Does Facebook make you feel less satisfied with your life?

A new study out of Germany found that one in three people felt more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook.

The researchers say that people are envious of their “friends” leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry. They say Facebook is an unprecedented way to compare your life to other people’s lives.

They said people often leave or reduce their use of the site. (I wonder if that makes them feel better or once the seed is planted, it’s there?)

From Reuters:

“Researchers from Humboldt University and from Darmstadt’s Technical University found vacation photos were the biggest cause of resentment with more than half of envy incidents triggered by holiday snaps on Facebook.

Social interaction was the second most common cause of envy as users could compare how many birthday greetings they received to those of their Facebook friends and how many “likes” or comments were made on photos and postings.

“Passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations and socialize,” the researchers said in the report “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” released on Tuesday.”

The researchers found that people in their 30s envied familial happiness. Women focused on physical attractiveness and social interaction while men focused on accomplishments.

I never really thought I was envious of my “friends” on Facebook (OK I was a little jealous of my elementary school friend who took a fantastic trip to Europe with her new boyfriend) but I have definitely felt like other people seemed happier than me on Facebook. It seems like other people’s families are always doing fun things, and we’re always working (school work, business work, house work). I also think from Facebook that my other mom “friends” get out more than I do.

I think it would be easier for me to drop Facebook if I didn’t live so far away from all my friends and family. I do have friends that take “breaks” from Facebook but I think that would be really hard for me to do since I don’t have the option of seeing my friends in person.

Do you think you are envious of your friends on Facebook? Do you think other people are more attractive, more accomplished, or having more fun than you? Are you jealous of “friends’ ” vacations? Do you take breaks from Facebook?

39 comments Add your comment

cat

January 23rd, 2013
12:53 am

Yes!! makes me sad every time i go on! I hate seeing how happy everyone is, when i’m not, It’s just become part of the daily thing and now i have to check it

L C

January 23rd, 2013
12:59 am

Interesting.

chuck

January 23rd, 2013
1:03 am

Who cares about what everyone else is doing. Everyone is so fake these days anyways.

Unfacebooked

January 23rd, 2013
4:33 am

Facebook (and similar sites) gives people opportunity to post boasts and brags that are exaggerated and often beyond the realistic. friends that read posts become upset that their life isn’t ‘as good’ as that of others are being unnecessarily cheated out of their right to be happy. I say facebook is a negative influence on society. If you want to see hoe I’m going come to my house and observe me at home with my family. Don’t look for the fantacy postings I might be tempted to put up!

Disgusted in Dekalb

January 23rd, 2013
6:15 am

Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest epitomize the problems with this country. Its all about me. This vapid self-centeredness is pathetic and disgusting. People need to stop thinking and talking only about themselves and get out in the world and help OTHER people. When did being self-centered become what we strive for in this country.

A

January 23rd, 2013
6:19 am

One of many reasons why I’ve never drunk the Facebook Kool-Aid!

dcb

January 23rd, 2013
7:10 am

No, I don’t think this way at all. I enjoy being kept abreast of what my friends and kin who live a distance away are up to. And especially to finding high school and college buddies with whom I had lost track. Oh I admit to occasionally worrying about why the prolific posters seem to feel they must do so. But short of that, I wish more of my friends would post. Previous to Facebook it was often only at Christmas that I would hear from many of them.

Voice of Reason

January 23rd, 2013
7:31 am

Funny thing is. I look at most of my Facebook friends, most of whom I went to high school with and I am glad that my life turned out the way that it did. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to and I have worked hard to make it so. If people envy me for that, so be it, as for me, I’m happy the way I am.

It’s kind of like watching an episode of Jerry Springer, where no matter how bad my day may seem, at least, I’m not on Springer.

Grace Slick

January 23rd, 2013
7:36 am

Turn off the computer and enjoy life; Facebook will not provide anything worth value. Go meet new people rather than staring at a computer screen.

Van Jones

January 23rd, 2013
7:39 am

Sometimes I want to post: May your life someday be as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook.

motherjanegoose

January 23rd, 2013
7:52 am

I was late to join Facebook. I have enjoyed catching up with people I have not seen in YEARS. Example: A friend from Kinder. We moved so many times, I did not have a clue where she was. Another classmate tracked me down and now we are in touch. Turns out, we have both been vacationing in Marco Island for over a dozen years and did not know it. She lives in Chicago. I could have walked right past her ( while at the beach) and kept going.

I enjoy seeing what others are up to. The exception is when people post a play by play of their day, ” I went to the library and got a book to read. Came home and walked my dog, Now I am so tired I have no idea what to fix for dinner.” Really?

I am also intrigued with the funny pictures and quotes people post. A good laugh brightens my day. Yes, some people do like to brag about their wonderful life but I know NO one has a wonderful life 24/7.

