I’m not a liar but Facebook sure is.

I have some confessions about pictures I pulled from my Facebook feed…

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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.

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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.

10959617_10101604449966544_6846384602493608323_nIn 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.

    • AdjustedSails says:

      i so agree. i choose to live my life as authentically as i can possibly stand. that means that when a great friend was in town and wanted to drop by, and i found myself fussing at my kids, “pick those toys up like i told y’all before. why are your clothes still on the ironing board? you haven’t showered yet?” i called my friend to reschedule and said (in front of my kids) that i didn’t want to be fussing at my kids (partially b/c i wanted them to prep for company, then put on a big smile when they got there as if we were all happy-go-lucky. we weren’t. each day, i strive to live more authentically. glad others do, as well!

    • Valencia Greenidge says:

      This should totally become a trend where ppl. post what goes behind the scenes of a picture, whether it be genuinely good or ratch! We should share both the mess and the beauty of having a genuine smile and coming out on top even when life is really hard at times. This can save a lot of lives, as I genuinely believe that some ppl. become suicidal because they have feel like they don’t measure up to the rest of society. I think that beauty comes from openess and the love and grace that we receive from God and others despite of all of our past and present imperfections:) Hello Car Insurance Companies; News Flash-Nobody’s Perfect !!;)

  1. Kyle says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I was actually thinking about this the other day, and how I wish social media created a space for people to be more real. I feel like recently I have experienced that tension of wanting to post a picture, but then realizing there was so much more behind the photo. Well said πŸ™‚

  2. akismet-63e2ca2a673fb10452d4cbe2d006c9df says:

    Maddie! Love- Love- LOVE this! The line that really jumped out at me was- LIFE is not one dimensional! There are so many things swirling and twirling- a roller coaster of joys and sorrows, hilarity and anxiety all mixed together. Agreed- we have to be intentional to think about our friends and realize the picture is only- “part of the picture” πŸ™‚ But I do have to say- I like the positive users of FB much better than the people who rant and sigh and constantly complain! hugs and blessings. I love you all to pieces!

  3. SierravBrock says:

    I LOVE this! Refreshing. And I can tell you weren’t attacking social media or the people who use it, rather simply giving a 2 dimensional view. I like how you put it into words! I have had similar thoughts to this post. Thanks! I’ll be following you!

  4. audraohm says:

    So great!! Thanks for putting into words what I so desperately feel! Beautifully written! Praying for your adoption process. We just got done adopting our sweet baby girl. If it’s any help we went through a Christian consulting company that helped us through all the bumps. Let me know if ya want to chat about it. ❀️

  5. Bailie Malay says:

    This really hit home for me on a variety of levels.

    We are in the process of trying to adopt two kids that are currently our foster placements. It is an emotional rollercoaster and some days I smile because if I don’t I’d cry.

    It is a beautiful, crazy, blessed life I lead but some days I am extra thankful for my friends that ask about my life and not about my facebook posts ❀

  6. Lisa Gigliotti-Cassarino says:

    Thank you for this…there are so many times my thoughts were exactly the ones you posted after viewing FB pics, but had to remind myself that that’s what they are just snapshots of that moment not the everyday nitty gritty of life, so thank you again for getting real!

  7. Denise says:

    Great post! Thanks so much for your honesty, it’s so true. A lot of us have our smiles that we can easily pull out for a photo in the moment but it doesn’t always tell the full story. Love that and thank you for posting ❀

  8. Tamara says:

    I enjoyed your post. What I see when I look at your photos is that God gifted you with some incredibly joy-filled moments in the midst of life. You are right – just because it isn’t on FB doesn’t mean it isn’t happening (contrary to popular belief), in fact, to be alive is to have disappointment, pain, suffering and sadness. This is a broken world. But to have a place to look and remember that even in those VERY trying days (weeks, months, years) there were moments of joy. That is a gift… and a message of hope to others walking through life also. The key is remembering to make that phone call that checks up on your friend and not just assume because you’ve been Facebook stalking her your relationship is up to date.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Michelle says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing. It can be easy to compare each other and get down in the dumps when you see everyone having the time of their lives on Facebook! Thanks for the reminder that everyone has their struggles!

  10. Kelly says:

    Great Post. I feel like I post about this very subject a lot but it’s still so good to see someone else taking notice and reminding us all that life is messy a lot of the time and we’re all humans with flaws. We all have our stuff going on behind the pictures and the captured moments. Glad I’m not the only one who argues with my husband just before snapping a cute selfie=)

  11. amber says:

    So true! It’s tough when people just automatically assume your life is great base on the things you post. This is a reminder we all need! Thanks for sharing!

  12. unfoldthis.wordpress.com says:

    Such an amazing, well-written and thought provoking piece. I couldn’t help but smile reading through it. It’s so easy to forget sometimes that what you see isn’t always what you get, which is why it’s probably better to ask than assume…

  13. noelgiger says:

    A friend recently commented on a photo “you always look so pretty!”

    I replied “actually, when I feel like I look really pretty, I take a picture and put it on Facebook so that we can all pretend that’s what I look like all the time!”

    I’ve made a conscience effort to embrace the messiness and day to day drama, while still staying upbeat and positive. It’s important to be transparent if you are seeking authenticity!

    I loved your article πŸ™‚

  14. Dee says:

    This is great! I feel like FB has become “the Christmas letter” only it’s 24/7/365. And no, I never sent Christmas letters!

