So I realized I'd developed an unhealthy relationship with Facebook: I'd become preoccupied with what was going on there to the point of addiction. Part of it was the immediacy of being able to post an impulse and have it be read by so many people; part of it was this sense that I was connected to this larger web.
There were side effects. One was that I stopped blogging. Facebook satisfied my craving for communication, leaving me no motivation to create thoughtful entries.
Another was more insidious. I spend most of my free time alone; it's just how my life is. I don't have a BF/husband, and I live alone. I meet tons of people through various activities, but few that have turned into real friendships. A woman in my building put it this way: "Chicago is TOUGH when it comes to making friends. It's almost impossible to break into people's groups."
I think of the friends I have in Boston, and the ways we met. We could have easily not turned into friends, but people were easier to bond with. No such thing has happened here. I'm tired of trying to find a tribe.
Before Facebook, I went out, saw movies, had dinner, kept myself busy. It was fine. After Facebook, I did the same thing but then got to read about all the activities my "friends" did while I was by myself. I discovered that the kids I used to sit for had a birthday party. I wasn't invited. I'd post, "Hey, who wants to do XYZ this weekend?" and get no response.
I became lonely, and the lonelier I became, the more addicted I was to FB. It was like the nerd who tries harder and harder to get the cool kids' attention by hanging around all the time, trying to be witty and eye-catching.
I'd stopped looking for activities to go to; instead, I spent hours posting and reading, trying to feel a sense of community, and feeling more and more empty.
Facebook is great for so many things, but it's still just a tool, and I'd let it decide its role in my life. So as of this Friday, the only people I will keep as FB friends are people I know who live out of state. There has been a bit of a response of dismay from local people, but what they don't get is that if they need FB to stay in touch with me while we live in the same city, maybe that says something about their investment in a friendship with me. The people I see and do things with are either not on FB or communicate with me outside of it or in addition to it.
I'm feeling a mix of anxiety and relief, but mostly relief. I can let go of a facsimile of friendship and focus on my real-life life again, get some real perspective. I'll still be here; the people who really want me in their life know where to find me.