It`s Monday night and you sit at home watching Netflix from a computer. Sure, you went out this past weekend, celebrated a birthday, and started planning for a trip in a month, but it is not enough to cover the overwhelming feeling of boredom and isolation. Sure, you may have hundreds or perhaps even thousands of followers on social media, but in reality, most people are too busy to hang out, talk, or share a moment of their time. Sure, you can walk across campus and engage in numerous conversations, but in the end, conversations only extend to surface level or small talk. Or at least this is what it seems like.
Sometimes, it may feel like you are the last forgotten prisoner in Alcatraz while others live in a distant world separated by unknown forces. Other times, you just try to be thankful for the handful of close friends that make plans to hangout. While this may be either exactly what you feel or somewhat similar to your situation, I am here to acknowledge you and your feelings. It is normal and acceptable to feel this way and more people than expected do experience this sense of disconnection from their extravert persona and reality of close-knit friends regardless of what their lives on social media depict.
Maybe you are the person who hangs out with other people often but then compares themselves to other people`s experiences, birthdays, and/or summer plans on social media. Maybe you feel the need to post everything on social media in order to convince others you are socially productive. Maybe you feel the need to meet goals associated with likes/comments on social media in order to be accepted. Maybe you feel alone when you reach out to others and the conversation goes quickly stagnant or plans are either advised or left unplanned. If so, I know you are not alone because I have been you.
I have and am the person who hangs out with others but then compares themselves to the pictures posted on social media of someone`s birthday with many in attendance. I have been the person who felt "if it`s not on social media, it didn't happen". I am the person who always reaches out to various people first and feelings are not reciprocated. But I learned from my feelings and how to change them because often our feelings, emotions, social media posts, personas, and amount of friends, amount to lies that make us feel bad later when we are alone.
What we see on social media is a complete lie and truly the highlights, photoshopped, and curated moments of someone`s best life rather than their worst. What we see on social media is the thousands of followers another person has but not the number of people that person can call in a time of need. What we see on social media is the curated photos from fun trips, sleepovers, and experiences but not the times they have felt excluded from another person`s plans. What we must learn that even though bad times aren't displayed publicly on someone`s Facebook status, Instagram post, or Snapchat story, they are very much real for everyone (even the socialite with seemingly perfect hair who travels abroad).
My advice to anyone feeling like me: appreciate the other people`s photos having fun while understanding the fun is temporary, a select few friends are much better than multitudes of people you can't call at 2 a.m., ditch those where the friendship seems one-sided, and it is possible to grow relationships from friends to best friends.