woman looking into her own reflection with many faces looking back

Social media is draining my social life

Social media is draining my social life

My quality of life has an inverse relationship with the time I spend on social media.

Here’s one reason why…

I’m single. And sometimes on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder …etc I connect with someone I find attractive. Sometimes it’s someone I met briefly in person; sometimes someone I only saw briefly in person; and sometimes someone I have absolutely zero connection with in person.

It’s not hard to find attractive people with impressive feeds and stories.

And even when they don’t purposefully put their best foot forward on social media (I know I’m guilty of that!), I do it for them in my mind.

And the supply is endless! Endless profiles of attractive people with a blank-slate character who I give more than the benefit of the doubt. Because, in my singleness, I guess I hope for the ideal.

And then in a fantasy, I often hope they think the same way about me.

man holding phone, scrolling on phone
Then I’m reminded it’s not reality.
In the first case,

I have no real, or only a small, connection to the person. It reminds me that “I’m not dating her” or “I’m not dating someone like her” … or “I’m not even dating anyone.” :/

In the second case,

I sometimes try to actually connect — cold messaging, friend requesting, swiping right. Or after already friending, following, or matching — then it’s warm messaging or inviting on a date.

The most common result is silence. It’s not always right away (though it often has been), but it usually ends in fizzling out after an embarrassingly small spark or in ghosting. Silence.

In the rare third case,

If I ever actually do connect, I’m too enamored by who I imagined her to be that I feel not good enough and my confidence/charisma become elusive. Or she can’t actually live up to the idealized person in my mind.

So I’m still single.

Yep. Still single.

Sunset, solo man
But maybe it will be different next time!

So I try again.

Intermittent reinforcements so often employed in marketing, video games, gambling, dating apps, and so much more, teach me that “It only has to work once!” It’s worth it to keep trying, because “Next time will be different!”

But it’s not. And the repetition is discouraging. Quality of life diminished.

So that’s one way social media is draining my social life.

I tried to share one honest example. This experience isn’t ruling my life, and it’s not the only way I’m trying to meet and date people. It isn’t even the biggest negative effect of social media in my life. But it has happened, and it’s real.

Perhaps the struggle I described is unique to me (give me a shout out if I’m not alone!), but there are endless ways social media can remind me or anyone that reality isn’t ideal.

Zach in Spain, sitting on stairs
Disclaimers and apologies.

To anyone who met on social media or a dating app, I have no resentment or ill will toward you. I applaud and am happy for you :)

To all the women who I cold messaged or cold friend-requested, I apologize if it was awkward (or creepy… I really hope not!).

To any woman who I didn’t value enough because of comparisons with idealized fantasies, I’m sorry.

To all the people who think I’m shallow after reading this post, I forgive you. Sometimes I worry about that myself…

To everyone, including myself, know that you are good enough!

The hope.

I take comfort in knowing that in the long run the struggle will be worth it…

And that…

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

1 Cor 2:9

And that…

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 30:5
Thanks for reading this far!

Sorry this post isn’t really about solutions. It’s more about being authentic and validating something hard in my life. My HWN in this post is in being honest about a struggle.

p.s. Here are some updates since my last post :)

I performed on washboard at a couple venues — Dalton’s in Payson with my cousin Vernon and Highland Cove Retirement Community with Becky Burr and the Bluegrass Boys — and on Trumpet at the same retirement community (photo-cred: McKay, you can see him in the bell of the trumpet if you look closely).

Zach and Vernon at Dalton's
Becky Burr and the Blue Grass Boys at Highland Cove Retirement Community
Zach on Trumpet, black and white

I had dinner with my good friend Russell and his family! It was good to reconnect after several years :)

Russell Michael and Family

I went with siblings, cousins, and aunts to Anna’s performance at Hale Center Theater :) and ended up getting in free because a stranger gave me an extra ticket.

Strictly Ballroom with family

My Aunt Shelly’s funeral was a wonderful family reunion — on both sides of the veil I’m sure :)

Duvall siblings at Shelly's funeral

3 thoughts on “Social media is draining my social life

  1. Thanks Zach for this and the other reminders you share. It was great to see you again especially before the social distancing kicked in!

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