The Love-Hate Relationship With Facebook

Over the last few months, I have been hearing the same complaints from friends and family.

“I am totally quitting Facebook. I hate it.”

But they never quit.

This intrigues me.  What is it about Facebook that makes us so upset (enough to want to quit), but is so hard to walk away from?

Let’s start with the reasons Facebook could be upsetting in the first place.

ANNOYING STATUS UPDATES

You may like your friends and family in real life, but their status updates bug the heck out of you. Whether they are just plain negative or dull, your skin crawls when you see them.

ENVY

Our Facebook friends always seem to have the better life.  Trips, expensive gifts, a beautiful family, it all seems better than what we have.

UNCOMFORTABLE FRIEND RECOMMENDATIONS

Facebook is full of past boyfriends, girlfriends and other “blasts from the pasts” that we have no desire to reconnect with, yet Facebook recommends we do so.  Awkward.

COMPULSION TO “STALK” OR LINGER

As great as Facebook is for our social lives, it can be a HUGE time suck, especially when we discover old high school friends and want to know “what they have been doing with their lives”. Before we know it, two hours have been wasted finding out that Jane Doe is now a nurse and has three kids.

DRAMA AND CYBERBULLYING

One update (whether intentional or not) can turn into a virtual war among friends.  People are less likely to hold their “tongues” while online, too.  Facebook drama is poison and can ruin lives, just like any other cyberbullying act.

So, with so many side effects that encompass a Facebook account, what is the point?

Like anything in life, indulgence can tarnish a good thing.  Facebook isn’t a bad website.  In fact, it can be used for good. For myself, it provides a great tool to connect with friends, blogging buddies and family.  It also provides a great platform for marketing my businesses and meeting new clients. There is a reason why it is hard to walk away from.

Want to experience Facebook positively?

    1. Use in moderation.  Facebook can become an addiction.  The more you use it, the more you need.  When boredom sets in, you start becoming someone else.  You say things you don’t mean, spy on people you don’t really know, and so on.  Also, your friend’s status updates become a lot less annoying when you are not religiously reading them.
    2. Weed out the poison immediately.  If you have friends that clutter up your news stream with negativity or hate, weed them out.  Their negativity will rub off on you and you don’t need it. In addition, block users you do not wish to ever have contact with.  You will never have to worry about seeing them in recommendations or vice versa.
    3. Put jealousy aside. Yes, your friend Jane Doe may seem like her life is perfect in her vacation photos, but you are only seeing snippets of her life.  Just because she chooses to display her positive experiences doesn’t mean she doesn’t have struggles or pain.  Instead, be happy for her accomplishments by leaving a comment.
    4. Quit if necessary.  If Facebook is interfering with you life in any way, quit.  At the end of the day, it is just a website.

What are your thoughts?  What drives you crazy about Facebook and have you ever considered quitting?

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Amy Bellgardt

AMY BELLGARDT is a wife and mom of two boys, as well as founder and lead blogger at Mom Spark. Amy also manages Mom Spark Media, a social media marketing firm.

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55 Responses to “The Love-Hate Relationship With Facebook”

  1. #
    Becky Ryan-Willis — December 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Excellent article! I have to agree- while I can’t say I have ever been ready to ‘walk away’ I get tired of the lingering post updates that make you wonder-or the fact that is what they are trying to achieve. Also the ‘unintentional bragging’ that you have to hear about the great trips they are planning for the new year, what new vehicle they now have. Maybe it is just me but if I was fortunate enough to snag a newer vehicle-you wouldn’t find it on Facebook, its just not my nature. :) All in all though I won’t leave-without it how I would know who is doing what..LOL Thanks!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

      @Becky Ryan-Willis, Speaking online, including email, can be dangerous. Words can get mixed up. It isn’t a fool-proof form of communication, so words can be taken the wrong way, even when the sender has the best of intentions. It’s a tricky thing, this online stuff. :)

      Thanks for your comment!

