About 4 years ago, my friend group from high school gave out superlatives to each other, and I was voted the "we need a photo" friend.
I made sure to get selfies, group pics and candids with my friends every time we got together. I spent more time taking pictures than I did actually enjoying spending time with them.
After reflecting on my compulsive picture-taking, I realized this was because I was trying to impress people that followed me on social media.I didn't have many friends growing up, and I wanted to make up for it. I was super jealous of the popular kids who had hundreds of pictures of their friends on social media. I wanted to be just like them. I was trying to prove myself to people that literally couldn't care less. I continuously filled my social media with pictures of my hangouts with my friends. I wasn't truly connecting with them because I was too busy obsessing over revamping my social media to reflect my "social butterfly" persona
I tried to keep up the habit of documenting every moment I spent with friends when I started college, but I found myself shedding my "we need a photo" mentality as I formed more meaningful friendships.
After bonding with my college friends (who I know will be my best friends for life), I realized I hardly ever touched my phone when I spent time with them.
That's because I didn't want to touch my phone. I just wanted to enjoy their company.
Most of my memories with my friends that involved taking lots of pictures are pretty fuzzy in my brain. I don't remember much about the who, what, where, when and why of our get-togethers, so I rely on pictures to jog my memory.
However, my most vivid memories with my friends are the ones where my phone was out of sight and out of mind.
For example, on July 24, 2016, I spent the day with my best friend.
It was cloudy but not raining, and the temperature was decent.
She was wearing a navy blue button-down shirt, a pink and orange scarf and hoop earrings. I was wearing an olive green shirt and black Nike shorts.
We spent the first half of our hangout in her room doing laundry and applying to the same job at Buffalo Wild Wings while jamming out to R&B.
After applying to jobs, we had a heart-to-heart with her mom (who is basically my second mom) who was wearing a grey t-shirt and a scarf on her head.
After that, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. I got my usual boneless wings with medium sauce, and she got lemon pepper and garlic wings.
I was able to remember all of that with no camera in sight because I was focused on her instead of Instagram.
When I stopped connecting with my followers and started connecting with my friends, I noticed I was much happier.My relationships became much more satisfying, I was having more meaningful conversations with people, and I didn't feel so isolated anymore.
I now realize I was the one holding me back. I chose to look into a camera lens rather than looking into my loved one's eyes.
Social media definitely has its perks, but don't let it hinder your relationships.
Human relationships are the most valuable things we have, and no amount of Instagram followers can change that.