Good Question: How can I get un-hooked from Facebook?

Dear Alex,

How can I get myself un-hooked from Facebook? I know you’ve done it. Help?


Dear Natasha,

I remember the exact moment when I created my very first Facebook account.

It was just before my 21st birthday, and I had just experienced the most painful, heart-wrenching break-up of my entire life — to date.

Think: calling my mom at midnight, sobbing, suitcase in hand, begging to crash on the couch because I had nowhere else to go.

Like that.

A few days passed, in a fog of grief, and I got the notion to check out this ol’ thing called Facebook that everybody was talking about.

“Might be nice to reconnect with a few old friends,” I told myself, brightening slightly, at the thought.

It was nice. Too nice.

Before long, I was a glassy-eyed mess. I had spent nearly 24 hours straight, on Facebook, barely eating or sleeping, incessantly updating my feed, ogling photos, gossiping and spilling vulnerable details of my life to “friends” that I hadn’t spoken to in years.

Every new message was a little drip-drop of happy-making neurotransmitters, distracting me from the reality of my life. Yum-yum-yum. More-more-more.

I remember indulging in a highly flirtateous Facebook conversation with an ex-boyfriend from high school who had treated me horribly, and who I didn’t even respect — just because it felt so good to receive some attention.

It was then that I realized:

“Whoa. I don’t like myself very much, right now.”

It wasn’t Facebook’s “fault.” But Facebook certainly wasn’t helping.

I deactivated my account and never touched it again — except for a very brief interval in my mid-twenties, when representing my employer on Facebook was part of my job, in the communications department. (After getting transferred to another department, I no longer had to do that particular task. Freedom, at last!)

And that… was that.

When people find out that I’m not on Facebook, they usually react with a mixture of jealousy and horror.

“But how do you stay in touch with friends?”

I call them. Or they call me.

“But don’t you need it to promote your business?”

Apparently not.

“But what if somebody wants to invite you to a party, and they can’t find you?”

Well, I guess I’m not going. Or, if it’s really important, I trust that they’ll track me down some other way.

My advice to you, Natasha, and to anyone else who wants to get un-hooked from Facebook?

Ask yourself:

“Do I like the kind of person that I am, when I’m using Facebook? Do I feel like I’m using it for the ‘right’ reasons?”

If the answer is “Yes,” carry on.

If the answer is “Ew, not really”… then just stop.

Block the site from your computer for one month, if you need to.

See how it feels to be… you.

You, without the yummy drip-drop you’ve grown so accustomed to.

It might be uncomfortable.

It might feel amazing.

You won’t know until you try.

And the very fact that you want to “get un-hooked” is a good sign… that you should.

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” –Toni Morrison

Are you concerned about your relationship with Facebook, or another social media platform? How do you manage the impulse to check-check-checkity-check?