It’s 12:03 a.m. and you’re in bed looking at the girl in your chemistry class’s Instagram account. Her last picture? 200 likes. The one before that? 204. The selfie from last week? 216. You look at your own profile. You know off the top of your head that your most liked photo is your picture from prom. And that one only has 124. How is this girl getting more than you? Is she more popular? Prettier? Maybe she buys likes. You’ve heard about that, paying money for likes and followers. The more you think about it, you think that must be the case. Because this blurry picture of her and her boyfriend at a party last night isn’t even that cute. And somehow she’s topping 200. She’s *younger* than you. Shouldn’t you be getting more? Your dress at prom was awesome. And the comments she’s getting? How does she have that many friends? Why don’t your friends comment on your photos? Well, your friends still tell you they love you just…not online for everyone to see. But that prom photo really was great, and you only got six comments. You deserve more than six. Because you really like that picture.

So maybe you’re not getting 200 likes. But you still went to prom. You still like that selfie. You may not need that validation that she’s getting. Maybe it’ll suffice that you have friends that you talk to more offline than on a screen. It seems like you don’t need people to comment on your photos and like your posts to feel good about what you have to say. Your best friend is still your best friend whether she likes all of your photos or not. The next time you’re with a group of people, you don’t need to tell them to like that last photo you posted. If you post a selfie that doesn’t get 50 likes within the hour you post it, you don’t have to delete it. It’s fine just the way it is. You don’t need to keep refreshing the page to see if that cute guy from work likes it. You know your hair looks good in that picture, so you don’t need your friend to comment telling you so. All of that attention and all of those compliments that the girl gets with her 200 likes are just on the screen.

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