I have some confessions about pictures I pulled from my Facebook feed…
In this picture, what you see is my sweet Ru & I, snuggled up happy as can be. What you don’t see is that my best friend was in town
visiting me taking care of me because I really hate it when Josh travels for work for a week and I have to hold down the fort with a 2 & 4 year old.
In this picture, what you see are the cutest little girls ever with their beaming proud Momma. What you can’t see is that this was the day after our social worker told us it will probably be a long wait to adopt a baby, longer than we hoped, and I was still processing and grieving that news.
In this picture, you obviously see my stud of a husband making me a really happy lady. But you don’t see the little fight we got in on our date that day, or the hard decisions we were trying to make about work and family.
I’m not a liar, but Facebook is.
I wasn’t trying to be something I wasn’t when I posted these pictures to Facebook. But because you and I put up our very best moments on social media to show our friends, family, and acquaintances, it paints a picture about our lives that just isn’t true.
I recently told a friend, “I want to hear all about your new job and move! I’ve seen pictures on Facebook and you just look so happy!” She replied, “Well its been really hard and my kids are miserable in our new situation.”
Assuming I knew anything true about her life, based on Facebook, was so silly of me. But I have a hunch that if you are anything like me, you do it too, and we need to quit.
Life is not 1 dimensional. There are always things happening simultaneously in our lives and none of the pictures we post on social media can adequately portray that.
I think we have to be careful about assumptions we make when we look at pictures and status updates.
Instead of seeing a picture and thinking, “Woah, she looks great. Why can’t I be as skinny as she is? And she has such cute clothes! I wish I made more money to take fun vacations like their family does. Her husband seems so great, I bet they are so happy. She is such a good Mom, too!” We should learn to appreciate our friend’s pictures and statuses at face value, “Oh thats cute, I hope they are having a great day.”
When I am with someone in person that just happens to be my Facebook friend, I have been trying to be intentional about asking them questions that embrace the real messiness of our lives. “It’s so good to see you! How is your family doing with the new move? I’m sure there are some really good parts and some really hard parts about it!” Or, “I saw that your sweet little one had a birthday party recently! That’s really fun! How are you adjusting to all the new things that come with having a 2 year old?”
So do we kick out social media all together? Heck no! I love Instagram and mindlessly surfing Facebook when I get a free 5 minutes, err, I mean, 20 minutes before I even know the time has passed. Oh my kids need lunch? Oops!
So, next time I post a picture on social media, feel free to assume that one of the three females in my house just had an epic melt down and my patient husband is dealing with all our drama, while there is laundry overflowing, dirty dishes, work piling up, and a few really messy situations unfolding. That my friends, is our reality! And I will assume that it might just be your’s too!
143 thoughts on “I’m not a liar but Facebook sure is.”
There is of course nothing stopping us from posting the reality of our lives, the significant question is why we choose not to? Perhaps from this perspective, Facebook is very similar to the face we put on when someone asks ” how are you today “. When I am asked this question I try to give an honest and realistic view of how I am, but often you can see that the questioner does not want to listen to your problems. Facebook makes this superficial exchange all the more easy, and would this media be so popular if we were all transparently honest about our situations? It would be a refreshing change but challenging and as there are sad people who are willing to exploit peoples difficultirs, perhaps these frank conversations are best taking place off line. The encouraging aspect is that your post has encouraged a good exchange of interesting views, so not all of Facebook is about ” window dressing “.
Reblogged this on High Style in the Low Country and commented:
I HAD to add this to my wall because the truth in it is so LOUD! Posting about anything, especially this home renovation can be slightly deceiving. What you DON’T see/read in the posts and photos are some of the yucky things that make it OUR experience. Love this gal’s advice to see through that and to SEE your friends for the depth that they are and not just at face value.
Kind of like cropping out the dirty laundry on the floor in a bathroom selfie, or blurring the background of a snapshot in the kitchen to hide the dirty dishes. We want to share our lives…but only the good parts perhaps. A great read…thank you.
Haha! I do this. It is amazing what you can crop out.
Awesome perspective I needed this so bad! It seems right when I need it most God sends me a message through something like this thank you for being willing to put you feelings out there like that.
Thank you for posting this. I don’t have many photos of myself on my facebook profile (I dont care for selfies and Im usually the only one taking the pictures,) but there is one I get frequent compliments on that I hate. It was taken several years ago after I had just drastically changed my hair color, by my husband about a week after he informed he he had been having an emotional affair and was leaving me. The smile is a pathetic subtle attempt even though I was crying, screaming on the inside. The sadness was that this was probably going to be the main picture on my profile that didn’t have my husband in it.
Down the road some, the divorce never happened– the other relationship ended on it’s own and we reconciled and are very happy now– but that picture where “my hair looks great” is not a favorite of mine.
Thanks for sharing an awesome perspective on taking social media at face value. None of us wants to post the full reality of our lives and bring everyone around us down or ask for a pity party. But I definitely need to appreciate that there might be hard times going on at the same time as that awesome photo they posted. Cheers!
