Your Friends Miss You
Think for a minute. Think about your interactions online for the past few months. Really think about them. The posts you've made comments on. The news articles you've clicked. The people you're interacting with.
Now ask yourself: Have any of them been your close friends? Have any of the posts been things you agree with? Have any of the discussions been about positive things? Have they been actual conversations and not vitriol filled arguments?
If it's starting to dawn on your that you've only spent your time online interacting with people you don't agree with and/or don't even know all that well then: Stop It. Do you know how your close friends are doing? Do you know what's new in their life? How are they handling COVID19? Are they struggling? Thriving? Are you finding that you can tell how the people you don't agree with are doing more so than your own social circle?
If this is happening to you, too, I have one piece of advice: Stop it.
I know it's easier said than done.
These are turbulent times. We want to feel in control. We'd even settle for just involved. Because we've lost touch with our friends, because we get sucked into the never ending vacuum of bad news and endless debates. We'll take whatever interaction the algorithm throws at us, even if it's negative. We want to fight against the dark. We want our words to make a difference. To change minds, to bring people back from the fringe. Meanwhile, they're doing their best to bring US back from the edge. And yet, no one is moving a single muscle from their beliefs.
That's because it takes a hell of a lot more than a Facebook debate to change someone's belief system.
No one wins Facebook/Instagram/Reddit arguments. And if they think they have then they're either very persuasive or they're in denial. I'm not a betting man, but I know where I'd put my chips.
Engaging in fruitless online debates will only leave you feeling frustrated and angry that no one has changed their minds. Depressed because you've wasted so much time. Anxious because you feel life is spiraling out of control. And lonely because you're now isolated from the people you do care about.
So stop it. Get off Facebook. Get off Instagram. Or, if you have to stay connected, "mute" the people you disagree with and reach out to the friends who you need in your life.
Call, text, or message a friend. Check in on them. They probably miss you.