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!

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142 thoughts on “I’m not a liar but Facebook sure is.

  1. wanderlynn says:

    Hoo boy! This is so reassuring to read, to know that I’m not alone in understanding that Facebook at face value takes some of the depth out of our character. My photo albums are filled with the happiest, most charming shots of our adventures, and none of them come with the footnotes on the struggles of marriage and parenthood, of depression. I commend you for your effort to probe for the reality when you discuss in person a happening that was revealed on Facebook.

  2. Gavin says:

    The piece is great, but is Facebook really a liar? It’s user created content.
    Most Facebook profiles are window dressing, which is appropriate to a degree, but it’s nice to get a reminder of that. I’d hate for people to start venting their spleen more. Better to share the love.
    That said, most of us just don’t have the time or energy to share the lows in the right context for all the world to see.
    You did.
    Thanks for the bravery and honesty.

  3. Dana says:

    How really entertaining would fb be if we posted pics and videos of our meltdowns?! Everyone has them…but we don’t want people to judge us at our worst! So that is why I think we put our best face forward for the public, nothing wrong with that. I think people (myself included) need to realize we all have our problems and faults. We just need to stop comparing ourselves to what we see of others on the surface.

    • Karen says:

      I sincerely agree. It is entertainment for me. These are snapshots, just like photo album or scrapbook. If you really want to get personal, make a call or schedule a visit.

  4. Mich says:

    This is so accurate. I’ve been trying to be more authentic in my blogging, at least, but I put up big walls when it comes to the “tough” parts of life.

    Do you have any tips for being more authentic in what you broadcast to the interwebs?

  5. Leslie says:

    Of course some people only display their best moments, but this happens in “real” life too, not just on social media. The saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” didn’t come about from people laying it all out there. Sometimes when I’m in.a depressed or funky mood, I just want to lay around in my pajamas and eat junk food, but I’ll make myself get up, get dressed up and put on a happy face, and you know what happens? I actually do feel a lot better. Sometimes those “best moments” I see captured on facebook inspire me. I’m not naive to think the people behind the photo are perfect. But I also don’t want to be reminded of life’s imperfections either, I have enough of that in my day to day life. I want to be inspired so I can then inspire others.

    • Millie Pickett says:

      Of course we’re going to celebrate our “best and brightest”! I totally agree with you and CELEBRATE your honesty! Who wants to see us crying when our child is so sick they can’t lift their head off the pillow, or watch us roll miserably in the bed while we grieve the death of our elderly parents, or our 18 year old cat, or a childhood friend…or worse yet, the death of an 18 year old cousin? The reality of life hits us in the face each and everyday! I LOVE seeing the BEST of this world! If all of us live long enough, we will realize that in every life a little rain must fall, but it’s not a character flaw…doesn’t make us less important in the eyes of those who love us. It’s just real life! I WANT to see something beautiful, something joyous, something to cheer about! Because they shadows WILL fall in each and every one of our lives! Celebrate those beautiful and joyful moments! Bravo to you, girl! Bravo!

  6. sophistikate1 says:

    Reblogged this on trithisout and commented:
    AMEN sister! We talk about this all the time in our small groups. Its exhausting trying to keep up with the images portrayed out in the world. We all think everybody a has it better, easier, etc and in truth-it’s a lie. Thank you for your great article.

  7. Andrea (@Apartment_Mama) says:

    I’m not totally sure of this post. While I can appreciate some of the points and found myself nodding my head in agreement but other parts not so much…do we really think that Facebook status updates and photos are truly ‘real life’? I equally hate the friend status updates filled ‘my life is so amazing!!’ photos as much as the dreaded cliff hanging negative FB status update that insist you follow up with a ‘what’s going on?! Are you okay?’ comment.

    I think it is unrealistic to have equally happy and crappy photos posted on a social media site. Especially a personal page. Same goes for people who craft photo albums full of family mementos. They aren’t going to be filled with the really bad crappy days. I think it is just human nature to want to share, and remember, the good.

    While I really love my social media, I know it is just one sliver of real life and I don’t let myself get too caught up in the on line perception and comparison.

    • cathie2014 says:

      I think you’ve got it here: it’s about who you are. Some people are drama queens that post about all the ambiguous ‘awful’ things that are happening, others pose and take 4 shots before posting a picture on a day where the highlight was having their nails done. I share highlights of my holiday, but several statuses in a row will reveal how rough my work life is, or how I’m nervously waiting for something… or if I’m really busy and dull there’ll be nothing at all. That’s reality and I assume my friends are the same. Maybe we’re all still getting to grips with this social media malarkey! Thanks for sharing.

