Fire Your Facebook Friends

Is the Happiness of Others on Facebook Bumming You Out?

Author Ambrose Bierce humorously defines “happiness” as “an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.” Now, as we know, there is always a little truth in humor. For many, it is actually common to feel better about one’s self or one’s situation when facing the misfortunes of another. This is because it is more difficult to celebrate one’s own successes when another’s gains seem superior to our own. For example, How can I get that excited about my new Mazda when my neighbor just bought a Porsche?! Forget the fact that you are different people, with different experiences, backgrounds, and support systems. With most things, what it all boils down to are RESULTS, and we can’t help but view our results differently, better or worse, when comparing them to those of our peers. Seems like this habit is just part of our human nature, and sort of reminiscent of the “Survival of the Fittest” theory in that we naturally strive to outlive or, in this case, out-success our competitors. In the past, these grand purchases and achievements would typically just be shared at parties, ceremonies, or through letters…

But now, there is FACEBOOK! With this online community, one’s happiness is immediately shared with the world via photos, wall posts, comments, likes, and more. Now you can see instantly when people are happy due to this rapid, in-your-face evidence on our computers – and even on our phones nowadays. News of others’ happiness is almost inescapable.

Of course, we want our friends to be happy, but Facebook isn’t just filled with our friends anymore. Let’s be real – we all have lots of acquaintances we met once on our profiles as well as people we actually do not even like anymore, such as exes or friends of exes (whom we only keep in our contacts in order to keep abreast of what they are up to lately). We generally do not like to see these people happier than us!

It just hurts sometimes to see people, especially people we don’t necessarily like, getting the things that we want in life; it reminds us that we haven’t achieved those accomplishments yet. I’ll admit I get jealous at times when people’s relationship status changes from “Single” to “In a Relationship” or “Engaged” or “Married.” In addition, I become envious of anybody who has a newborn, so I do the unthinkable: I hide posts from ALL people with BABIES! This way, I never have to see their dreadfully cute baby pictures or disgustingly playful posts pop up in my news feed. I do this because their pictures and remarks remind me that I don’t have children of my own even though I want them badly. Essentially, it’s not that their happiness depresses me; it’s that it reminds me of what I’m missing in my own life. And this hinders me from enjoying the things I do have and appreciate right now! In the end, it’s better for my own success to hide the success of others, ironically. Otherwise, I feel like I am always behind in the game of life and not drumming to my own beat.

I must also admit that I get especially bitter if I feel the person doesn’t deserve great things because they are spoiled, mean, or undeserving in some other way. With that said, I am ecstatic when I see that my close friends and family members are doing well. This pleases me beyond belief, and I want to “Like” and “Comment” away on their statuses. Basically, when a good person in my close circle achieves success, I want nothing more than to celebrate it. So, when I get bummed out by other people’s happiness on Facebook, I know that it is for one of the following irrational reasons: (1) Someone has UPSTAGED my success making my accomplishment feel less. Thus, I need to recognize that I am my own person (2) Someone I DO NOT LIKE has achieved success. Accordingly, I must “Un-friend” this person because I shouldn’t remain connected online with someone I do not even respect in person (3) Someone has ACHIEVED something that I want to accomplish myself, so I need to learn from their journey toward success and let it inform my own progress toward my goals, not intimidate me.

In conclusion, when a social networking site starts “bumming you out” for any reason, you need to log off or, perhaps, even cancel your account. Facebook should be fun; it shouldn’t be depressing. The larger issue though is, if other people’s happiness (in and of itself) is truly upsetting you, then make some changes in your online habits and, more importantly, your real life habits that are positive and self-empowering. If you start actively pursuing your own goals and then achieving success, then other people’s achievements may not bother you as much. Or, you could always just think about how many people must be jealous of YOU and YOUR FABULOUS LIFE based on all the interesting status updates and entertaining pictures you post!

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29 thoughts on “Fire Your Facebook Friends

  1. Dix Tera

    I feel really bad when i request and they accept it and knowing i been accepted, i say hi to them they just don’t even bother to reply.everytime it has been happening so i go delete them…nd the secondly they send message me n say don’t inbox me and that really fists me off.

    Reply
  2. Crow

    I think a lot of people got the wrong impression from this. When she lists why someone’s happy post would make her unhappy, she specifies that they are irrational reasons, and that she should either recognize them as such and carry on, or realize it’s because she doesn’t like/respect that person, in which case they shouldn’t be on her friends list in the first place. I understand what she means about which people she feels happy for – many of my friends got to go on neat trips to foreign countries and I was happy for them and wanted to see their pictures and whatnot. But when I saw the same thing posted on the pages of people I barely knew, I was just being bombarded with news of “the rest of the world” going the places I wanted to go. It’s an unrealistic picture because we see all these people, who we wouldn’t normally be in contact with (and that’s the big thing), having “better” lives than us and it seems like the whole world is better off than we are. However, for me it’s not that I don’t like those people, it’s just that they represent a cross section of the world that I wouldn’t normally see in such detail for me to compare myself to. Why purposely create those feelings in my life over people I am not really friends with in the first place? So that’s the way I read this.

