Why Facebook Can Be Toxic To Your Relationships With Family Members
It wasn’t easy to unfriend but necessary
People use Facebook for various reasons. Some people use Facebook for business only, while others use it just to unwind. But, there’s another category of Facebook users and they rely on it for almost all forms of communication.
It’s been my personal experience that by using Facebook as your only source of human interaction can be harmful in more ways than one and I’d like to explain why.
As humans we tend to be much more reactionary online and presumptuous at times. You can’t read tone, so there are times when someone is trying to convey something with a personal message- that message may be misinterpreted because you didn’t hear the tone of the person’s voice. We can even misinterpret lack of responses from people we care about as a statement. Maybe if you are not hearing back from someone you care about, you may assume they don’t want to respond for whatever reasons and this can lead some people to become reactionary. It’s too easy to type something to another person that we wouldn’t necessarily say to their face. The end result, we can ruin relationships without ill intent. You can’t delete what you’ve written in a private message on Facebook and it may forever haunt you if you write when your angry.
I have misread tone, I’ve written to a few I care about on a whim when I’ve been hurt (regrets, yes) so, I decided last week that I was going to clean out my friends list and keep it much less personal.
I decided to unfriend certain family members who use Facebook as their only means of communication and I will write letters again like I used to before the dawn of Social Media interactions. I want real human connections like we used to have, something I feel gets lost when people forget that virtual communication is vital for healthy relationships.
I’m going to continue to unfriend certain people I care about with the hope that we can re-kindle our relationships through phone conversations and/or writing letters. Remember, if you write a hand written letter, especially if you are angry, you will probably revise it more than once. After revising the letter written out of anger, chances are you will lighten up and throw the letter away. You can’t throw away an email or instant message. I don’t want regrets, I want relationships to thrive.
It may sound counter intuitive to unfriend certain people you really care about but, I believe if they care too, by reaching out ‘the old fashioned way,’ can only strengthen a relationship. It also saves people from assuming everything that you may post is ABOUT them. I admit, I post memes that are sensitive at times but they are not directed at others (well maybe on occasion), see how that works?! Anyhow, the point is this, if others assume something you post is about them they won’t tell you but may begin to avoid you.
So why risk avoidance with people you love and care about, just go back to the way things used to be before you were using Facebook. Hey, there’s this nifty thing called a telephone too, instead of texting, pick up the phone and call. Make your time matter, get in the car and spend more time visiting those you love. It’s much nicer to see people in person vs. seeing photos on Facebook. I love seeing photos of those who live too far from me to visit on a regular basis but I stand by the idea that we need to have more virtual contact with each other instead of online contact.
I will continue to use Facebook for networking purposes and just to unwind but I’ve made an honest decision to work harder on personal relationships the old fashioned way- without the use of Facebook or any Social Media platform. I look forward to writing letters again, sending more cards and I’m hoping to hear my phone ring a bit more.
Facebook is great for many reasons but it doesn’t come close to substituting for real life interaction.
What about you, do you do most of your communicating on Facebook or do you still make it a priority to keep in touch with loved ones outside of Social Media?