Thank you for your transparent spirit and willingness to confess the ugly.
I post both the good, the bad & the ugly.
I learned when I was a youth leader & boarding house mistress the kids won’t come to you with their problems, if they think you are so perfect that you won’t understand. You need to be fallible for them to open up. So I work with the same premise on Facebook.
I love cooking, & most of the time it’s brilliant. My hubby posts brag photos all the time, but the other night I baked a cake to take to a sewing workshop & when I turned my gorgeous orange cake onto the cooling rack the middle fell out. So I posted it.
My sourdough flopped after rising. i posted it.
When I removed all the colour build up from my hair & it was initially yellow, I posted it.
When I spent $160 at chemist warehouse on my RA meds for the month, I posted it.
I’m a professional costume designer & milliner, when I cut a hole in a garment I was making, I posted it.
I just blogged along these lines….on the perceived perfection of each little moment especially on facebook. Great writing – facebook is def a liar!
This article is something I needed to see. I recently lost my husband and reading this just hit home. I take so many pictures of the kids smiling and being funny but never do we share the tears, the heartaches. No one really asks “how are you doing” only on private messages. Thank you for bringing this to light.
Thank You for this.
Thank you for your transparency and honesty!
How very true, I recently lost my mum and as I live in Canada and she lives in England with things going on with my family here in Canada I couldn’t get back to see her and go to the funeral and everyone back in England sees a different story with looking at my Facebook! I don’t want to post all my personal feelings on Facebook, so people don’t know how I really feel!
Reblogged this on The Healthy Habit Lady.
This is very true!!! I never started posting our “real lives” on Facebook until my 12 year old sons cancer came back for the second time! The thing is as a mother with a child with cancer its my job to help bring awareness to this horrifically underfunded monster! Not just cute pics of beautiful smiling bald Angles, but the real world HORRIBLE experiences that our children go through. Also the struggles we face as a family. It’s difficult sometimes to feel like I’m posting nothing but negitivity and awfulness, but when it comes to childhood cancer there isn’t alot of happy times! So unfortunately you will have to see the good and the bad even if that means a lot of bad!
two blogs, a facebook page and a profile and very few people see the carer of 3 with disability, they see the proud and flavour full moments, not the meltdowns (mine) of PTSD and anxiety, the sloppy never getting to jobs, the half done projects, the unmown lawns or smell the smell of something that went into my son’s bedroom and died … honestly what does that boy have in there?
Facebook is often what we wished our lives to be. The smiles, the pride, the beauty … and I don’t regret it being like that because every now and then I can look back and say to myself “see! it’s not all bad!”
So true. It was one of the most challenging things I ever experienced in ministry. Seeing the people face to face in classes I would teach and trying to reconcile who they were there with the things they posted on fb wanting people to believe and the gap was so wide it was mind boggling. I think people hide behind a facade on fb but deep down hate anyone who speaks the truth and posts the true realities of life. Reality is just too hard for some people to deal with.
Absolutely. And it’s not a new problem: letters home could be just as selective. How to be honest to the people who you want to know the truth? How to deal with the fact that some of the people you want to be honest with will almost certainly react in a non-useful way? This is how we end up in the clots of trusted relationships we all do: some people you can tell the truth, some you can’t. Social media is kind of an ongoing exercise in a new kind of public honesty: they can encourage a kind of sharing that might be helpful if we are resilient enough to handle insensitive idiots in our mix—or they can encourage us to construct a facade of happiness. Again, not a new problem (see Simon and Garfunkel’s “Richard Corey”).
My own facebook is pretty realistic. If I’m having a crap day, the entirety of the internet will know I’m having a crap day.
Sorry but I disagree! Facebook isn’t lying. It’s your FB account, you put on it what you wish! Would you put unhappy photos in a photo album?
I would never assume that just because someone’s profile and thread is full of interesting or happy pictures that their life is one big magical fairytale as sadly, that’s for Enid Blyton! We’ve all got ‘life’ that goes on too. 😘
You should know about your ‘friends’ on Facebook, not just what they share with you on FB!
Society (WE) have allowed FB to take over regular phone calls and even texts to friends to regularly and privately say the simple words of ‘hi how are you?’ 🤔
I always write the truth on facebook….but maybe not as much truth as I really want to….that keep for my private diary….can vent there as much as I want and when I feel better in the morning can move on ..
This hit a chord with me ….. i lost my brother to drugs , my mum her son . We travelled for 5 hours by plane to organise a funeral and begin the awful clean up of the aftermath .
It was the most horrible week for my mum and myself . The day after the funeral , i said to my mum ” let’s have the day for us ” we needed a well earned breather . Of course , I posted it on Facebook and received so many likes , remarks like ” I’m glad your having a great time , during this sad time ” ” wow , look at those smiles , you must be having fun , ” it actually hurt me more to see that my family and friends would even think we were having fun , when in actual fact we were heartbroken to lose a loved one in such a sad and tragic way .
Thankyou for writing this . ,makes you stop and think .