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  3. An

    I think that it is stupid to be jealous about this, because in facebook everyone puts pictures from their positive moments in life.You don’t know how they life between these moments, and don’t know how much effort they put to get what they want.I know a person who has money nice car nice family, and I am not jealous, because I know how much effort he put to get it all.So instead of getting jealous you can try to achieve something in your life.And this is also funny- people who don’t deserve- how you know they don’t deserve it, if you don’t like them this doesn’t mean that they don’t study and work hard to get what they want.And one more thing – if you collect all your pictures form all your positive events in your life, in facebook it will look like you are living a brilliant life, but in reality the positive moments were just 2-3 times in year.So I think that facebook is stupid thing for stupid people who have to work, but looking at others life.

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  4. ngonzi ronald

    And on facebook we just pass time,as you know sicks of being lonely,,but we dont take confident with facebook frends,,thx,i love all p,ple frome this site,nice work keep it up,thx again,

    Reply
  5. ngonzi ronald

    yo,i do apreaciate all the advaise over there,,all the msg you sent to me it always change ma life,,am in single life,i do apreaciete,keep it up.ngonzi ronald,

    Reply
  6. Hilda Prado-Maddox

    FACEBOOK IS…as FACEBOOK DOES…NETWORKING/ELABORATIONS of SELF IMAGES, THEREIN. FIRE YOUR FB FRIENDS…I SAY NOT! WE ALL tend to fall into the “GREEN EYE MONSTER MODE”, BUT we need to recognize the fact that, we are ALL created equally, with different qualities. One should never judge/evaluate/compare themselves, to others, accomplished abilities. KEEP the connections within FB FRIENDS/ASSOCIATES/OTHERS LESS LIKELY TO DESIRE, YOU’D NEVER KNOW, THEY JUST MAY BE THE ONE, TO INSPIRE YOU, TO GREATER HEIGHTS, within YOUR CAPABILITIES, therein! REMEMBER, FACEBOOK MAKES IT EASY, TO MAINTAIN AN “DIRECT/INDIRECT” CONNECTION, THEREIN, ALLOWING US, TO “ACCEPT/DENY/IGNORE/CANCEL, AT OUR CONVIENIENCE”.

    Reply
  7. Cammie

    Wow i just joined facebook and i really understand melody statement i kinda feel that way anyway without facebook. I am now awaiting for my brother to let me see his page and yes i know i would get depress cause he associate wit mean and undeserving people i now i think ill pass im not interested in his facebook page anymore. Without facebook i still feel bad cause everybody is in a relationship ugly,fat,skinny,cute,handicap,poor,rich,sick,healthy,crazy,lazy but i still cant find myself happy and satisfied relationship wise. And everbody but me have kids and ill be 30 in 2weeks.

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  8. Devakai Wolf

    I find this article very sad. Pathetic actually. If there are people on your fb that you don’t like for any reason delete them or GET OVER IT. We should all be working to be the best person we can be according to our own moral standards, EVERYDAY. Stop judging yourself based on standards other people have set for themselves. That’s their prerogative and if they’re someone you can’t be happy for then you shouldn’t pretend to be their “friend” even on fb! I can honestly say when my friends are happy (all 200+) I feel closer to them ’cause they’re living their lives to the fullest and I’m happier to know them 😉

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  9. Gilles Daigle

    I AM presently living a somewhat severe DPRESSION. I have never been sick and only lost 3 days at work in 40 years; I retired 5 weeks ago. This is the first article I read from you guys. WOW!!!!! It is so true. In fact,I just spent 5 days in the Psychic unit at my local Hosp. and guess what? It allowed me to see that my condition is far from being as bad as I thought before being admitted. When I realized this, I said to myself that, hey Gilles, you ain’t as bad as you thought. Ins’t this close to what you are writing. thanks a Million for allowing me to re-affirm my own assessment. Finally, it is OK to compare one’s self as long as we use it to our advantage. In closing, might I Suggest “Best to NOT GUDGE but USE YOUR GUDGEMENT”

    Gilles

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  10. Rebecca

    I decided that permitting my daughter to lie about her age to get a Facebook account was an extremely bad example to set. I took her off and me and honestly – feel it is another way for big brother to creep in our homes and private lives AND most importantly – steal away the importance of face to face communication with others. I find it a rather childish habit and certainly caters to those that have the extreme need to brag or bully. Dont know about you but I prefer to keep my relationships with those that dont fit in either category!

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  11. LYDIA LEGRAND

    FACEBOOK IS JUST GOSSIPS SHARED MOSTLY AMONG UNINTELLIGENT GOOD FOR NOTHING BEINGS. WHO HAD THAT BILLIANT IDEA ?????? WHEN I SEE THE RESPONSES POSTED TO ACCURATE QUESTIONS OF ARTICLES MAKE ME SICK IN MY STOMACH.

