Why I’m Finally Joining Facebook (and why I waited)

Good morning all! This week I’m posting a series on balancing the past, present, and future. Today’s post is about confronting personal history.

There are many reasons why I avoided joining Facebook for the last six years. Concerns about privacy, wasted time, and nostalgia for “genuine interactions” top the list. Recently, I realized another reason.

As I mentioned, I’ve moved several times. Moving is always stressful and I often feel homesick, but there are benefits.  Sometimes, it’s easier to grow and evolve in a new environment with new people. I took this to the extreme, often detaching from most of my friends. When I moved I didn’t just leave a geographical place: I left my friends and the person I was with them.

Facebook is a trail that leads your present life back to the past. It’s a thread that sews through time. I wanted none of that connection. Why?

In some instances, I realized some friends were a negative influence and I was better off without them. To me, Facebook is an open door those frenemies can walk through anytime.

I let go of other friendships because of the version of me they knew. I, like many people, am not proud of all the decisions I’ve made. Rather than have people around reminding me of my mistakes, I let those friendships fizzle as I struggled to change and develop as a person.

So why join now? I’ve seen Erin reconnect with people through Facebook and this blog. When I went home with Mike and saw him with all of his friends, it made me nostalgic for a past I erased from my present life. In addition to wondering about my fragmented history and the people who mattered most throughout it, I want to stay connected to friends and family now.

Via

The people I care about most are scattered across the country and the world. While I would love to see them in person, talk on the phone, or exchange letters–I often don’t. Facebook, for all of its faults makes maintaining long distance friendships easier.

Finally, I’m at a place in my life where I am comfortable with who I am and I value my friendships. I’ve learned not to befriend negative people. Thoughts of hitting the road and leaving it all behind haven’t entered my mind since I moved to NYC. I feel at home here and I’m building a life on rock, not on shifting sand. I’m learning to embrace the present and create a future (more on those later).

I’ve realized I can’t live a balanced life while I’m haunted by the past. To me, Facebook is a dark room potentially harboring the ghosts of my past. It’s time for me to walk in and turn the light on.

What are your likes and dislikes about Facebook? Do you have any ghosts from your past you try to avoid? 

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10 comments

  1. I understand why people like Facebook. Most of my college friends are on it and use it to keep up with each others’ lives. I get it.

    I actually joined back at the end of my college years, when you still needed a .edu e-mail address. And I found a lot of pettiness and drama perpetuated because of it. I later left. I still see via friends where a lot of pettiness and drama is perpetuated via facebook.

    On one hand, I am still friendly with and close to a lot of people from college, and it would be nice to see some of the minutae of their lives and feel a bit closer to them.

    On the other hand, a lot of family members of mine are also on Facebook and I have no interest in them seeing my every update, old pictures of me doing shots in college, etc. I have just enough contact with the majority of them and don’t need more. And I don’t really want to make it easy for people from high school to find me. If they were truly curious, I’m not difficult to find online; I’m on linkedin, twitter, yelp, etc.

    I don’t mean to sound overly negative. I get why people use it. I’ve just decided it’s not for me.

    1. It’s funny – when it first started, I used it MUCH more. Now I’m on there to do things like post links to my blog or check to see if certain pregnant ladies are now officially mamas.

      1. Reinita, I have some of the same concerns as you. And I hope by waiting I’ll avoid some of the drama.

        Helena, those are two of my top reasons for joining: blogs and babies!

  2. I completely empathize with the idea of “no longer being who you once were”. I feel like no matter how hard I try or far I think I’ve developed, there are some people who expect the same old reactions from me about everything and it’s tricky to spend time or interact with them.

    Get to know your Facebook privacy settings and filters for your homepage. Certain negative people with whom I feel I “have” to be friends are filtered so I never see what they are doing.

    1. Exactly! I hate that when people assume you’re the same person you were years ago.

      Thanks for the tip. I have a lot to learn about the privacy settings! Since I joined so late I think I’ll avoid some people looking for me, but I’m trying to figure out all the privacy and filter options too.

  3. This is a really insightful post and you’ve hit upon a few feelings I’ve had toward both Facebook and moving that I didn’t take time to notice. I’ve lived in a new place every year for almost the past 6 years. I always thought, “Oh I’m just not good at keeping in touch with friends.” when in reality I pushed them out of my life as soon as I was making another move. All of my attempts to move and “start new” were hindered by Facebook chronicling my past. I’ve since been able to open up more to people and I don’t mind the social media nearly as much.

    1. I said the same thing about being bad about keeping in touch! Glad to feel someone feels the same way and figured out a way to deal with the social media. Thanks for sharing!

  4. […] morning everyone! This week I’m writing a series of posts on balancing the past, present, and the future. This post is about the Future! I had to put this image […]

  5. EsotericElle · · Reply

    Very great post. And I totally agree with most of what you said..Most people allow Social Networks do consumer theri entire life instead of just having it there to catch up on silly bit and pieces of people they once knew and perhaps might not care to keep knowing. But it is always nice to touch-base with your childhood friends without having to spend hours on the phone and ignoring priorities.

    I would be THRILLED if you visited my blog dear blogger. I would be so honored if you took a look at my writing. I’m an aspiring writier…and it would mean SO MUCH. Thanks in advance dear!

    esotericelle.wordpress.com

  6. Oh d-d-d-dear dear · · Reply

    My life is an episode of “American Horror Story.” There are ghosts everywhere, and even the ones with malicious intent have a certain degree of comfortability. Maybe because the frenemy you know…

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