      [Reply]

  2. #
    Monica — December 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hmm.. I agree with all your thoughts on why people hate facebook. It’s all those reasons! I think the big one for me, is the “envy”. If I’m having a bad day or feeling down because I can’t find a job or whatever, I don’t want to see everyone’s posts on how successful they are, etc. But you are so right, it is ONLY a website! And people are allowed to portray themselves however they want. They do not post the entire side of the story in most circumstances.

    Nice post.

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

      @Monica, Thank you! Yes, the site itself is not worth any stress or drama that it may conjure.

      [Reply]

  3. #
    Angela — December 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I think the people who complain ..must have too many “friends” annoying them lol. I may hate the new updates they do, but at the end of the day, i use facebook for work related things so I have to put up and shut up lol. However I dont update my personal facebook as often as I prob should…most likely that is when i am walking away from facebook to breath lol. :)

    [Reply]

  4. #
    Sugar Jones — December 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Great advice! I know I have a few friends that don’t post often, so my posts might seem like a firehose of information gushing out onto their screens. I always try to warn them when we become friends that I might have to be muted. I even show them how. :)

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

      @Sugar Jones, That is a great point. I had a family member say something similar to me. They simply did not want their stream flooded with my multiple updates, which I can’t blame them for!

      Thank you for the comment. :)

      [Reply]

  5. #
    Jen @ Jen Spends — December 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I have mostly a hate relationship with Facebook (for personal use), and I have seriously considered quitting it altogether. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth the risk of losing contact with a few friends on there. Overall, I find the whole thing to be extremely fake. It seems the people who get the most out of Facebook are the ones who will shamelessly beg for attention and the people who have nothing better to do with their lives than give that attention. They don’t seem to give a crap about you unless prompted with a status message. To me, it’s kind of sick. My grandmother died recently and not ONE “friend” of mine had a thing to say about it, even though many of them responded to others in my family who posted status updates about it. I didn’t want to post a status, so I received no sympathy. I end up respecting people less because I know more about their lives than I would have before Facebook. It has particularly tainted my relationship with my sister. There is always something dramatic taking place in her life (much of the time due to her own decisions, actions or failure to take good advice), yet she has a whole fan club who constantly feed into it as she chronicles her life on Facebook. It never ends. I ended up having to hide her updates. I would very much like to go back to the good old days when people picked up the phone or sent a private email. It’s funny how you can have over 100 “friends” and yet feel like in reality you don’t have a single one. I hate it. /end rant :)

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

      @Jen @ Jen Spends, Thank you for sharing, Jen. It sounds like it may be best to walk away from Facebook since it is affecting you the way it is. I hope it gets better for you. :)

      [Reply]

  6. #
    Shana — December 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Great post Amy. I have family who have un-followed me because I “spam” their feed with updates on our family or sharing posts from other bloggers. At first I was offended that they considered me spamming but not everyone likes what I like so I had no reason to be upset. And I completely agree that words can very easily be misconstrued via online as opposed to in person which can stir up a big pot of confusion. So instead of dragging yourself into the drama steer clear or simple call the person to clear up any confusion.

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

      @Shana, I know what you mean. I should have added “don’t be offended if you are unfriended” in my article as well. It is easy to take it personal, but as I said, at the end of the day it is just a website. Real life is what matters most. :)

      [Reply]

      • Shana replied: — December 29th, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

        @Mom Spark, Exactly Amy! People have to remember that if this person said the same thing to you in person would you be offended? Or is it no skin off your back? The one thing I have an issue with and this just isn’t for facebook it’s all technology is that it is replacing a simple phone call. I received numerous texts earlier this month wishing my son (8) a Happy Birthday. Really??? Is it that hard to pick up the phone and call him. He’s 8, he doesn’t own a phone.

        • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:00 am

          @Shana, Yeah, I feel the same way. I am guilty of texting more than calling.

  7. #
    Andrea — December 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Fantastic article! My friends and I just had a discussion about this the other day:-) I call it the social media sandbox lol. Some play nice and others like to throw sand in your eyes;-) I have my days when I need to back away because some one wrote something negative or nasty. But I love facebook, we live 2000 miles away from family so it’s a great way to keep in touch:-)

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:02 am

      @Andrea, It is very much like a sandbox! Yes, Facebook is a fabulous tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, so it is sad that it can cause the drama it does.

