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By Pippa Abernathy
Maybe you've done the same thing: you see your friend's list on Facebook or your follower numbers on Instagram, Twitter, or whatever will be the next new thing, and notice it's gone down. Again.
I torture myself by looking at who liked my past Facebook memories. I check for any blue "Add Friend" buttons. Then I ruminate over why someone I had a bond with no longer wanted to be connected to my life.
What did I do? What didn't I do? Why couldn't I have clicked "unfriend" first so I wouldn't feel this way? I start to agonize over every little thing I could have done wrong, even if I haven't talked to this person in over 10 years.
Should I have liked more posts? Commented more? Did I forget to write Happy Birthday on their timeline? Did I offend them? Even though I'll ever know the answer, I still try and solve a mystery that will always be a cold case.
Then the pandemic hit and the ruminating got worse. Would I lose even more friends because I wanted to stay safe and be seen as reclusive? Would I forget social skills and be awkward when I re-entered society? My self-nitpicking got much worse. I naively thought that many of these people would be like me and want to keep in touch decades down the line. Seeing less and less of the people who used to make you happy or connected already feels bad, but a global pandemic that separates you from other people? Yikes.
But what I realized was that focusing on these losses distracted me from what I do have. The people who regularly interact with me, text me, check in on me in some way are the ones who deserve my attention and my appreciation. Moping over numbers isn't productive and isn't an indicator of your worth.
When struggling with people who have unfriended or unfollowed you over the years, ask yourself the following:
1. Do/did you actively talk to them?
2. Do/did they add anything to your life?
3. Who should you really be making more time for in your life right now?
Focus on the relationships you can work on, the ones who have always been consistent or really match with who you are now. I can't promise you won't still think about the relationships lost, but you'll feel a lot more relieved knowing you are surrounding yourself with people who do want you around.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.