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Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Last week, I embarked on my month long challenge from some of the social media networks I frequent a lot, too much in fact. Yesterday was the end to my first week of the challenge.

Here’s an overview of my routine before I took the challenge.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is reach for my phone, off my alarm, and scroll for updated feeds on my phone. During my commute to work, I would be checking several social apps updates, and usually find the same news.

Over meals, I would be at times be posting pictures of new dishes or restaurants. I would constantly be conscious of checking in, trying to learn ways to capture selfies, sieving out better photos to upload and thinking up witty posts. At home, I would be multitasking and sub-consciously scrolling and re-scrolling feeds even when there are no updates. At the same time, I was also subscribed to email newsletters from same sites.

Recently, I found myself being hooked on to constantly checking for feeds and notifications. It was eating up a lot of my time and energy. Besides, I was allocating a portion of my attention to mindless scrolling, wishing for things that didn’t matter to me and wasting time unnecessarily.

The Start of My Challenge

A day before my challenge, I posted a note on my personal page that I was taking a month break. I then proceeded to uninstall the apps on my phone. On the first day of my challenge, I had to consciously remind myself to stop reaching out for my phone or stop wondering if anyone has liked my last post.

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On the second day, I was still slightly affected by the lack of connection with my friends (acquaintances) virtually. I was tempted to steal a peek from the shoulders of others, but I managed to pull myself away. I began to unsubscribe from emails that I’d always delete without reading on automatic mode.

The third day, I was able to focus with full attention on my work without reaching out for my phone. Lesser emails were coming in and I took lesser time as well. I gathered that the more important news to keep updated would be from the news platform so I subscribed to notifications from news station.

On the fourth day, I started paying attention to my surrounding and noticed that most were looking into their phones either on social feed or watching videos. At meal times, I felt a tad conscious of not taking photo or reading on phone while eating.

On the fifth day, I began reading more news from news notification, unsubscribed from more newsletters that I had signed up earlier and had more quality emails coming to me like LifeHack and Highbrow. I completed my work lists that I had been putting off for a while without being interrupted.

On the sixth day, I feel more productive and less consumed by the addiction to my phone. I slept earlier.

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Today, I am not as tempted to log in to the social media sites nor hooked on to my phone as the week before.

Here’s what I realized…

While it was hard to disconnect myself from the more than ever connected world, I began to slowly realize and understand certain aspects of me that I’ve never paid attention to.

It was hard to turn off, but when we do, our senses open up more. I began to enjoy my meals without having to religiously take photos. I visited places without bothering with connection to check in or take selfies. I immerse myself in the experience and the company I am with. I didn’t even have to think of what to post, re-write my thoughts or edit my grammar, let alone thinking if someone has liked my photos or posts. I began to enjoy the scenery and watch in awe how the city has changed when I was busy looking down.

Clear the mindless clutters. There’s something about them that hooks us on. Be it watching videos after videos, or reading posts of others, it seems like a never-ending process. By the time we realize it, we’ve probably spent a few hours just doing the finger exercise and become too tired to do anything else. Plus, most of the stuffs we see, though entertaining, are not as important as we think. A week into the challenge, I don’t feel I’m missing out much at all.

More time for productive work. I was able to do more other than being on the apps all the time. I spent time re-organizing my tasks and schedules. I cleaned up my inbox. I wrote more articles. I completed more work in office and to-do lists at home. I am clearing myself of my mind clutter at the same time.

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Switching off is necessary to re-connect with ourselves. Being connect all the time keeps us engaged all the time, we would always be switched on mentally, one way or another as there would always be a constant reminder ringing in our heads to check these apps and read those notifications. I made time to cook my own meals, read books and chew with mindfulness during my meals. I’m sleeping earlier and reading less in the dark which is great for my eyes. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to stretch and look outside the window, smiling to be greeted by dawn.

In a matter of days, my lifestyle has changed just by removing one habit that I have unhealthily built up and incorporated into my lifestyle without me realizing it. Instead of feeling the constant need to check my phone or reaching out and automatically opening apps to check for repeating feeds, I started exploring other channels and find myself enjoying more useful and quality articles and sites that will help me grow.

Disconnecting has brought me closer to reality, I re-learned how to look up when walking, to spend time being connected with those I care and improved my sleep quality.

We are so connected virtually yet we’re disconnected from those we actually care about in reality.

While being great communication tools, we get engulfed in the emotional and psychological ties when we get captivated by them. At the end of the day, would the likes and loves we collect from our selfies, photos and photos have meant anything? Would we miss the pages we follow fervently if they’re gone one day?

I am on my second week of challenge and I find myself holding on less and less to online connections. I began to pay more attention to real connections (real conversations over meals, no risking my life on the phone when walking, making time to prioritize real work over notifications) and I am enjoying every moment of it.

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If you are up for the challenge, try it for a week and see what resistances you will feel (even now thinking about not being able to check your feeds and notifications), the effects during the challenge and what happens when you have been disconnected for a week.

What would you have missed?

Or would you be missed at all?

I’d think not, but even if you would be missed at all, the real connections would know where and how to reach you.

Featured photo credit: Pablo via pablo.buffer.com

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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