I went to church in ABQ on Sunday. The pastor mentioned this, “You are responsible for your JOY…not God, He will give you things to be joyful about. You will choose.” I think I will adopt that as a New Year’s resolution, even if it is late. Will I be happy all the time…NO. Will I remind myself that I can choose to be joyful…I will work on it. Jealousy never got me anywhere. I admire those who are truly successful. On Sunday, I was at the front desk of the hotel and chatting with the clerks. The man was a student at UNM. I asked the lady if she was in school. ” No, I did not go to college but maybe someday!” The young man said, ” But she is an amazing Mother and has 3 wonderful children!”
WOW….a college student saying that? I thanked her for being a good parent, as we need LOTS more of them!

Chaos

January 23rd, 2013
7:56 am

@motherjanegoose

What that college student didn’t tell you was that he’s poking that mother of three and one of her kids is actually his.

Jeff

January 23rd, 2013
7:56 am

Stop hating people for having what you don’t have. I would think the constant mental state of jealousy and revenge would get tiresome.

Then again, that may explain the growth in the prescription drug market.

Mayhem

January 23rd, 2013
7:59 am

No it doesn’t. I don’t get jealous or envious of others. I enjoy my life, I have an amazing life, and nothing on a social network can bring me down. I just scroll away if I don’t like someone’s post.

Now I have a few narcissist friends who constantly put up pictures of themselves, change their profile picture, etc. I have one friend who posts at least 15 times a day. I just go once in the morning, catch up with everyone, and then I’m OUT…..

I live a full happy life, far away from the computer when I’m home. I’m not tied to the darn thing and I’d rather be in the back yard raking leaves, then sitting in front of a freaking computer or iPad…..I’d much rather be outside.

Jeff

January 23rd, 2013
8:00 am

Thank you MJG for spinning into positive statements exactly what I think about the topic.

Chaos

January 23rd, 2013
8:01 am

Mayhem and I did it in a pile of leaves once. It was wonderful.

motherjanegoose

January 23rd, 2013
8:16 am

@Jeff…thank you! @ Chaos you missed the bus? @ Van Jones…thanks for the laugh.

GTT

January 23rd, 2013
8:18 am

No. I simply appreciate the opportunity to keep up with friends easily.

Chaos

January 23rd, 2013
8:19 am

@motherjanegoose

You honestly can’t be that thick. Can you?

I hear crickets chirping, not a good sign.

Mayhem

January 23rd, 2013
8:44 am

Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.

Alberta

January 23rd, 2013
8:45 am

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

Techmom

January 23rd, 2013
9:01 am

No, it does not make me depressed! I love keeping up with friends and what’s going on in the world. I’ve had great conversations with people who I would not have otherwise. I enjoy seeing places my friends have visited and have added some of those places to my bucket list.

I also have some pretty honest friends who share not only the ups but the downs in life as well. We’re there to support each other even if we’re half a continent away. I have a “secret” group on Facebook of 7 of my girlfriends that I mostly went to HS with, 2 are husbands of guys we went to HS with. Most of us were not best friends in HS but growing up together has connected us in ways we never thought could. Most of us didn’t talk for more than a decade following HS but reconnected and for 3 years we’ve had a group where we’ve shared our biggest wins and losses in life, our heartaches, frustrations and sometimes the desire to strangle our husbands. We have a sort of code though – what happens in our private group, stays in our private group. That group has given each of us the friendship and support that otherwise wouldn’t exist with us living in 4 different states.

Social media is what you make of it. I don’t play games and try to avoid the drama-seekers (hide is my favorite option in the newsfeed). The people who are jealous or disappointed with their own lives when they get on Facebook, are probably disappointed when they aren’t on FB. If anything, use it for motivation for change. Get inspired and do something with your life that makes other people smile.

Kat

January 23rd, 2013
9:29 am

Nothing on Facebook is private. Remember that!

Denise

January 23rd, 2013
9:35 am

I love FB. I laugh a lot…and make people laugh a lot. I make connections with people I haven’t seen in a while. This weekend I’m going to meet some high school classmates in South Carolina for lunch. They live in NC. I haven’t seen one since 2001 and the other since maybe 2007 or so. It’s worth the 2.5 hour ride to catch up with them since I’m moving to Texas in a few months and I won’t be this close again. Without FB I wouldn’t even know where one of them is.

I don’t feel envious but I do live vicariously through folks who go to things I couldn’t go to like my Sorority’s Centennial Founders’ Day conference. I LOVED seeing the pictures and videos. It was almost like being there! It makes me excited about going to the Centennial conference in July.

I am happy for people who are happy. I pray for people who are not. And I hope it’s the same with my friends for me.

