How many friends is too many on Instagram?

 Last week Alison talked about purging our stuff and it got me thinking about this whole other world online. I thought I would share some thoughts on purging relationships. I’m talking about those relationships we’ve built online that are fake, stagnant, unhealthy, or just too many. There is a reason that people fall out of touch with friends from the past. It’s not that you still don’t have a connection with that person, but you really only have the capacity for so much in your life, and right now we all seem to be at over capacity. Yet we hear that the statistics for loneliness and social anxiety are on the rise. We build these online personas to have surface level relationships with greater amounts of people and fewer deep connections.

I struggle with how to use this platform for good everyday. When on Instagram, I usually fall down a rabbit hole as checking out one account leads to another. With the click of a button we can become “friends” with millions of people. We get a glimpse into their life and feel like we know them.

Recently I was talking with a friend and she said something that I couldn’t stop thinking about.   She said, “What would happen if we really stopped and thought about how truly amazing we are as humans?” And we are. I see it everyday. We are all so beautiful, unique, and made in the image of God. I see so much creativity, knowledge, wit, determination, strength, and inspiration. Sometimes it just becomes too much to take in. We weren’t designed to know everyone on this planet and deep down I think we know this. 

As humans we are never satisfied and the money makers of the world know it. We are told we need more and the marketing tools used are always changing and improving to make us believe this to be true. As we collect more friends and relationships in this online setting we lose real connection and a sense of ourselves in the process.

So I challenge you to really look at your social media accounts. What is its purpose in your life, and how are you using it for good? Maybe it’s time for a purge. How many friends can you honestly say that you communicate with and how many people can you have real relationships with. Just like we need to purge our belongings we also have to purge this online world we spend so much of our time in now. 

Some suggestions include being more intentional about communicating with close friends and family (whoever you consider family) on your social networks, limit acquaintances or those who you wouldn’t have a conversation in real life. Only keep businesses you care about and want to keep up with. The same goes for influencers who truly inspire you. 

Like belongings, people from the past can be hard to let go of but also freeing when you do. I have friends from all walks of my life on my social media accounts and I love to see a little glimpse of their life now and then. Some I know if I saw them tomorrow I could pick up right where we left off, others maybe it would be okay to let go of. I don’t know if there is a magic number but I do know that you will know when you scroll through your list what feels right. 

We were designed to live in seasons. If all we do is scroll through photo after photo and continue to just consume, our cycle is broken. We are broken. As we purge this online world hopefully it brings freedom and we can then set boundaries for healthier online habits. There is still so much to learn about this new technological world we live in and finding balance is key.

Lastly, don’t take offence if someone unfollows you or if you unfollow someone. Truly we can only be great friends to a select few. Now I know there will be exceptions to the rules and possible hurt feelings, but remember you are amazing and someone loves you for you. Find your people, find real connection, deep relationships, and grow them. They might not always be easy but at least they will be authentic and meaningful. Real relationships take work. They change, grow, and come in seasons. Our time is all we have and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Use it wisely.

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