No Social Media? When you Feel Left Out
By, Patience Domowski, LCSW
When all your friends are talking about ‘Insta’ and Tweeting and ‘Snapping’ and you’re not… you’re likely feeling left out. So what do you do if all your friends are on Social Media and you’re not?
Maybe you’re not on social media because you’re parents won’t let you, you’ve lost the privilege because you got in trouble for making a poor choice online, or you’re just too young but your older siblings and friends are on there (legal age is 13+). Maybe you just don’t really want to get sucked into Instagram or your parents won’t let you have a smartphone, or they let you do some social media but not others.
Regardless of why you can’t be on it, what do you do about it?
1)Realize it's okay to not be doing something just because ‘everyone else’ is. It’s certainly hard, and you may feel left out, but realize there’s a reason you aren’t on it, and it’s okay.
2) Find other ways to connect with your friends- texting, talking in person, emails, etc
3)Remember not everything on social media is real. For example often people only present their ‘best selves’ and will only show pictures of them looking their best, or pictures that look like they’re having fun, when that might not be the reality of their life.
4)Try to cultivate other aspects of your social life that is offline such as joining clubs, activities, gatherings, and other events. Try to take up hobbies and find other interests. Kids are often happier interacting in person and having hobbies and interests than just perusing their friend’s profiles online.
Being on social media can cause some depression too. Seeing all the ‘perfect’ lives of your friends, realizing you’re not invited to parties that everyone else enjoyed, or even being a target of cyber bullying, can all cause feelings of sadness and loneliness. Remember that it's not about how many online friends or followers you have, or how many ‘likes’ on your photos you get, but it's about the real-life connections and friendships you make that will last and be more meaningful and real for you now and in the future.
Its okay to remind your friends ‘Hey, I'm not on facebook, so if you throw a birthday party, make sure to personally invite me!’ If you feel like you’re not being invited or included in activities, maybe set up an event or party yourself. Invite everyone with text or email, or be super old school and send print invitations in the mail. Then the people who come are people you can be friends with. You can still take pictures and enjoy the event, even if its not online.
As you get older your parents may allow you a presence online, or as you learn to make more mature decisions they may loosen the rules. Or even not, when you’re an adult you can decide these things for yourself. But make sure you’re not getting sucked into doing anything just because ‘everyone else is doing it’ and that you’re still grounded in ‘Real Life’ friendships and social connections, not just online ones.