It’s hard for me to connect with people lately. Perhaps it’s due to social media or just the fleeting environ where I meet people, but I find myself withholding what’s really on my mind or ask others.
I’m tired of hearing people humble brag about their latest venture or hidden find. Conversations too often turn to “Did you visit this place? Have you read this? You have to eat here!” and supplant it with hyperbole about how amazing it is, which I find skeptical. Everyone has to prove their better than everyone else. My hood is more authentic than yours. Social media has turned experience into a game of popularity and status, and it’s a game that I find myself out-competed and sick of playing. Am I jealous? No, because those are things that I don’t value. I’m just tired of trying to deal with people who think that makes them better than me or don’t treat me as an equal.
I find ulterior motives everywhere. Recommendations become a call to how cultured one is over me. Humor has become putting down others or trivializing real experiences. There’s only so much tacky imagery you can use to make something viral and funny. Everything becomes a joke to the point that nothing is serious and the people you are around are just caricatures of who they once were, and you find yourself forgetting what deep connections you once shared.
It’s as if we’re advertising our happiness like a sleazy car salesman. Depth is for people who want to smudge the new coat of paint. Everyone wants me to believe they are happy so that they can also believe that they are happy.
There are days when I want to delete my Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, or to just disconnect from them entirely. I have never been popular so why should I try to be? What’s the point with connecting with people who just want to make me feel bad about myself for their benefit, who just want my attention and my body to fill up space and aren’t interested in growing as people, in evolving into something better than ourselves? Plus why should I participate in a game of social stature and exaggeration that I clearly find exhausting, draining and morally bankrupt?
In the end, I just want affirmation that what I am doing is right. I wish that confidence came more from within myself than from what social statistic I am using but I am in a generation where that’s the norm. Still, when I think through that scenario of deleting my connections, I realize that they are also records of where I have been, what I have done, and the thought of getting rid of that hoard of memories seems reckless.
Maybe we aren’t as great as we think we are. Maybe, with likes and reblogs and comments, we have no real way of understanding what people really think about that cute picture. Maybe it’s best to keep running away from our problems by filling up our schedule with events that we can’t possibly all attend or fully appreciate. Maybe my friendship is worthless if I’m not amusing, dramatic or funny. After all, I’m just there for their entertainment so I should just shut up and smile for the camera.