The Silent Reason You're So Lonely (That You Do To Yourself EVERY Day) — And How To Fix It

Photo: Zack Minor on Unsplash
social media addiction obsession making you lonely

Having some level of connection with people is a key to what makes us human — if we don't, we’ll start crying out “Where’s Wilson?!” Over time, that need for connection has expanded thanks to social media. We are able to connect with old high school friends to people we wouldn't even imagine meeting in real life. It does have a dark side though.

When people post a photo on social media — whether it be with no makeup or with perfect photoshopping — we are searching for affirmation from our friends.

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If we don't get that support, or a post doesn't do so well, then we become depressed. It feels as if our friends have betrayed us, or we did something wrong.

People typically only post the positive aspects of their life on social media, but it doesn't display the whole truth about our lives. We all have our ups and downs. We compare ourselves to one another, we think to ourselves, "this guy/girl has better looks than me." When we try to live up to the social media standards, we end up feeling like our own lives ‘suck’, when really none of it's real.

We tend to think that every celebrity is having the time of their lives by what they are posting on social media, but when you hear about stories such as Demi Lovato struggling with substance abuse issues or Robin Williams' struggles with depression and eventually taking his own life, you realize even celebrities are as human as the rest of us. 

Happiness is based on having meaningful connections rather than a huge amount of followers.

Addiction to social media and instant gratification is seen everywhere in life.

At restaurants we're more likely to see children playing on their IPads than talking with their family. Waiting for the bus, people are more often checking their Instagram on their smart phones than chatting with the person next to them. When you're waiting for your professor to start class, the students sit silently staring at their phoneWe are constantly in a dopamine-driven feedback loop from overuse of social media and games, and it causes people to be less patient and seek short term benefits. We expect that same dopamine rush in our relationships and in other parts of our lives, too.

How many drinks can I have to be happy or keep up? How many people can I sleep with? How many parties can I go to? What can I record next to become the next viral hit on the internet?

Our quality of life is in direct response to the thoughts we have on a regular basis.

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We can’t “like” our way into a promotion, we can’t “follow” our way into meaningful connections. We have to earn it through getting off the phone.

But it's not our fault — we see value in social media and getting more and more followers. The more followers and likes we get, the better we feel like we're doing at life — and ultimately it's making us more and more lonely.

Instead of relying on your phone to keep you from being bored, choose a different way to happiness. This doesn’t mean to throw your phone away and never look at it again, but like you do with junk food, use it sparingly.

Ultimately, your happiness starts with YOU. Start by putting your phone away during dinner, turning off your notifications on Instagram and Facebook every time someone posts a new meme, and instead, allow yourself to be loved by you and the people around you.

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Steven Hall is a writer who covers trending, pop culture and relationship topics.