I’m the first to admit that I was an addict. My Facebook page was always open and I’d sometimes refresh my news feed several times in the span of three minutes. You know, because someone may have posted a photo of their baby in a sailor outfit or my cousin’s friend Billy may have checked into a Long John Silver’s. I didn’t care, of course, but like a proper addict, I just had to keep getting my fix.
It was shortly before my birthday this past September that I decided I needed to quit Facebook, or rather “deactivate” my profile. Although I’m not one of those people who had 500+ friends or something ridiculous (I was rather picky in my “friend” acceptance), I knew of the 250 or so people who were in my friend list, a large percentage of them were going to do that whole obligatory “happy birthday,” on that day. While years before I had relished in all those comments on my wall, if only to validate my existence in some fucked up way, the thought of 24 hours worth of Facebook notifications coming from people who I’d stopped caring about just seemed like a horrific way to spend my birthday. I didn’t need the homophobic president of my high school graduating class wishing me a happy birthday, nor did I need an ex-boyfriend posting a photo from my 22nd birthday when he and I were together and in love. I didn’t need any of it and it’s not as though my real friends would be posting birthday messages on my wall anyway.
Prior to dropping off the Facebook grid, I started to whittle away at my friend count. Of course, when you do this you get emails from people asking why you’ve unfriended them as if unfriending someone is the most horrible thing you could possibly do to another human being. There were more than a few times that I relented and re-added people just to quell their inquiring about it, but I did so with my arm behind my back as I silently screamed “uncle!” in my head. It’s hard to tell someone your interest in their life is on par with your interest in ants or the components necessary to make cement or some other pointless thing you come across in life that has no purpose. People don’t need to hear how inconsequential they are to you.
After my birthday had come and gone, I thought I’d join back up again. There were so many times that out of boredom and habit, I absentmindedly typed Facebook.com, but then I’d realize that I had come so far. One month turned into two, then three and now here I am at four. And while I’ll occasionally probe friends for updates on a past boyfriend or some fella on whom I had the biggest crush when I was 12, I’ve pretty much left Facebook behind. Sure, my friends complain that “I have to send you a separate and special email to my party, Amanda, because you’re not on Facebook and it’s annoying,” but I don’t really care. I’m clean now and I want to stay that way. And I may just stay this way forever because I’ve realized I’m not missing much and babies in sailor outfits are a dime a dozen.