      [Reply]

  8. #
    MusingsfromMe/Jill — December 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I’ve never considered quitting. Too drastic a decision for me. But, I do hide status updates about games, Farmville, etc. If you play these games that’s great, but I don’t need to read about it!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:03 am

      @MusingsfromMe/Jill, Yes, I hide the game updates as well. Quickly after joining Facebook I did that because the updates would fill my news feed!

      [Reply]

  9. #
    Aupair Info Girl — December 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    For me it’s the privacy issues. I tweak my profile, but Facebook often changes default settings. And of course there are the too frequent changes to the platform’s design (usually for the worse). This new timeline look they’ll soon impose on everyone is very annoying. Unfortunately I need Facebook to keep in touch with a lot of people…

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

      @Aupair Info Girl, Yes, Facebook does update WAY TOO MUCH. It is hard to keep up and I feel like I have to keep adjusting my privacy levels each time it happens.

      [Reply]

  10. #
    Crunchy(ish) Mama — December 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I mostly love Facebook. You can’t beat it for catching up with people from the past and staying in touch with friends and family far away. BUT I also use the unfriend/hide button with great frequency. Years ago my mother-in-law and I actually got into a fight over Facebook. (Not ON Facebook, but over comments made on there). Our relationship is much better now that we’re not FB friends!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

      @Crunchy(ish) Mama, You make a good point-some people just shouldn’t be Facebook friends! Thank you for your comment. :)

      [Reply]

  11. #
    Mami2jcn — December 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Another pet peeve about Facebook is lack of privacy. Well, I should say that there are privacy measures in place, but not everyone knows how to use them. I had my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and mother as Facebook friends, and I posted some pictures of my kids on my Facebook page (I made the pictures only viewable by my friends) and then my relatives took the pictures and posted them on their Facebook pages, but made them open to the public. I DO NOT want my children’s pictures out there for EVERYONE to see. I then got into an argument with my brother-in-law about it because he said I was over-reacting. What I ended up doing was unfriending all relatives. They were angry about it, but I just don’t trust their skills at using Facebook. My husband actually cancelled his Facebook account altogether. I’ve thought about doing that many times, but I keep it because I want to stay in touch with high school and college friends who I have no opportunity to see because they live in other states.

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:06 am

      @Mami2jcn, I have the same concerns as you. I had family members post pics of my kids on Facebook, even though I never do so myself. I simply asked them to remove them or make them private and so far it hasn’t been an issue.

      [Reply]

      • LadyBizBiz (@LadyBizBiz) replied: — December 30th, 2011 @ 9:37 am

        @Mom Spark,

        Indeed – this is the weakness in #FB – it’s what others can potentially do, which could harm you. Friends of friends and 1/3rd party Apps are the uncontrollable elements.

  12. #
    Becca Bernstein — December 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I’m so with you. I’m kinda over FB. The one peeve I have is that I have to go home and relearn my job every time they make changes. But I don’t plan on quitting b/c it is my job! Great post!

    [Reply]

  13. #
    Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) — December 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I think Facebook is what you make of it. A bit like life I suppose.

    [Reply]

  14. #
    LisaLisa — December 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Awesome Post! I think FB is a great community. I don’t care for all the status updates of everyone life details I find myself moving along utilizing FB in ways to benefit me and my little business. I think FB is what you make of it….just like any social network. I don’t post anything unpleasing to my followers nor do I say anything out of order know matter what I may see or how I may feel about someone. I like FB, it has connected me with some pretty Awesome people some which I see here on your post. Those who complain may want to sit down and figure out how they can make FB work for them.

    Sorry so long…but I’m glad I had a chance to comment

    Again, Gr8 Post!

    [Reply]

  15. #
    Melissa (Consumer Queen) — December 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Great article Amy you always write well. I am learning you have to take Facebook with a grain of salt. We can choose to focus on the negative or choose to focus on the positive. I’ve decided if someone wants to vent , let them, they may need to and who am I to judge. Instead of shying away I try to be a friend because maybe that’s what they need at the moment? We all can’t live perfect lives we just have to learn to get along with each other ROFL!!!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 2nd, 2012 @ 10:44 am

      @Melissa (Consumer Queen), I agree. It is what we make it and what we choose to live around. If it’s negativity we see, we can choose to give in to it, walk away, or unfriend. It’s quite easy to do, honestly!

