Facebook: The Honeymoon’s Over

More than a year ago, I wrote a post about how I had finally been persuaded to join the social networking site Facebook. At the time, I was still new to Facebook and finding it to be a handy way to reconnect with friends and family around the world. Today, I still appreciate that aspect of the site, but I have to say that the pain of using Facebook now outweighs any pleasure I get from it.

It may seem melodramatic to use the word “pain” to describe the emotion I feel when logging on, while using, and even after signing out of Facebook. But that’s exactly what I felt a few weekends ago, when at the end of a particularly long session, I found myself in an incredibly bad mood and realized it was the time spent on Facebook that had brought on the blues. I decided to go on a Facebook “fast”; I avoided the site for a week to see if it brought any change to my daily mood. As I had imagined, the experiment proved that I was indeed happier when not under the Facebook influence.

In the course of the experiment, I identified a few reasons why I was having such a negative experience on Facebook, all having to do with my introvert tendencies. First of all, I find it difficult to come up with Status Updates (short descriptions of what you’re doing at the moment), and when I do come up with one, I am inevitably disappointed when no one responds to it. As an introvert, it takes more energy to be interactive and when it is not reciprocated, I feel let down, whereas I imagine that people who update their status more frequently (most often extroverts) don’t place such emphasis on each thing they write. And, as I complained to my husband, it often seems the most banal things get a lot of feedback, such as “X person likes pie,” to which he replied that it was a lot easier for someone to respond to that kind of note, than “X person is experiencing a dark night of the soul.” I had to admit he had a point.

Which is to say that I shouldn’t expect deep emotional connection from a site that most people use to post drunken photos of themselves. And that brings me to another aspect of what depresses me about Facebook. I can see (in great detail often) how friends and acquaintances are socializing with other people (i.e., not me), and that makes me feel even more like a wallflower than I already am. Of course, a lot of my “friends” on Facebook live a great distance from me, so there’s not a chance for me to be the one in their impromptu photo shoot, but even if I was living in the same city, there’s no guarantee it would be any different. I am not a social butterfly, and that won’t change.

While all this may sound like a self-induced pity party, I am actually relieved to be able to put a finger on what was bothering me all along. I think it’s because I had once imagined that Facebook would be a useful tool for us introverts (and I’m willing to admit that there may still be some who find it so) that my disappointment with it is more acute. Now I see what I should have seen all along; there’s a reason they call it “social” networking. Facebook is the perfect medium for extroverts to find and interact with other extroverts. I just find it tiring. I’d rather spend some face time with a good book.

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12 Responses to “Facebook: The Honeymoon’s Over”

  1. eremite said:

    Assured by your original FB post that it was possible for Facebook to be worthwhile for introverts I finally joined a few months ago. And I haven’t regretted it, mostly because my use of it has been pretty passive. I log on once every day or two and see what all my “friends” have been doing. But I rarely take the time and effort to make comments or update my status or post photos or whatever else people do. I save that for Goodreads where I actually have something to say (after finishing a book).

  2. spectatrix said:


    Good for you. I’m glad you’ve found a way to use FB that works for you as an introvert. I think I’ll be following your lead in my future use of the site.

  3. Rod said:

    Got to agree with eremite, I’ve ended up doing the same, with FB and twitter.

    But it is nice to finally be able to put my finger on why FB caused me so much grief.

  4. Lisa said:

    I have to agree 100% with you about the pictures and status updates. I feel the exact same way, but didn’t realize it until you put it into words for me. Thank you!

  5. Mads said:

    I don’t suppose I would find Facebook very useful as an adult introvert, no. But as a teenaged introvert I actually find it rather invaluable. It allows me to find out about what my friends are up to without having to call them and ask about it.

    But, I’ve always thought that the way younger people use Facebook and the way adults use it aren’t really compatible.

  6. frustrated Introvert said:

    Hi spectatrix, I read your initial post about Face Book a couple of months ago. I originally joined Face Book in early 2008 but I never went on it. A couple of months ago, I visited the site for the first time and actually created a profile and connected with a couple of friends that I have not seen in years. I was excited about the site for a couple of weeks and then after that, I slowly went back to not visiting the site all that much. Now, I check twice a week, if that much. But I am definitely not a regular user. An introverted friend of mine, recently started to visit the site as well. She had an account for a while but never went on until recently. That’s one of the only reasons why I still use the site, so I can keep in touch with her and we can see updated pictures of each other, since we have not seen each other for several years.

