A few weeks ago I had read about a recent phenomenon how the people from your past haunt your present through social media, and how these “hauntings” can get pretty uncomfortable. For example, if you meet someone on Tinder and then add that person on Snapchat or Instagram you automatically connect yourself to him/her. So even if your date turned out to be a complete disaster that person is still kind of lingering about in your life, whether you like it or not. Even if both of you vow never to see each other again IRL you can involuntarily meet this person online while you are scrolling through your newsfeed.
I have to admit that the article made it seem like the person who had become a stranger but who still wanted to see what was happening in our life was kind of a creeper. Or in Regina George’s words “why are you so obsessed with me?” I feel like that was the vibe the piece was giving off, that the person who would still check up on us was just being obsessive.
But what about the other side of the story? How many of us have changed our profile picture in order to just catch someone else’s attention? How many times have we checked who watched our story or hoped the desired person would shoot us a message after viewing said story. Or what about the people we check up on from the different stages of our lives, our old jobs, our old schools, even the best friends who now became estranged. Is that weird? Does that make us weirdos if we just want to see what other people are up to that we thought we were once close to?
I feel like a lot of us have a tendency to overthink things. The person who checks up might just be being friendly, or they might be bored with their own life. Obviously, if you are bored with your life you shouldn’t compare it to someone else’s, but at the same time, so many of us still do it. Social borders are now changing and evolving and I think a lot of people are still trying to figure out what the new norms are. So don’t be so quick to judge when some guy from middle school who you haven’t spoken with in ten years likes your most recent post.
I have also met numerous people who have told me that they like to post pictures just to see all the likes. It makes me sad that these people need validation from strangers to feel good about themselves. Let’s face it, out of the 100, 200 likes how many people do you actually keep in touch with, or how many people do you actually even remember? Most of the time, do you even check who liked your picture or you just check what the final number is?
I must admit that I sometimes do question why someone deleted me the one odd time that I actually notice, but then again, it shouldn’t even bother me. In reality, that person did us both a favor by removing me from their life and in return removing themselves from my life as well. I mean you know there is a problem if you see someone on the bus that you went to high school with who you don’t even say “hi” to, but you know what they have been up to through Facebook.
At the end of the day, if someone is making you uncomfortable on social media there are ways you can separate yourself from that unsolicited attention. You can always just remove that person from your social media yourself or block them. If the person really is a stranger then they will get over the fact that you made that decision so don’t worry about hurting someone else’s feelings. I think it’s time to finally bury those ghosts of the past and do some spring cleaning in terms of who you follow and who you are friends with.