1. You no longer feel obligated to remember things.
I used to know people’s birthdays. I used to remember when a party was coming up this weekend. I used to call my friends and ask them what was going on in their life. Now, I don’t need to waste any more precious time pretending to care about things other than myself and what is going on in my life, because everything is prompted when I log on. Where I once may have called a friend to wish him or her a happy birthday and remind them that I care and am glad to have them in my life, I now don’t even need to leave the gluttonous comfort of my own homepage to scrawl a faint “happy bday” and forget all about it. My precious “eating Funyuns in front of a reality show” time has increased exponentially, and the world is better for it.
2. You get viscerally angry at people for posting bad photos.
Amongst all the unjustified rages there are out there, this has to be in the top five. Facebook has inarguably succeeded in teaching us one thing: that most people are far from universally photogenic, and the difference between pictures you post of yourself and pictures which are posted of you are a seemingly bottomless canyon of superficiality. There is a reason most photos of our parents taken in their youths are flattering, and that is because they have a grand total of 20 photos over a span of five years, and from those, only the most flattering and coherent survived into middle age. When there are 900 photos floating around out there from one drunken year of your life, you are bound to get some unfortunate candids.
3. You stalk people instead of telling them how you feel.
Was there ever a time in which deciding that you are interested in someone was promptly followed with, I don’t know, calling their phone and asking them on a date or something? I mean, I’m not sure how the actual process would go, but it seems like a general movement in the direction of “let’s get to know each other” would be the first plan of attack. Now, of course, you can satiate any feelings you have for someone — from desperate longing to a hatred that burns with the fire of a thousand suns — by scrolling through approximately 7,000 pictures and videos of them whilst resigning yourself to the cold-yet-comforting knowledge that you will never actually talk to them.
4. You pretend not to know things you actually know already.
I know it’s wrong to pretend that you don’t know all of the creepy-ass information you harvested off someone’s profile when they try to announce things like its news to you — I know we should all be honest. But how fucking crazy are you going to look when someone’s like “Oh, yeah, my sister came into town the other day, she–” and you cut them off with a thousand-yard stare and a trembling “I know. I know.” I mean, if we preempted everyone’s stories with an “I already read it,” we would literally have nothing to say to one another IRL again.
5. You communicate in humblebrags.
To be fair, pretty much every announcement you’re going to make via social media (with the possible exceptions of “Got my car broken into for the second time this year, gotta move out of this neighborhood” and “Hemorrhoids back with a vengeance just in time for New Year’s”) is going to be kind of humblebraggy. But there is a specific reflex generated by Facebook which leads us to want to tell everyone our good news and collect those “likes” like some crazed gerbil storing up food for winter. It’s just unhealthy, frankly, and we should try to suppress it as much as possible.
6. You forget to actually talk to people you care about.
Yeah, all of those friends with whom you exchange an occasional “OMG miss you so much!!! Love you! <3333,” those friends who are no longer in close proximity but who are ostensibly quite important to you, you should actually be talking to them. Facebook provides us just enough interaction to satiate that deep need to feel loved and attended to by friends and acquaintances without actually having to invest any time or effort in the communication. It’s basically giving each other the SparkNotes version of our friendships, with all of that messy “picking up the phone and/or writing a legitimate email” removed for our convenience.
7. You judge people for their various life choices.
While it’s true that being a judgmental asshole (like myself) is not relegated to the world of people with Facebooks — nor is it unique to our era — it is certainly intensified through the medium. Now, from the comfort of your chair, you can succinctly feel better about your relatively fabulous life choices as you see that that girl from high school who posts statuses about watching The Voice is getting married to that guy who hates gay people and loves his truck. If you were already a bit of a catty harpy going into the Facebook process (like myself), God have mercy upon you coming out.
8. You fill your digital space with people you don’t like.
No one has 500+ friends. No one has 500+ acquaintances. The higher your friend count, the higher the percentage of assholes you actually hate IRL. It makes zero sense that one should let out a mildly disgusted “ehhhhhhhh” every fifth person on a list hilariously labeled “friends,” and yet, this has become our norm.
9. You slowly start to hate people instead of taking them off your feed.
We all have that one tone-deaf peasant on our news feed who spends their time posting upwards of 10 posts a day, on topics ranging from idiotic political arguments to YouTube videos of songs that no one wants to listen to. Yes, it would be so much easier to just hit “hide” and not see all of their (likely unemployed) minutia every five minutes, and yet, somehow it just feels so much easier to hate them. Poor Facebook use is a crime, to be sure, but the answer should be rising above the frustration — not allowing yourself to be equally exasperated every time you see another inane rant about corrupt breast cancer charities pop up.
10. You know you should delete it, but can’t work up the nerve to do it.
If you’re even thinking about coming on here and being like “Well I deleted my Facebook, and I’m sooooooooo much better for having done so. My life is nothing but multi-million dollar business deals and casual-yet-fulfilling sex with Eastern European models ever since I left that web of social disappointment behind. Namaste,” I cannot even deal with you. Please go away and understand that some of us are not as strong and beautiful as you, and we know that it is a poor personal quality that we can complain about something — know deeply that it is bad — and yet not be able to do anything about it. We know we’re bad, stop rubbing it in.
You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.