BessBear

January 23rd, 2013
9:41 am

I don’t hate the people for what they have, but FB has turned me off of people who brag. A FB “friend” recently posted about her husband buying her a Coach bag. I don’t really care that she got a Coach bag, I’ve always thought they were ugly, but to see them bragging really helps me realize the type of person they are.

And people who post their whereabout for the day – not so impressed by them. If they really think people care – again, FB helps me realize the type of person they are. Let me know when you go to the Eiffle Tower, or Macchu Picchu – I will be truly happy for you and want to hear more about your trip when we next talk, but the gas station, or picking up your kids, really? Don’t waste my time with that. Those “friends” get their profiles hidden.

Denise

January 23rd, 2013
10:03 am

@BessBear – I’m glad my friends don’t say stuff like that too often or I’d have to hide them too. I hate that kind of stuff. Coach bags? So what! You’re grown. You should be able to get a Coach bag if you want one. Hopefully that doesn’t mean you can’t eat this week. Or maybe that’s just something I think because I’m an @$$! LOL!

I am currently entertaining my friends with the sagas of me cleaning out my house for my move and what I’m finding in all my junk. I talk about the “funny” stuff like my size 6 swimsuit (Lord only knows the last time I wore a size 6) and my friends laugh along with me. If I thought my friends thought I was being obnoxious I would stop but I get “likes” and crazy comments so I keep posting. I like to make people laugh.

catlady

January 23rd, 2013
10:22 am

I do no Facebook. I have no interest in participating. If I want to tell someone something, I call, write or text them individually. No ore canned Christmas letters, either!

For sure I would never let someone else’s written report determine my happiness or anything else!

catlady

January 23rd, 2013
10:23 am

Enter your comments here

Ace

January 23rd, 2013
10:44 am

FB is for insecure folks with nothing going or bragging rights. More power to you.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 23rd, 2013
11:01 am

catlady — I read the comments at 6:30 this morning from my phone in bed and I misread and thought the first person cat was you and was so confused. Your response makes much more sense. I just read that name wrong.

non committal mind reader

January 23rd, 2013
11:26 am

Does Facebook make you feel less satisfied with your life?

Umm… no. I closed my facebook account just about three years ago. I haven’t looked back. I never felt the urge to tweet anything… or “follow” anyone else… either.

Facebook is a great way to keep tabs on far away friends, but it is like a “highlight” film of someone’s life.

Bob Loblaw

January 23rd, 2013
12:23 pm

I’m not on FB for that very reason. That braggadocio just sticks in my craw.

Is it not obvious those bragging on FB are making up for something not there? Everyone’s lives are crappy now and then. Every wife gets upset with their husband now and then. And every husband can’t stand their wife every so often. Isn’t that what life and marriage? Reading FB you’d think everyone’s lives are so great with great kids and fantastic husbands.

Or maybe I’m one of the few without a perfect life. But I’d rather be off FB and not know what long lost friends are doing than be on it and have to put up with that. Every sucky period with my spouse that we get through makes that commitment stronger. And both the good and bad stuff are not things I want to display on FB.

mystery poster

January 23rd, 2013
12:24 pm

Oh, my goodness!
I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who refuses to use Facebook.

Grace Slick

January 23rd, 2013
12:41 pm

There is a reason I no longer hang out with people from 20 years ago. Why do I want to look at them on Facebook?

Most of the kid photos on Facebook are poorly taken, bad quality – parents just shoving any and every picture they have of their little no neck monster thinking people actually care.

Plus, you’re going to be tempted to look up old flames or have an old flame look you up – trouble.

Becky

January 23rd, 2013
1:00 pm

The only reason that I go on FB is to look at pictures of family..Nothing that anyone says leaves me less satisfied with my life..In fact most of what they says makes me happier about my life, cause there are some really unhappy folks on there..

If someone gets a new Coach purse and wants to tell people, I don’t care..More power to them.. I, like BessBear, don’t like them for myself..

FCM

January 23rd, 2013
1:17 pm

Did we learn nothing with the recession? Keeping up with Jones is so yesterday!

Seriously, if you need to compare youself on facebook to gain or lose esteem you need professional help.

jarvis

January 23rd, 2013
1:35 pm

My time on Facebook, much like this blog, is spent writing to impress myself with my wit.
I post daily.

Ann

January 23rd, 2013
5:50 pm

I was raised to be independent and to seek out my own path in life, so I don’t judge my life by what others are doing. I don’t post on Facebook personally, but I check it a couple of times a week to see what my siblings and nieces and nephews are up to. I have a college friend who works in Korea and posts regular comments about day to day life in that part of the world, so that is interesting to read, on occasion.

Observer

January 23rd, 2013
10:28 pm

Not on FB but still “somehow” keep up with those I want to keep up with. My life is very satisfying without FB.