You are barraged by the evidence: Aruban pleasure trips you’ll never go on, girls nights out you weren’t invited to, and valedictorian/Eagle Scout/MVP offspring you’ll never have. But, still, you sit there, hunched, covertly and obsessively checking your feed.
You know it’s a problem because each time you log in, you hate yourself and the entire human population a little more. Even so, there is no way in hell you are going to deactivate your account. It’s inexplicable, but it’s also a fact.
So, before you are reduced to a self-loathing, misanthropic husk, you better listen—and learn how to harness the beast that is Facebook.
I’m not suggesting you pull out cold turkey (we don’t want your organs to shut down); I just want you to do a bit of parsing and pruning here and there. Follow a few simple steps and you will be able to restore your dignity, your faith in humanity, your soul.
Step 1. Determine who the enemy is. The enemy looks like this:
- Anyone who seems like they are having more fun in life than you. Or any fun at all. These bon vivants make you feel like it’s high school all over again, and only a sicko would want to relive those shakedy, pimple-y, loner years.
- Anyone who writes “I am going to weep in my closet because nobody cares.” If you write “I care,” this sad sack will start calling you drunk at 3 am. And weeping about “Rosebud” or something. Eeyore may need support, but you need a cool 10 hours of beauty sleep. That’s a fact.
- Anyone who “wore it better.” Which is every person who doesn’t look like they built their wardrobe from the lost and found box and accessorized at Walgreens. Their ensemble shouts “I’ve got the world by the tail!” Yours shouts “I’m a mannequin from a thrift store!” This obvious disparity makes you that much more fragile.
- Anyone with really white teeth and a sailboat and madras plaid shorts. You feel like you have to click thumbs up—when you really want to punch Chad in his stupid, bronzed face. Unbridled rage is not the same thing as spiritual growth.
- Anyone who uses the word ‘vacay’. Ugh. Enough said.
- Anyone with kids who are better looking and more athletic than yours. Your kids are fair to middlin’ looks-wise and no one gets trophies for laying on the couch. You are parent-shamed. (And you should be—but that’s beside the point.)
- Anyone who posts aerial shots of tastefully-plated meals. Your dinner is a half a limp hotdog bun on a paper towel. Those braggarts are prancing around showcasing their Jicama garnishes while you are questioning every life decision you’ve ever made. Not good at all.
- Anyone who puts their bloated body part, hammertoes, or inflamed cyst on display. You won’t ever be the same. No true friend would ever do that to you. You are shell-shocked and there’s no coming back
Step 2. This one’s soooo easy. Block that deadweight. Block them! Block them! Block them! There will be a twinge of guilt (because you are a good person), and, of course, they will be insulted when they realize they didn’t make your cut. But really, what’s more important: bolstering their rickety Internet ego or preserving yourself?!!? You knoooow what I’m talking about.
Step 3. Locate your allies. They are the ones who let you boop their noses, the ones who remind you to “Hang in there, baby.” They are Twiggy, the squirrel who water-skis, and Whiplash, the teensy cowboy monkey who zooms around on that border collie. They are the cats who reverse-pounce when accosted by a cucumber and the cat who attacks his owner’s face when she sings. They are the parrot detained by police for shouting obscenities, the little goat butting the kid into the pond (it wasn’t very deep…), the baby chimp flipping off the camera. These are your *people*, and they make your heart sing.
Step 4. Do NOT block these guys. Instead, repopulate your shaved Facebook feed with them. Now sit back, keep voyeuristically scrolling, and feel the warmth of a furry and fuzzy cuddly contentment. Bask in its glory!
Life is too short to get a migraine every single time you’re confronted with aggressively-filtered bikini bodies and insipid “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” memes. If you leave FB to its own devices, it will rub your face in the dirt, trample your spirit, and drag your limp, deflated carcass to hell and back. But you are better than that, more savvy than that. You know that you don’t need to spend your days hating the human race when you can devote those same countless hours to reveling in the hi-jinx of acrobatic chipmunks and Roomba-riding kittens. And when you do commit and make the switch—you’ve finally triumphed and made Facebook your bitch.