Why Your Friends Are Making You Sad

No, the title of the post is not misleading at all. Your friends are making you sad for sure. Not all of them, but just the ones on Facebook. Would you like me to name them?

Relax, I won’t publish the list. Actually, I don’t have to because you can find out yourself. That’s right! You have the power to find who among your hundreds of Facebook friends are making you feel sad and depressed. I learned this from a certain news network with an unimaginative name – ABC [American Broadcast Corporation]. ABC network, in its honestly vetted website, posted today the results of a study conducted by Utah Valley University that reveals something that I had suspected for a long time. Sociologist Hui-Tzu Grace Chou interviewed 425 students about their own judgement of their lives as compared to their friends on Facebook. On average, the participants stated that they consistently feel that their lives sucked compared to the lives of their friends on Facebook. It makes them feel inadequate and depressed that they somehow could not measure up to the great lives that their social network is boasting.

This is not entirely ground breaking, especially if you are the kind of person who makes a lot of observation about things around you. The rationality behind the induced sadness from Facebook is that everyone posts happy, exciting and adventurous things about themselves and their lives on it and we subconsciously compare it with our own lives. Considering the sheer volume of the stuff that gets posted on Facebook, there is no way any one single person’s life can stand up to it. If you doubt this, just switch to the browser tab that has Facebook open – I know you have one right now – and go through the recent posts from your friends. Status updates, photos, videos and location tags, all point to a very active and exciting life. Not many posts or updates about an affected hernia, a picture of being passed out a public stall or a dead pet. Agreed, that the last one would be a bit too depressing for anyone, but consider the other too. People don’t post such things because they make them look boring and possibly unattractive. But posting all the good stuff just makes others sad. It’s a win for your friends and a total loss for you. If there is any consolation, as long as you keep posting a lot of good things from your life, even if they are not real, you will be depressing the living soul out of your friends.

So I guess the moral of this totally scientific study is to stop comparing ourselves with others. That’s a pretty good goal to shoot for especially if you have jocks for friends. Since there is no validation on social networks people project their best impression of themselves and comparing oneself to that image is losing battle. Instead, connect in the real world. It’s been said that it’s pretty good over there.

On a side note, had a brilliant moment of awesomeness today when I got a comment from the original author, Frederic Terral, of the Right Brain Terrain today in response to my hand written manifesto. Although I consider all comments to be special, this one was surprising and sort of blew me away. I wish everyday would start like this.

[Post: 186 of 365] [Days Missed: 61]

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