Unfriended: What It Was Like to Give Up Facebook for 40 Days

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I will never forget when I got a Facebook for the first time ever. I was in high school, and I begged my parents to get me one. I wanted to fit in with everyone else. I wanted to "Facebook creep" and see people's pictures. When I finally got Facebook I was beyond excited and friend requested over 100 people in one night.

Facebook has become so different to me now as an adult.

Before my "Forty Day Facebook Cleanse", Facebook was merely an app that I visited out of sheer boredom. Gone were the days of me wanting to see what my friends were up to. For the most part, I barely registered what was on my phone screen when flipping through my newsfeed. Sometimes, I would find out that a friend was engaged or received a promotion, but more often than not I saw political post after political post after cooking video. 

I also noticed that whenever I checked Facebook, I mostly experienced negative emotions. I would be jealous of my friends who were enjoying ladies' nights or formals. I became angered by people who dismissed others' political opinions. I also felt anxious if my post or my picture did not receive enough likes in enough time. Surprisingly, I am not the only person who feels this way. According to a study conducted by Time Magazine, one in three people experience similar emotions when visiting Facebook. 

I did not want to feel this way all the time because of an app. I decided that I would give up Facebook for forty days during Lent in order to get my life back onto a happier, less envious track.

10 Days After the Start of the Facebook Cleanse

I will admit that the first ten days without Facebook was difficult. I noticed that during these ten days I would try to tap on the Facebook app. I would immediately remember my Facebook cleanse and I would exit the app. I did become anxious at times, wondering if I was missing any friends' engagements or pregnancy announcements. I felt slightly separated from society and I began to go onto Twitter and Instagram more to make up for lost contact. 

20 Days After the Start of the Facebook Cleanse

The times I tried to check my Facebook decreased quite a bit. I still wondered what I was missing. I had to start finding out about events in-person, as opposed to the Facebook invites I was receiving. Although friends asked me to check videos that they tagged me in on Facebook, I remembered my cleanse. I did not notice any dramatic changes in my mood at this point.

30 Days After the Start of the Facebook Cleanse

I began to feel a lot happier and more relaxed. I rarely thought about my Facebook friends and their opinions. I did not take pictures to impress some people I have never met. I felt that, although I was missing out on some information, I could breathe a little easier and not worry about feeling jealous of others.

The End of the Facebook Cleanse

I thought that once the forty days were done I would desperately want to get back onto the app. However, I did not. I now still check it from time to time, but I do not feel this need to check it every few hours. My mood for the day does not revolve around others, and somehow, I feel more connected to my friends and family than ever before.

Overall, I am glad I took a break from the world's largest social media network.