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Why I (Finally) Broke Up With Facebook

It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, that’s not strictly true.

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Elizabeth Brockway
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It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I should probably be straight with you. I owe you that much. And if I’m being perfectly honest, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now. I just wasn’t ready. Remember when we took a break for those few weeks? I wanted to see what it would be like to get through a whole day without you, to see if I could do it. Sometimes I was fine, I’d get caught up in something and forget all about you.

But other times — especially late at night or while I was just hanging around waiting — there would be this pull. This restlessness that made me want to pull out my phone and see what you were up to, what I had been missing. (I became convinced that I was missing something.) Then I’d see some random photo you’d taken. That smile! Did you use a filter? I told myself it didn’t matter. … You posted about a cool dish you’d whipped up or described a Netflix show you’d binge-watched. Of course, I’d rush and binge-watch it, too, so we could talk about it later. Your GIFs and memes were funny and on point, obviously, and every now and then you’d catch me out by sharing an article so insightful and unexpected that I’d fall in love with you all over again. You still had the ability to surprise me, after all this time.    

When I caved and eventually got back with you, though, it was always the same bulls**t. The same arrogant selfies of your marathon times and exotic trips and various accolades. The humble brags about whatever selfless, woke thing you just did and immediately announced to your 500-plus friends. The same vacuous complaints. Blah blah blah. You should really hear yourself sometimes. If you care so much, get off your keyboard and do something about climate change/white privilege/various things. IRL. LOL. No, instead, you went on spouting the same nuisance ads and algorithms.

Whenever we disagreed, you went straight for the jugular. You got so ugly at times, I hardly recognized you. You said things — things that are too ugly to repeat here. Things you can never take back. But we were together so long, I’ll admit I got complacent toward the end. I got lazy, distracted. I never picked up the phone, barely texted. We were both just skimming the surface. We let ourselves get superficial. We didn’t really know what was going on behind the screen, and we never asked. We became boring, predictable. You became boring and predictable. There, I said it. You haven’t changed. But I have to stop expecting you to change. That’s on me.

After we got back together the last time, I knew it was over. This time I was finally strong enough to leave for good. And not just deactivate — but delete: all the photos, all the memories. Friends thought I was crazy. They didn’t think I would actually go through with it. It was too painful. And you kept trying to lure me back via Messenger.

At first, the days were so long without you. I’ve been lost, lonely. It has taken me a while to realize that what I’m missing is something you can’t offer: real communication and meaningful connection. And still, part of me is sad. Part of me mourns what we once had. In the early days, it felt good. It felt right, you know? We can’t get that back. I keep wondering whether you’ll even notice that I’m gone.

Will you miss seeing my name pop up in your feed? Will you reach out to see how I’m doing in this brave new life, or will you just keep scrolling mindlessly? Will you think about me at all? It will be hard, but I know I have to move on and find another way to get what I need — even if it means leaving you behind. I have to believe I can find a kind of genuine connection again, and that I can live authentically, the way we were always talking about. I still want that for myself. I want that for you, too. But, as they say, you have to do the work yourself. I can’t help you see the full picture. So, I guess this is goodbye. TTYL.