The social phobics social media experience

People tend to think that I’m pretty sociable but I’m just like a duck. Looking relatively together on the surface with whole heap of frenetic activity underneath. Facebook is a minefield for those prone to catastrophic thinking. Given that I have a tendency to over explain all of my activities (I can’t even go to the toilet without announcing it in case people thinking that I am rudely walking out on them), here is an insight into the Facebook experience for the socially awkward.

1. Friend requests: sending them

I cannot send friend requests without telling people in advance that I will be sending them.

The conversation goes something like

“If you’re not careful, I’m going to send you a Facebook Friend request”

Or I message them saying something similar. I’m in the playground, twirling my skirt with a dry mouth asking the new girl to be my friend.

I have these super inflated rejection issues when it comes to Facebook. When I think of sending a request there are a number of obstacles to navigate before I press the little button;

  1. They’ll think I’m desperate
  2. If they wanted to be friends they would have already sent me a request already
  3. They’ll realise that I am very dull and post far too many pictures of internet cats

 

2. Friend Requests: receiving them

You would think that for someone with recognised rejection issues, receiving a friend request would be like pay-day and Christmas in one. Sadly it is just as fraught. I start to doubt myself. Like I’ve misrepresented myself in some way. Then I feel like I have to perform for a few weeks so that my new friend doesn’t get buyer’s remorse. So I start posting worthy things so that they can see that I am a smart and compassionate woman with interests besides cats, swearing parrots and lava.

3. Time taken to like things

Sometimes I see a post on my news feed and I go to like it and I realise just in time that it has been posted “Just Now”. I have to stop because if I like it they will think that I am stalking them. Or that I have no life and I’m just sitting here on Facebook all day waiting to like things. Sometimes I hit the button automatically and I am scrambling to unclick it, usually by hitting all the icons first. I love it, I’m sad, I’m angry…Damn it!

4. Saying good-bye on messenger

I end up having these really long conversations on Messenger because I don’t know how to say goodbye. I’m the annoying person that won’t leave your house even though you are obviously yawning, have kicked the cat out, and are standing in the lounge brushing your teeth. I think its rude to look like I’m not invested in this conversation any more so I keep it going much longer than is necessary. This conversation is on life support ……no…you hang up.

5. Not liking NSFW content that you read in case it shows up on your news feed

There’s all manner of really interesting content on my newsfeed. But I can’t like it in case people get the wrong (or worse…right!) impression of me. So I read it secretly, clandestinely. It’s those books that you read at the library but never check out. And then one day you accidently click like or share, and your boss knows that you’re interested in German dungeon porn and questionable cake decorating that look like genitals. (Jokes. I pretty much only look at internet cats)

6. Wondering why everyone has more friends than you

Having written this piece I know the answer to this. Its because I rarely send requests and I don’t always respond to the ones that I do get. This is a problem.

7. The Highlight Reel

All over the internet is the pervasive little quote that reminds people that when they are feeling inadequate on social media because their best mate has bought his second rental property, and everyone’s children are heading to Oxbridge 3 years early, that we comfort ourselves with the thought that people are only showing their best selves and not them crying silently in the hall cupboard and keeping hidden a secret addiction to pringles while their partners have affairs with the dog groomer.

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The issue for me is that I post my dumb stuff. I posted when I spent time stroking my slipper thinking it was the cat.  So this means that if people that if everyone else is posting highlights but I post dumb stuff, then by applying the logic, people think that my dumb stuff is a highlight leaving them to naturally surmise that my life is totally lame. If petting my own footwear is a highlight, then it would be easy to assume that life has taken an unexpected turn for the inane.

8. Forgetting who your FB friends are

You would think that someone so excited to have friends on Facebook would remember who they are. I don’t. And then I am surprised (read: horrified) when someone who I have forgotten is my friend comments on a post in real life. Someone at work will mention that I have put both my legs into the same hole in my knickers, or that I have spent the day wearing a dreadlock as a moustache. I feel exposed! No. Not here! Here I am professional. Facebook  friends surely must conform to the the standard…what goes on tour stays on tour. I always say that I only post what I would be happy for my boss to read. This is true. But it doesn’t mean to say that I want to have a conversation about how I went to the gym smelling of cat pee, of that an earwig fell out of my hair when I was signing a document. My preference is to exchange warm glances and they can feel encouraged by being, obviously superior to me in all ways.

It’s a wonder that I stay on social media at all. Especially since my most liked posts are my husband saying funny things that I just rip off mercilessly. He’s the funny one and he’s not even English. 

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