  7. spectatrix said:

    Thanks for all your comments. It seems like the consensus is that Facebook can be a positive experience for introverts, provided we use it in a way that works for us. In my own case, I’ve stopped writing Status Updates (I save those now for Twitter :), and have taken a more hands-off approach in general. I’m a much happier Facebook user/lurker now.

  8. Gluon the Ferengi said:

    I still log into facebook with an old e-mail address so I don’t get notifications or spam from them. My relationship with the site is entirely on my terms.

    I give minimal personal information on my profile. And update very seldomly.

    My facebook account is a listening post in the extrovert realm. In the introvert fashion, I mostly observe and only interfere when interference is needed.

    If I want to message someone, I log in for that express purpose and then log out. I’ll check my wall every few months or so. I don’t bother replying to ‘Happy birthdays’ from people.

    When someone messages me by writing on my wall, I reply by private e-mail. One person commented that I was a terrible facebook friend because it appeared as though I had never replied to anyone. Underneath the surface, however, all these matters had indeed been resolved.

  9. Annie Introvert said:

    I stumbled on this post tonight when I googled “facebook depresses me.”

    I have resisted the pull the facebook for months and months because I am a private person and, honestly, I was afraid that facebook would be a popularity contest that I just couldn’t win.

    Over the years, I’ve struggled to be okay with my introversion. I don’t socialize a lot anymore. I like to lead a quiet, yet full life. I have people I am close to, but I don’t go out drinking all the time and I have no interest in posting pictures of me all dolled up, posing with people draping off me. I most likely sound resentful here… I suppose I am a bit. I sometimes wish I was a social butterfly, but, alas, I am not. Facebook reminds me that I am not completely okay with my “inwardness.”

    Long story short, I joined facebook a few days ago and am already feeling sucky about myself. Ugh. Your post really helped to put things into perspective for me. It’s okay to not be social and the life of the party. After reading your post, I deactivated my account and I feel such relief.

    Thank you for writing such an honest post.

  10. Jenn said:

    Hi Morgen. I am an extrovert, yet I, too, find Facebook “tiring”. I so enjoyed your post–many of your reasons (and more) are why I don’t like using Facebook. Your post (and the reflection it inspired) has led to my no longer feeling guilty about not using/not liking Facebook. Thank you! Jenn

  11. hello said:

    To quote someone I know, “Everyone I want to keep in touch with, I have kept in touch with. I really have no interest in re-connecting with old friends. There is a reason I lost touch with them in the first place.” (They were mainly referring to high school friends).

    That quote and your post rings true for me. I’m an introvert and I just find socializing in general exhausting. I don’t really find FB enjoyable. I have an account but I never post and everything on it is fake. I find many online socializing so fake and such a waste of time. Life is too short to spend it this type of stuff.

    The way I see it, I’m a good friend to a chosen few and not a so-so, superficial friend to many and I like it this way.

    I do agree with you that we introverts over think everything we post.

    Good post.

  12. Janna said:

    I find Facebook extremely depressing. I guess I’m not you’re typical 26 year old girl. I accept adds from others thinking they want to reconnect and later find out they just want to be nosy, jealous, and mean about the things in my life they do not have. It becomes disastrous when you have added people you know (but want to delete) and they are mutual friends with like everyone you know..so then what do you do? Delete everyone? Yes, I can block, but it’s very obvious when someone blocks you. I’m fed up with this place. I have a list of 400ish people. I know them all. School, work, etc. I interact with about 40 of them (at the MOST) on a regular basis…and I could honestly live without all of them. I think I have kept mine since I now live across country and don’t know anyone where I am at..but I hope I can make myself delete it permanently one day. Then perhaps I can start a new one with literally just family and 5 friends maximum. People act so stupid on there. Delete you for no reason, reject your friend’s request even though you know them and were friends..and they have 1,000 people on their list! It’s so strange. It makes us regular people think there is something wrong with us. But the truth is, Facebook seems to bring out the stupid in most average/dumb/drones of human beings.