      [Reply]

  16. #
    nancypants — December 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I have experienced all of these feelings/experiences about facebook. And I’ve “gone cold turkey” several times actually. Only to come back and do it again. A few months ago though I really knew that I needed to be personally done with FB for the most part. You can still find me on there but I “unfriended” everyone who I do not work with. A few extras have snuck in after I did this (because I have a really hard time telling people that I like why I won’t accept their friend request!!) But for the most part I’ve been able to keep it to a work only thing. I still post occasionally but it’s not like it was before at all.

    [Reply]

  17. #
    Mya Maternity — December 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    It drives me crazy when people post every little detail about their lives. Facebook is terrible and good all at the same time.

    [Reply]

  18. #
    Farrah — December 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I just blogged about this yesterday! I was actually nervous to do so because I didn’t know if people agreed with me or not. Basically I am over the overshading that fb does on my behalf.. With the ticker and inadvertent updates.I don’t want the world knowing my business if I’m notvtrlling it. So I went on a massive deleting/blocking/unfriending/unliking spree to whittle it down so it works better for me. People I talk to and interact with are on my feed. I deleted and blocked many others so I have simply disappeared and they won’t even notice. I deleted a million apps I didn’t even know I had and have unliked scores of pages I really don’t care about. We can expect big things from fb once it goes public– not sure how that will change things but you know investors will be dictating what’s in there. Sorry if this is rambling, I’m on my phone and had to weigh in!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 2nd, 2012 @ 10:46 am

      @Farrah, I am currently doing the same thing with my FB friends. I feel like the less friends I have there, the easier it is to manage anyway.

      [Reply]

  19. #
    Jenn @therebelchick — January 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    There are times that I consider closing my Facebook simply because I see so much negativity or people being fake and it irritates me. So I simply login less frequently now and use twitter instead!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 2nd, 2012 @ 10:45 am

      @Jenn @therebelchick, A great plan! I recently unfriended several people. Many were not negative at all, I just needed to streamline to those I am closest to. It has really helped my Facebook experience. :)

      [Reply]

  20. #
    Patty Perkowski (@PACWP) — January 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Amy,

    Originally I was Facebook because my twin teen daughters are on it day and night, but then I went to a marketing workshop were it was suggested that if you have a business/ministry you MUST be on Facebook. So I added a spiritual lives of women page. I hate it!!

    Never really got the handle of Facebook and now its cyber-twin Google+ , never know what to post, have my blog posts on my page, but it just seems like those pages are more the use car sales people of cyber space. The pages I do see, for the most part, seem to me to just be all hard sell.

    I won’t leave Facebook because as a mom I want to know what my girls are doing, meeting, hanging out with, but that is all I use it for really.

    [Reply]

  21. #
    Catherine — January 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    My advice is to be selective in the friends you accept/request, and always remember the unfriend/block button is a click away.

    [Reply]

  22. #
    Ellen Elwell — January 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Such a great discussion of wonderful, thoughtful minds! I had to take a little time to read it. I don’t like Facebook because you never know when you’ll see words from another post show up. Case in point: I made a donation/comment on Hillary Clinton’s campaign site once…and my words were on my Facebook page. Sure I should have studied the site’s caveats…but I don’t want to worry or bother. It’s easier to use it just for business. For me, anyway:-)

    [Reply]

  23. #
    JamericanSpice — January 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t do drama on my facebook. Once the inlaws started it and I deleted them all.
    Any time I get any thing, I tell people nicely to click the button marked remove or unlike.

    I just dont’ have the time for it.

    [Reply]

  24. #
    Dawn Wilson — January 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    You CAN’T quit Facebook – literally. They keep your data on file. I’ve even tried to erase all my pictures, etc. and they always say “sorry to see you go. But your account will be here when you want to come back. Just log in”. It’s kind of scary. So go ahead and try. You can’t quit. Zuckerberg or whatever his name is, is an evil genius.