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  12. Lisa

    I truly, truly truly ; ) enjoyed this article. I live in NYC and you can not believe how many conversations and arguments I hear on a simple stroll which involve Facebook postings.

    I myself have limited my log in to maybe once a week and amazingly I am getting closer and closer to my personal goals. I agree Facebook can be a bummer, when you don’t take time to LOG OFF.

    Thanks for the affirmation Melody Lee!

    Reply
  13. Louise Luna

    The author of the piece, ‘Fire Your Facebook Friends’ really should not be writing for a site that alleges to deal with spiritual matters. To say, ‘I especially feel bitter……’ really doesn’t understand the bigger picture. We should never compare ourselves to others on any level. Maybe the person who bought the Porche may not be able to afford it in the long run, and the Mazda owner will have their car. Someone else’s happiness or sorrow is their position on their path in their life. No one should feel glad someone else is having trouble. The whole piece was extremely negative and just for the facts, people lie on Facebook. One can say anything. You don’t even have to use your own picture. No wonder I don’t even read that site anymore, not with wayward pieces like the one mentioned.

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  14. vicki McCall

    I agree I tried to contact family on here I am going through a domestic violence situation and his family was really cruel to me.

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  15. sangie

    People on facebook or your ”so called friends on fb will put things on their updates of what they want YOU to see , only the good and never the struggles or the bad most will not put their struggles as far as i know only what they are doing either drinking a coolatta at the beach or wine at a restaurant lol but not about their debt ridden homes. nobody lives a 100% perfect happy life everybody got issues in their own life so i dont take their so called ”my life is better than yours” bullshit lol im happy for you lol plain and simple im gonna get mines anyways either way or the other too lol no need to be intimidated.

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  16. Mck

    Are you joking? This is the worst article I have ever seen on here. If you see that someone has accomplished something that you want, you should be drawn to it, inspired by it. Don’t balk over it. That is such a childish,unevolved way of looking at things. Fire people in your life or from your facebook for being jerks, or wrongdoing. Not because they have something that you don’t.
    That is showing intolerance for not having your own way, right away. Be patient and the things you desire will come to you when they ae supposed to, or you’ve earned them.

    Why care if someone got a porsche when you got a mazda? Last I checked, there are more important things in life. Be glad that you have that mazda because there is a single mother out there who can barely feed herself that is struggling to raise her kids that has to take the bus every day in the sun,snow,rain.
    If you feel like you are missing out on something, look at those less fortunate than you and appreciate what you have.

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  17. nancij

    loved the column and gina’s comment

    I stay off friends stuff
    they are mostly frenemies

    I have enough to fill my time
    i prefer to learn to focus on my goals right now

    thanks

    Reply
  18. Sandra E Wright

    Naw, there OK sometimes, I really don’t get on Facebook to slander or make problems, and I am basically happy for everyone who does something good, great, or wonderful for themselves.
    But there are alot of Haters out there, who would love for those of us who are doing something good, to fall, and fail. But basically I just like to get on to my page and read what everybody else is saying. I stand my ground. And just like someone says: much of it is a myth.

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  19. Susan

    It is a fact that we love to know what’s happening with our families and friends, but one disadvantage of Facebook is that “OLD FLAMES or CRUSHES REKINDLES” even if they haven’t seen for decades. It destroys families. Facebook’s intension is to find friends to have communication with each other but sad to say, they chat and that’s it, families are destroyed.

    Reply
  20. Angelica C.

    I’m so glad to have read this article, because I thought it was just me being insecure or immature and that something was wrong with me that all my old friends are (seemingly) happily married and at my age I have never been. And when I found myself questioning myself and getting the why not me woes, yes I did stop visiting the site so often.

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  21. Dee

    That’s why I only have FB to follow companies for freebies and giveaways. I prefer to keep people I might know in the past, were they belong.

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  22. kim

    i disagree w/ this article…i am always happy and NOT depressed by other peoples status on FB. i love to read about how well they are doing i am always greatful for the good things that happen to them i can honestly say i have never been jealous or depressed because some one i know or hardly know on FB has good fourtune…my own status has its ups and downs and while i post middle-of-the line status updates i do NOT glout or have a “i’m better then you” attitude i do think too much info is not good from some people but i think social media has helped more people then hurt them…people need to lighten up …if someones FB status is going to make someone depressed or jealous because of something someone post that person would most likely have the same reaction if they heard it thru people-people contact/phone calls or other “old fashion” ways of communications

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  23. Carmen Knopfette Honacker

    Ha, I loved this article. I am an avid “deleter” of those who no longer serve my well-being. I couldn’t care less what people who don’t like or respect me, and vice versa, have been up to. Hence, I delete them. It seems really inauthentic and a bit slimy to befriend/remain friends with those who you badmouth, or who badmouth you! 😀

    Reply

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