After something like 20+ years in the academic system, every year September feels like a new year. So yes, basically I have two “New Years” and I’m not mad about that. I quite like it because it feels like a time to reflect and start on the right foot. September is my time to set things right mostly regarding my career and studies, but also about friendship. As I mentioned in my previous post about friendship, every new academic I used to meet new classmates and get a whole new social network.
Now, coming from someone who is not the biggest fan of big changes, this has always been a challenge, but also a blessing in disguise. In this new society of numbers, we are often judged by how many friends we have in real life or on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on, which leads us to rarely have a good ol’ spring cleaning of our social groups. However, I feel like it’s actually a good thing to evaluate who is there for you, bringing you joy, motivation and confidence and who is making you feel bad about yourself, down and doubting your every action. So let’s get the cleaning going.
Step 1 – You “real life” social group
Who have you talked to recently? Who has been asking how you’ve been feeling lately? Who has sent you cute dogs pics? The ones that are there for you are not the ones only reaching out when they need you for something, they are the ones actually asking about what’s been going on in your life lately or those who will randomly think about you and contact you to share that thought. Get rid of those who reach out asking for a favor hidden under a “hey! how you’ve been doing, I wanted to ask you if you could…” or the ones waiting for you to contact them. These are not the ones actually interested in who you are, but rather in what you can do for them. In the bin they go.
Step 2 – The social media clearout
Social media platforms are where I spend a lot of my time on, I love the creative aspect to it mixed with the fact that you can subscribe/like/comment/ be friends with someone who is living anywhere in the world and that’s just fab.
But I would be lying if I said that all is good in social media. There are days when I feel really down about seeing gorgeous photos who seem unachievable because of certain factors or that are making me feel like I’m not happy enough or that my clothes are not that great or that I really should spend the few grands that I don’t have on a fancy trip on an island far far away.
And these are the days that call for a good cleaning of the accounts that I follow. I’d like to highlight that this has nothing to do with the quality of the creator’s content nor of this stupid follow/unfollow game (I.hate.this.game) but rather about how it makes you feel. So just scroll through your feed as you normally would, and when you see a photo that makes you feel bad/don’t like, go to this person’s feed and analyze it. Are a lot of their photos making you feel bad or just a few you can put on the side? Just keep “cleaning”. And don’t hesitate to write the name of these accounts down in case you want to check them out again.
Step 3 – Time Off
Is it just me being an introvert through and through or does it just feels so good to not see anyone for a few days? I love seeing friends and talking about anything and everything, but sometimes all I need is a day at home watching Netflix and eating cookies without having any other contact than with my boyfriend – and even sometimes, especially on a Sunday afternoon, I’ll just chill in the bedroom whilst he stays in the living-room. Anybody needs their space and I think it’s healthy to take some time to just be with yourself.