You have to admit – you get a teeny tiny thrill every time a thumb or heart pops up in your social media notifications. Someone has taken the time to read your post … enjoyed it … supports you … and wants you to know. Yay!
Compare that with the feeling you get when you realise you’ve posted a dud – that only your sister and your lovely friend who likes everything show any interest in. It flaps and flounders in the public gaze, tainting your timeline like a toxic turd. Disaster! What did I do wrong?
Don’t even mention the horror of finding out all your friends have been invited to a party and you haven’t made the cut. Does the host hate me? Does everyone hate me?? IS MY ENTIRE LIFE A SHAM???
OK, this is all a bit of exaggeration (unless you catch me on a bad day), but it is true that most of us like to be liked.
And it’s never been easier to count how many friends we have. To see photos of pals out and about, having fun without us. To find metrics to compare our popularity with others’. To judge the quality of our relationships without even leaving the house.
A friend and I were having an insecurity fest the other day, and she mentioned an article she’d read. It said that it’s actually ingrained in us to fear social isolation: “Being rejected by our tribe in our pre-civilised past was a matter of life and death because it would have meant losing access to food, protection and mating partners.”
Phew – I’m normal! My social anxiety is a natural reaction, and designed to keep me alive. It’s a personality trait I should celebrate!
So please don’t like or comment on this blog. I’ll be thankful that you’ve given my survival instincts a workout and saved me from potential starvation. Or I’ll cry and throw my laptop in the canal. To be honest it could go either way.