Do you consider yourself to be a social butterfly? Probably not, if the media has anything to do with it. Many of us think that everyone else has a better life than what we’ve got because of what we see online. We compare ourselves unfavorably to friends, family, and even strangers, and conclude that we’re not sociable enough. Well, if you’ve ever had that doubt weighing over you, it might be time to stop and realize you’re actually a lot more social than think.
The downside of social media
It’s impossible to escape social media these days. If you don’t have an account on one site or another, you seem to be in the vast minority of people. These platforms are brilliant for keeping in touch with others, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Spending an hour scrolling through Instagram feeds can actually be detrimental to your mental health.
Almost everyone uses social media to advertise the good moments in their life. Many people want others to envy what they have, so they paint their life in a favorable light for them to see. That might be great for them, but when everyone on your feed is doing the same thing, it can really get you down. While you’re sitting there in your PJs eating ice cream, everyone else is sunning themselves up on a beach or going on an adventure with their friends. Why can’t you be that sociable?
Doing the research
A vast amount of research has been carried out to explore why we have feelings of social inferiority. Although these experiments have come in different forms, they’ve all largely found the same results.
It was identified in nearly every study that participants considered their social lives to be lacking in comparison to those of other people. From things like the number of parties they go to, to how often they see their family, they almost always ranked themselves lower than everyone else. In the eyes of these participants, the people they compared themselves to were part of the “in” crowd, while they were sitting neglected on the outside.
Analyzing the results
The primary outcome that researchers were able to pull from these results were that participants were regularly judging their sociability based on the same flaw. The people they were comparing themselves to were almost exclusively ones who are prevalent on social media. These people are always doing the most social activities, and are hardest to avoid online, so it makes sense that they’d come to mind first. If you’re always comparing yourself to people like this, then, of course, you’ll consider yourself less sociable.
Increasing your sociability
If you’re worried that you’re not sociable enough, it might be a good idea to stay away from social media. That probably sounds like an outrageous suggestion to some people, but it might be worth giving yourself some distance. Changing the people you regularly see on these platforms is also ideal, because it means you’re less likely to feel inferior after scrolling through your feeds. If someone is always making you feel bad about your sociability because of what they post, it might be worth separating yourself from them.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that your social life is as busy and vibrant as you want it to be. If you want to do more, then you’ll go out and do it. Otherwise, you should remind yourself that you’re doing as much as you feel comfortable, and that’s what matters. Don’t force yourself to go out and do something, especially if you’re not a huge extrovert. It’ll only make you feel worse.
At the end of the day, it’s the quality of your friendships that should take more precedence over the quantity of them. If you’re surrounded by people who enjoy your company, and who invite you to do things, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your social life. In our opinion, it’s thriving.