Pruning the Facebook Tree

These days, it’s considered abnormal for someone to not have a Facebook account. Along with our account, comes needless time spent “facebook stalking” others, broadcasting our emotional life through passive-aggressive statuses, and building our self esteem up through our lengthy grocery list “to do today” posts or descriptions of the 4 course dinner we just made (did you ever notice that no one ever mentions that the house is a wreck and the kids have been parked in front of the TV all day while that dinner was made or that amazing blog post was written?).

*NOTE: I am writing this post during nap time. Even though I should actually be studying right now. (cringe). *

Along with all of the nonsense though, comes a lot of good things out of Facebook. I’m able to reconnect with old friends, share photos with family across the country, and can be quickly alerted if anyone has a need that I can meet. However, we all know that this is rarely the only thing that comes out of using Facebook.

Facebook is the one thing in life that you can easily control. Did someone make you upset? Are you wasting your time? Did you get offended? Are you being tempted to emotionally connect with someone other than your significant other? These things can really weigh us down, and they are all to often mediated by this addictive social network! The solution is easy, though—VERY easy: click the “x” and get out of it. Getting out of a website or clicking a button on your computer is easy! Wouldn’t it be great if the rest of our lives were so easy?

(Why thank you, Ms. Know-It-All for saying that ridiculous comment and hurting my feelings and stressing me out. I think I’ll just take my finger and press your nose and WHOLA! you will disappear and never return to my vicinity again!)

Here’s another secret: are you being emotionally drained by something derived from Facebook? Guess what?! You can delete that person from being your “friend” (or “block” them from seeing your statuses or you from seeing theirs if you don’t feel comfortable “unfriending” that person). Facebook, like anything in life, should be building us up as a person. Our use of it should be intentional and in our control. If it is not intentional, we should be looking at how to change that. Living with purpose is similar to pruning a tree. We can let our life grow wild and out of control, dropping dead branches, getting infested with bugs, and entangling ourselves and others in its growth, or we can be purposeful about limiting outside and intrinsic influences, carefully shaping it like a Bonsai tree. We can prune out things that aren’t helping us get to where we need to in life, and we can make decisions now that will influence how are life looks ten years from now.

I’m not saying Facebook is horrible. In fact, I think it’s a great tool. I am simply saying that if it is causing you to stumble or if the “friends” you have on it are tearing you down instead of building you up, then please have the courage to change some things.

Here are some questions to help you decide who should stay on your “friend” list so that you can have a beautiful Bonsai Facebook tree instead of a massive droopy Willow tree that entangles itself and you.

1) Whose life are you genuinely interested in, whose do you not care about, and whose Facebook page do you stalk because you are nosey or enjoy gawking at them to either make yourself feel better or because it’s entertaining? Be honest. It isn’t fair to stalk another person’s life (even if they are foolish enough to put it out there for everyone to see) if it’s not because you are being genuine.

2) Who causes you strife on Facebook? It might be through her statuses, comments on yours, or even from that one person who drives you crazy because he sends you three Farmville requests every day.

3) Who would you actually seek out to talk to if you saw them in real life? Anyone who doesn’t make this cut should probably not take up room on your Facebook tree.

Once you get your Friends’ list trimmed down, you may want to consider a few other actions, too. Simple solutions to real problems (don’t think anyone has these problems? Talk to your friends!):

1) Problem: spending time on Facebook inhibits you from accomplishing things you need to, or takes time away from your family.

Solution: decide on a particular time of day/week that you will be on, and actually stick to not getting on outside of that time frame. If you do this, then make sure you aren’t getting email or text/phone alerts about Facebook activity. Another solution is to only use your Smartphone and to not get on the website version. This is what I do and it does really limit the amount of time viewing other people’s pages or sending message to people just because it’s not as easy to do through my app than it is via my PC and website.

2) Problem: people who you don’t feel you can delete (family, for instance) are really bothering you.

Solution: block them from seeing your statuses, or make it so theirs don’t pop up in your news feed. This has been a wonderful emotional-tank saver in my life!

3) Problem: You are getting too involved with someone you shouldn’t.

Solution: share your password or even an account with your significant other. It’s also pretty easy to delete someone, and even if you struggle in the beginning, protecting your relationship is very much worth the uncomfortableness you may experience at first.

Keep watching Life More Simply–I will be launching a Facebook Bonsai Tree Challenge very soon that will give you an opportunity to take back your personal Facebook life and live with intention! If you choose to start pruning back your Facebook Tree today, be sure to note how many “friends” and “pages liked” you started with so you can report this in the challenge! Get excited about shaping your life. This is only one step, but it has the potential to greatly improve your thoughts, and taking your mind captive is the key to living the life you want.

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