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 4th, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

      @Dawn Wilson, Yes, that is what I have heard! I’ve never tried to quit, but that is the weirdest thing that you can’t officially delete it. I wonder how many people quit and then reactivate?

      [Reply]

  25. #
    Dagmar ~ Dagmar's momsense — January 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I’m not a fan of Facebook. I have considered quitting it many times — mostly because of their policy to delete perfectly innocent photos of kids breastfeeding and because I don’t like how they own everything you put on there and that they change their privacy policy every five minutes without telling you.

    But I have so far not hit the delete button because I keep thinking that I will need FB at some point (right now I wouldn’t care if it exploded today — as long as I have my beloved Twitter! :) and that it will hurt me professionally – I am a social media consultant, after all LOL.

    I think more and more people will be using Google+ because Google is much better about respecting your privacy and you can have everything in one place on there, which is very attractive.

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 4th, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

      I’m still trying to get the hang of Google+, but it will be interesting to see how it compares to Facebook going into 2012.

      [Reply]

  26. #
    Adrian — January 5, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I saw a pin on Pinterest that said Threatening to quit FB is like the adult version of a kid threatening to run away. They know you’ll be back eventually!

    My gripe about Facebook is their ranking of status updates. I don’t see the messages from my friends and family, because my feed is so cluttered with all of the posts from my blogger friends and businesses (they have higher SEO ranking). One day I missed posts about a new baby, a wedding, and my nephews broken arm. And I suspect that a lot of my posts aren’t seen either because I don’t get many comments or likes on my posts. I HATE being manipulated like that!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — January 5th, 2012 @ 9:42 am

      @Adrian, This is exactly why I’m filtering out my friend’s list. I miss updates from those who are closest and most dear to me. I can subscribe to a blog’s feed or FB page if I want to keep up that way.

      Thanks for your comment!

      [Reply]

  27. #
    Aggie — January 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

    oh my gosh…what a post! I thought I was the only one who felt this way…I actually went on FB hiatus for 9 months, it was wonderful. was pressured to get back on by family and some friends…now I find myself back in the same annoyed with FB frame of mind. When I get this way I delete the FB app off my phone since that is where I get sucked in usually. It’s such a refreshing break!

    Love this post!

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — January 6th, 2012 @ 11:44 am

      @Aggie, That is a great idea to deactivate the phone app! I may need to do that from time to time. ;)

      [Reply]

  28. #
    Stephanie — January 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Great Article! For me, it wasn’t the envy aspect as much as it was the fact that I would log on every time I was bored. It became a time-waster, and it really can create unnecessary drama! My husband updated his status once (saying what, I cannot remember. Nothing bad- perhaps a news article) and the girlfriend of my husband’s best friend of 14 years dug her nails in to him. Long story short, she drove a pretty permanent wedge in between them when she told him over a message that both her and her boyfriend agreed that they wanted nothing to do with either of us anymore. It was ignorant, immature, and never would have happened in person.

    Anyways, I decided to quit Facebook! Permanently (hopefully) deleted it. I think to successfully stay off Facebook, if that’s your choice, it takes some time to successfully reconnect with the real world. In other words, jumping right in to deleting it without being prepared isn’t necessarily the most successful way of quitting.

    [Reply]

  29. #
    Diane — January 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I hate when my friends post really dramatic posts. – both the positive and the negative ones. One day they will post something like ” OH MY GOD I HAVE THE BEST BOYFRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD he spoiles me blah blah blah” and the next day they will be all like, ” My life sucks, nobody appreciates me, Guys are such ********”.

    Leading up to my 10 year highschool reunion (which I didn’t go to) everyone was posting how they were newly engaged, pregnant, got some fantastic new job, bought a house etc. Im happy they are happy, but I wonder how many were posting it just to show off in time for the reunion!

    [Reply]

  30. #
    phyllis collar — January 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Oh gosh. yes! this article resonates. not only am i addicted to this hugely “sticky” site…my kids (who should NOT be on it due to their being underage) are addicted as well. But, that leaves them exposed to all the crass and otherwise inappropriate stuff my friends (or friends of my friends of my friends…) might post. Ugh.

    [Reply]

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