online on a daily basis. What ever happened to taking responsibility for your emotions? What ever happened to taking action on causes versus just complaining rampantly online about it all? Being offended is easy, cheap, and expected. Why not actually do something to make the world a better place? I do feel small actions help the most. I myself all on my own can’t eradicate the world’s problems, but I can be peaceful, which is me being a part of the solution. 
  12. Some are lemmings. I’m sorry to be unkind by name calling, but if you really think about it, social media is a way to zone out. It’s hypnotizing. It pulls you away from what and who is important to you. It can be insular too, causing people to be comfortable and not seek out other sources of news, information, and such. I don’t care to allow others on a so-called social app to curate my experience, my reality, or my life. I’m not easily hypnotized by what’s popular. If a majority of people are doing something, such as using Facebook, it doesn’t mean that I should do it too. 
  13. I don’t need your approval. Facebook has some cool features like groups. I used to go in them to get support and approval. With my decluttering project, I wanted to see what it was like to pull on my own, inner resources. I learned that I don’t need quite as much support or approval as I thought. I’m very wise, more than I give myself credit for, yep! Regarding approval, you don’t really need it. It’s human to need some, but you don’t need as much as you think you do. 
  14. I can get healthy dopamine hits by doing other things such as learning new songs on guitar, making art, coloring, gardening. walking, cooking, and writing. Scrolling messes up my brain. I prefer to have a calmer mind. I don’t need to self-medicate by scrolling on Facebook. I can scroll on Instagram for five minutes per day and it makes me smile and laugh. Then, I’m done. I get inspiration, but it’s not an addiction. When I post on Instagram, there’s a way to turn off comments too. So, I don’t need the dopamine hit of comments approving of me or giving me compliments either.
  15. Friendship is a precious thing. I feel that at times, Facebook makes it seem trite or impersonal. Nope, that is not how I roll as a friend. I don’t care to have shallow interactions or friendships. If you want to get to know me, you are going to have to spend time with me in person. I’ve noticed how rude it is when you are with someone in person and they pick up their so-called smartphone to look at something on Facebook and part of you wants to scream, “I’m right here! I’m right here!” So, yeah, I’ve had to re-evaluate my friendships and how I spend my time. As I carve out new boundaries, please me kind, patient, understanding and compassionate with me. As I carve out new boundaries, please me kind, patient, understanding and compassionate with me. Thanks.

With love and respect,


(copyrighted by Lisa Selow 2016) 

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