Does logging on to Facebook leave you feeling depressed? If the answer’s “yes,” you’re not alone. A new Stanford University study found that when we look at our friends’ profiles – we overestimate their happiness – underestimate their problems – and that combo leaves us feeling worse about ourselves.
That’s because we can’t help but compare our own lives to the status updates of our friends. So when you see things like, “My boyfriend got me front row tickets to the Foo Fighters concert!” We automatically compare our own lives to that, and we come up short.
Psychologist Jen Berman says it’s human nature to assume that other people are happier than you are – and Facebook exacerbates that tendency. Dr. Berman compares Facebook to a Greatest Hits album – everything on it is THE BEST! And if we never see our friends sharing their troubles – we assume they don’t have any.
And ladies, experts say that Facebook depression hits women harder than men. That’s because of the different ways we share online. Studies show that men mostly use Facebook to share news or current events.
So, there’s less personal information to compare. But, women mostly use Facebook to post personal milestones, like getting engaged or promoted. So, when you see a friend upload a photo of their new engagement ring, you immediately think about your love life. And if you’re single, you’ll start feeling like you’re not keeping up with your peers.
So, remember the Greatest Hits analogy - and for every “hit single” your friends post, know that they’re experiencing some b-side flops, just like you.