It's super exciting to check your Facebook and find a Friend Request. Who could it be? An old friend from high school? Your former mentor from college? That cute girl from the party last night? But when reality comes crashing down, and it's that weird friend of a friend from the party last night who made everyone just straight up UNCOMFORTABLE, what do you do? Friend him anyway.
"YOU'RE WEAK," I tell myself, accepting Friend Requests from people
I don't like. "YOU'RE WEAK AND NO ONE RESPECTS YOU."
But there might, in fact, be some harm to increasing your Facebook friend count, a new study has found. The University of Edinburgh Business School has shown that the more Facebook friends one has, the more likely they are to be stressed out. "[G]iven that social networks are primarily arenas for self-presentation, they are inextricably linked with the possibility for social anxiety," says the study.
With Facebook's growing popularity, we've found ourselves in new social situations, giving ourselves to different people. The study's author, Ben Marder, even compared Facebook to "a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social land mines."
As Shakespeare said, "to thine own self be true." But now Facebook is forcing us to present ourselves to our friends AND our bosses AND our Nanas all at once. It is A LOT harder to be true to thine own self when you're presenting multiple different selves.
"Tell me about it.".
So how are we, the Facebook users, supposed to deal with the exponential growth of stress from adding Facebook friends? We can either a) become more comfortable with ourselves, and do the draining emotional work of accepting the parts of our lives that might be unseemly to SOME Facebook friends — understanding, say, that your boss might see you partying or nana might see you mid-coitus — and accepting that everything you post is an aspect of you, and that the people in your life like you, even if you do something they wouldn't. It's frightening, being that open with people, letting them see who you are and what you're doing with your life. But it can help to build lasting, important relationships with the people who care about you the most.
Or you can just straight-up unfriend a bunch of people. Just boot 'em right the hell out of your internet life. And, while you're at it, your real life too.
"Hey Grammy? Pop Pop? I'm worried you might judge me at some point
so to prevent that I need you to both get out of my house right now."
Do you have too many Facebook friends to be happy? Let me know on twitter @mikeyfromsu or in the comments below!
Check out 20 Totally Embarrassing Accidental Facebook Statuses!