  15. Julia Smith (@jannsmith13) says:

    Thank you!! I, too, have looked at the happy pictures of my Facebook friends and assumed their lives are so much better than mine. This has reminded me to see with eyes of gratitude and compassion – we are all human and messy.

  16. Mikaylah says:

    thank you so much for posting this! I am often guilty of scrolling through Facebook and thinking to myself that all these people are sailing through life and often forget that they have struggles too….

  17. Marie says:

    The context of your post and the substance of the comments illustrate a need for more mindfulness in how we frame the narrative of our experiences in the public space of social media. This is an important conversation, one which demands individual accountability and conscious connectivity that celebrates more authentic sharing.

  18. lifeofatravelingnavywife says:

    This is a great post.

    I am also a blogger and I post the good, the bad, the ugly… I am a frequent business traveler who often feels like an F minus wife. Suitcase explosions in the living room, expense report hell – piles of receipts on the living room floor, a bad day at the office or struggles with being a step-parent – my readers know about it because life is not all unicorns and rainbows. I try hard to ‘keep it real’. It’s good to see others sharing personal things and doing the same.

  19. Lacey Charrene says:

    I am so going to reblog this on Lacey’s Legacy. This is such a good article. I shared it last night on my Facebook. This is an issue that needs more awareness for sure. Thank you for sharing this!

  20. Elaine Alguire says:

    Oh yes, absolutely, ALL OF THIS. I wish everyone would read this and understand that things are not always as they seem. It sounds like our lives are quite similar in this regard. I love to put great photos up, as does everyone, but sometimes we need to still “keep it real” too, just to make sure everyone is on the same page. πŸ˜‰

  21. esnooopy (@esnooopy) says:

    I love that your take away is that we should keep this in mind while looking at the fb feeds… most posts start out like this and then end up concluding that social media is evil and we should all abandon it, or something.

  22. joan k says:

    okay it doesn’t paint the true picture 100%
    but I think we need to remember the good and learn from the bad
    everyone wants to see hope not the dismal truth
    if everything was 100% wonderful we would never know what wonderful feels
    we have to feel some pain then we enjoy the good
    truly

  23. Lisa - Four Walls, Rainy Days says:

    Wow, this is a brilliant piece – I’m nodding along to every part of it going “Ha, yes those cute baby photos, you don’t see the two minutes later shot of him screaming his head off”. While an integral part of modern life, I do find myself viewing others people’s “better” lives than mine through a kind of a filter, somehow forgetting that they too will be only putting up the “picturesque” moments of their day. Nobody photographs the piled up laundry, the dirty dishes, the smashed ornaments – and if they do, its as a once off, to make a point, it’s not shown as an “everyday life” story. I try as much as I can to show everything in my parenting blog but I just need to remember to view everybody else as perhaps not doing the same if their lives seem just a little too organised and 100% happy!

  24. Helen says:

    This is so true. The same with people who post regular negative posts. I like to think that there are good moments/friends/family in their day they just can’t see them in the momemt.

  25. lizalyn says:

    I am friends on FB with my fiance’s ex-wife. He and I have hit a “bump” and all of her posts were getting under my skin; all about how wonderful her new husband is and plenty of pictures of their “perfect” relationship. It wasn’t until I realized that they had staged their “perfect” honeymoon shots (unless they hired a photographer to follow them on their private camping trip!) and I finally realized what a farce most of what we see on social media. Everyone has the same bumps, trips and stumbles and we all put our best face forward. This blog post was spot on and a great reminder.

  26. Jonathan and KC says:

    LOVE this blog post!!! Just yes. I love it. Sometimes I feel like a fake because I want to scream no I’m not perfect and don’t have it all together. And then other times I just get so tired of people thinking they know me because I use Instagram and blog. Social media can be a great tool, but can be so abused too. What you’re doing when you talk to someone and reference their recent post/picture but still ask them about it is exactly what I’ve been trying to do for a couple months now. Instead of assuming we know all. Thanks for this post!

    http://www.lovelikewerenotscared.wordpress.com

  27. Lindsey says:

    Ah, thank you for posting this refreshing take on the comparison game! So often, I see comments and articles blaming people for posting all the pictures – “you make others feel bad. you try to portray a perfection that doesn’t exist. you are lying about your reality.” So badly, I’ve wanted to say that some (if not most or all) of the responsibility is on the viewers of said photos, and not the posters! You said the very things I didn’t know how. πŸ™‚
    Kudos to you and your transparency!! πŸ™‚

  28. hobbisl38l says:

    Great post. My husband works away most weeks so I hold the fort with a 7 and a 5 year old so I know exactly how you feel! It’s not all roses and lifestyle shots, is it? x

  29. HrdinaBrown says:

    I recently did a social media clease. But, not for the reasons you might think. I was doing just this, thinking I knew everyone’s life story. A few weeks without social media forced me to call my friends and family. It also forced me to realize there’s lots of people I only have cyber relationships with, they’re not real relationships BTW. Thanks for this article! It feels good to have someone “get me” and I bet lots of people would agree!

  30. perryinpink says:

    Great points but kind of makes me feel it’s a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. People who post the ‘truth’ of their lives are told/thought of as complainers, or shamed for airing their dirty laundry or just looking for a sympathy grab.I am glad the point is to try to make more authentic connections. That’s when we’ll all be better off. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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