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Social Media Is Making You Lonely: Here’s How to Fix It
Social media connects us.
However, some studies have shown that some people actually feel lonelier despite this constant connectedness.
It seems ironic, but it happens. The more time you spend on social media, depending on how you use it, the more likely it is that you will find yourself feeling lonely, left out, or feel the fear of missing out (FOMO).
But there’s good news.
If you feel happy and fulfilled in your life outside of social media, those feelings of loneliness, comparison, and FOMO will find it harder to creep in when you’re online.
Here are some tips on how to find that happiness and combat those feelings for real.
Unplug from Online
Spend less time on social media.
It’s the best way to make sure you’re seeing less of the content that makes you feel left out or lonely. Looking at what your friends are doing online makes it easy to think that you’re not doing anything fun with your life, or don’t have people to share it with. But when you don’t see as much of what other people are doing, you’ll spend less time thinking about it.
You might not want to cut out social media entirely – and that’s ok! But cutting back will make a world of difference.
Set a social media time limit for each day, and stick to it – ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable.
Develop Your Interests
When you decide to spend less time on social media, you’ll find you have a lot of time to spare. Find something you’re interested in doing and use your newfound free time to invest in it! Maybe you love to read – head to the library and pick up a book you haven’t read before. Or shoot hoops. Take photos. Draw. Run. Cook. Learn a new skill.
Anything you like to do that keeps you off of social media for a while is a great idea. If you’re not online, you can’t compare what you’re doing (scrolling through social media) to what you’re seeing (people having fun).
And if you can’t compare, you’ll feel happier and less lonely.
Finding a hobby and developing an interest is great for two reasons. You won’t just take your mind off of what’s going on online – you’ll also be having fun!
Be Around People
A fantastic way to combat loneliness is to simply spend time with others! Set aside some time each week to spend with friends or family members doing something you enjoy.
Maybe it’s playing cards with your siblings, or hiking with your friends, or grabbing a bite with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe it’s watching a Netflix show with a friend or family member that you can talk and laugh about later – together.
No matter what, it’s important to spend time with other people. It’s harder to feel lonely when you have secure friendships.
Everyone is different – some people need constant companionship, while others prefer to spend time alone. But everyone needs people to spend time with from time to time.
Find the people you love to be with and invest in relationships with them. It’s often more fulfilling to have a small number of close friends than a large number of acquaintances.
Structure Your Time
You can plan out your days so that you have enough to do, aren’t bored, and don’t have as much time to scroll through social media.
Make plans to do the things you need to do (like going to soccer practice or school, doing homework, working) and include time to do things you enjoy. Don’t give yourself too much time alone with nothing to do – that’s usually the best time to whip out your phone and see if there’s anything new on Instagram.
Plan to spend time with other people, or work on projects, or do whatever it is you like to do, and make sure you stick to your plans.
If you can keep yourself busy with other things, you won’t be as tempted to check your phone.
Know the Truth
The truth is that people always post the best things on social media.
And they leave off the things they think are boring, everyday, or bad.
So if you see something online that looks better than whatever you’re doing – it’s probably because the person who posted it wants their followers to see the best parts of their life.
But you don’t post about everyday activities like scrolling through social media, feeding your dog, or playing video games. And neither does anyone else.
What you see on social media is a highlight reel of your friends’ greatest moments. Don’t compare the things they post on their best days to what you do on your not-so-great days. You’ll always come up short because it’s not a fair comparison.
So know that you’re not alone. Everyone else has just-OK and even not-so-great days. You just don’t see as much about them online.
Hope for When It’s Hard
Don’t give up.
Remember that social media is a great tool for keeping in touch and sharing your stories – but you don’t need to check it every day. There are tons of other great things to do that will make you feel happy and take away the loneliness you may feel. And you can take comfort in knowing that everyone else has good days and bad days, just like you do.
You’re not alone.
Article written by Nancy Razkalla