  8. diane says:

    You are so right on so many points -especially about dealing with a spouse who travels. I am a military spouse and my husband has been away from home for about 9 years (not in a row) of the 13 years we have been married due to deployments, training, schools, etc…(definitely hard on our 11 year old) and many times I have wished a friend or a family member was close enough to help me through the times he is gone. It is so easy to look at someone’s page and think it is all wine and roses but, in reality …it isn’t!

  9. Lindsey Whitney (@lrwhitney) says:

    I was just talking to a friend about this and saying we should have a “real life facebook” week where we post the bad moments of our life as well as the good. It is hard to “keep up” with all the happy faces when we never see the other side of the coin.

  10. Tracey says:

    I always said FB could possibly create some depression in people because sometimes you look at others pages and it makes you feel like your life isn’t very exciting or you’re not the best mom out there….thank you for a GREAT read….!!

  11. Brenna says:

    I tend to post my highs because it’s a great reminder of God’s blessings. I can easily look back at my previous posts and see the many, many times God has answered a prayer, or lavished me with grace, or gave me wonderful experiences to remember.

  12. Sunny says:

    I love this so much. It’s so true and I find myself not posting on Fb unless I have something good to say. I never want to be a negative nancy but then I don’t want to be a liar either. I also feel like somethings are better not shared with the entire world. Very wise post. Thanks.

  13. Tammi says:

    OMG, So so true,Facebook doesn’t show how desperate we are sometime for one night sleep without constant wake ups. We tend not to post this kind of stuff because people can go over board with posts and then people’s perceptions on things and people can totally change. We should be able to be totally honest,but people these days can’t seem to handle truths which just make it hard to lead an honest day to day relationship.

  14. Ashley says:

    Thank you this post is very timely for me. If you ever need a reality check go visit “reasons my son/kid is crying” blog. It’s not mine, but it is my saving grace when our household is melting down and I forget that most people are in the same situation. Plus you get a laugh and that’s an instant mood booster.

  15. prettyshoes says:

    I have a real “love/hate” relationship with Facebook! I’ve started reminding myself that to really enjoy “the moment” means not snapping it and putting on social media somewhere, that very instant. It can wait. That’s the trouble with Facebook – it paints an altruistic view of people’s lives. Well done for feeling brave enough to post the real story behind the images.

  16. Deborah Peterson Milne says:

    Bravo! Truthful and honest post. I know personally there have been times where I feel I’m the only one with drama out there. I hope your story goes viral. A lot of people would benefit from a read!

    Thank you 😉

  17. Rachel Riebe says:

    Thank you for saying this. I’ve been a part of so many conversations that echo frustration with the disparity between social media and real life. The burden lies with us as users to remember that a picture is only one tiny window into a broad and varied life.

  18. bleonard says:

    I don’t think it makes you look like a liar at all. All things people shouldn’t and don’t write on fb that is personal about them. This just shows beautiful pictures of your family with you and to you, it show that you are still strong and hold your beautiful head up thru struggles that the rest of the world doesn’t know about you. Which is good because it is all personal. Some people write way to much info to share to the world. So if I would scroll up on ur pictures all I see is beautiful pictures with your kids and wonderful smiles on all of your faces and you all look happy. So I don’t think fb is a liar, but it does cover up struggles unless you share them with everyone.

  19. aleshahaley says:

    I love this! Such a great reminder to have deeper relationships instead of assuming based on someones social media posts! I am guilty of comparing thinking someone’s life looks so perfect, but you don’t see their struggles in a perfect picture.
    Thanks for your honesty and sharing 🙂

  20. meganbean1131 says:

    Beautifully put. People only see what they want to see and pictures are worth a thousand words. Twitter is the hardest to handle because of the people that troll; on facebook too. That’s why I try to never take it too personally when I see something online that upsets me.

  21. elin says:

    I like to post the out takes. Like when my daughter refused to look at the camera for her very first day of school. So, I got a nice picture of her facing the front door. and posted it. That is what actually happened! I like to post the 10 takes it gets to get that one awesome family picture. those are the hilarious ones and that is where the true story lies!

  22. Lucy Mills says:

    Great post. I suppose photos have always been like this – think of flicking back through albums with rose tinted lenses! Social media means they get seen more often, (and thus more assumptions are made), so it becomes more of an ‘issue’.

    Thanks for a thought provoking read.

  23. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) says:

    Exactly this. I’m forever comparing my kids to everyone elses on Facebook because all my friends kids are of course geniuses and
    mine appear to be lagging far behind. I forget that I’m only seeing a small fraction of the truth so rank you for this reminder which was particularly needed today.

  24. littlebirdlearnstofly says:

    So very true. I found this especially true yesterday. I didn’t even want to go on Facebook to see all of the cute Easter egg hunting, or suits and ties with matching pretty dresses. To me, it’s like “The Ghost of Easter Past” where a family who used to do all of those no longer do because of a family being broken. Thank you for reminding me of the truth…

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