Look, Facebook annoys me sometimes too. And I once wrote a pretty bitchy post about the stuff that gets on my last nerve. But lately I’m seeing a lot of this on Facebook:
You’re pissed about Bitstrips. You’re torqued about seeing the same meme over and over. Because how fucking dare people not be exactly on top of the same trends that you are? Don’t they know it hurts your very soul to see the funny puppy photo or touching soldier surprising his kid video a week after you’ve already shared it? And the San Francisco Bat Kid thing? That was DAYS ago. Fucking newbs.
Look, sometimes I’ll heave a heavy sigh and roll my eyes when someone is super late to the party on something but, it doesn’t actually hurt anyone. Your eyes are not going to fall out of your head because you re-witness the Ermahgerd girl. Just relax. Feel superior if you need to. But you really don’t have to launch a whole campaign against it, do you? Scroll past and let it be.
But there’s something more insidious than this sort of pissyness. It goes beyond annoyance to levels of self-absorption and dare I say sociopathy, that are pretty surprising.
Two articles were published this week (The 5 Most Annoying Facebook Posts About Being Engaged and 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook) that seem to have one purpose: Letting us know it’s not okay to share our good news. Why? Because not everyone just bought a house or got engaged or had a baby or published a book or finished a marathon or got a new job. And all those people who didn’t will feel bad. Here’s where I take issue. If someone else’s good news makes you feel bad? Unless you were in direct competition with them for that political office or job or scholarship or husband? You’re an asshole. And you’re a narcissist. Do you legitimately believe that–for example–I posted a video of my little girl’s ballet recital to remind you that you don’t have children or have unfulfilled ballerina dreams? Do you actually think that when people sit down to post something on Facebook or change their relationship status from Engaged to Married that they are thinking about you at all? That the evil wheels in their head are turning slowly emitting venomous steam as they carefully craft their statement as a secret neener-neener to you? That they consider every vacation photo a dagger to your heart?
Do you know what a sociopath is? Sometimes it’s Jeffrey Dahmer, yes. Most of the time it’s just someone who cannot feel anything for other people. No sympathy, no empathy, none. They are the only ‘real’ person in the world and the rest of us are just here as set dressing. Characters and furniture to populate their life. They are incapable of drawing any satisfaction from anyone else’s joy. They can’t feel happy for someone because they can’t feel anything for another person.
Look, I know it stings when someone you know for a fact is a backstabber gets a great new job. Or when someone you can confirm is a serial cheater makes “I love my amazing wife” posts. But that’s on them. And really? It doesn’t hurt you. It shouldn’t even annoy you. And why are you Facebook friends with them if you dislike them so much?
If you’re at the point where you think everyone’s social media posts are secret messages to you, please see a doctor. There is help for that.
If you’re not quite that paranoid, but seem to grimace in disgust or burst into tears at anyone else’s happiness? You may be clinically depressed and there is help for that, too.
If you’re mentally fit and just find yourself annoyed with everything you see in your News Feed? That people in general are just pissing you off? Take a time out. Really. Log off Facebook, sign out of Twitter and do something else for a week. No, you don’t have to make a fucking announcement about it. Just take a break. Read a book. Take a walk. Go hang out with some friends that are less successful and not as good-looking as you are. Maybe it’ll be good for your self-confidence.
Because if it becomes unacceptable to announce an engagement or be proud of your kid for good grades or just BE HAPPY? Then we may as well bag the heads of the beautiful people, shackle the athletes, hobble the graceful, and lobotomize the intelligent. Want to see what that world looks like? Read Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron.