I Quit Facebook. Help! I Now Have Withdrawal Symptoms

I never knew I would feel compelled enough to quit Facebook one day. I also has no idea that quitting the social network that 500 million people are using, would be this hard. First thing you have to know is, you can’t actually delete your account. The Facebook powers only allow you to disable it. It’s hard to find the button to do that too. You need to go under account settings to look for it. And when you do hit disable, you’re asked where you’re sure you really want to and you have to give them a reason why. You can’t proceed till you click one of the reasons. Can they get any more annoying? When you finally get through all that, they guilt trip you in a major way showing pictures of random friends and telling you all these people will miss you. It really, really sucks! And guilt trips are one of my pet peeves.

After disabling the account you know what’s really frustrating. If you so much as log on again to just see if you were really deactivated, your account is activated again and it’s as if you never left. I wanted to scream. It was as if I had never left, except that all my privacy settings were back to square one – open for everyone and friends of friends, to see. Of course I disabled the account quickly again and this time found out that I should resist the temptation to log on for at least 14 days and only then will be account be deleted (I still have my doubts because I have major trust issues with the billionaires behind Facebook. I feel they are a business, out to get us hooked so that they can continue to used our information and make money through targetted advertising. And just like cigarette companies, they are fully aware of how addictive they are.)

Leaving Facebook feels like you are abandoning your friends. The moment after quitting, all I felt is that I am missing out on so much. I have abandoned my friends. Will they be mad at me now? Will they totally forget me, now that I’m not on Facebook? I informed my friends and contacted them through email to let them know that we can still communicate, but I still felt lousy and isolated. Facebook gave me a false sense of security, that I was keeping in touch with my friends and that my social life was active when in fact it was just virtual. I feel this gaping hole now, but I need to persist and continue contacting my friends the old-fashioned way instead (I can’t imagine email is now considered old-fashioned). I don’t have the convenience of Facebook and have to make more of an effort now, but deep down I know it’ll be worth it. Now I know a little of how hard it is for chain smokers to quit cold turkey. And I have to admit I have an addictive personality and the way I was continually logging on to check status updates and photos was like a chain smoker or alcoholic. It was getting to be a disease!

Before Facebook we did not have to rely on status updates and online photo albums to know what was happening in our friends’ lives. How did we get so dependant on those? And I have an addictive personality so at times I felt like quite the stalker, catching up on friends’ status updates and photos. Some of these were not even my close friends. You realize who your real close friends are when you quit. They are the people who you still want to contact in real life outside of Facebook. They are the people I truly miss.

I also came to the realization that I don’t need Facebook to keep in touch with my family although they are all on it. I see them quite often already and that’s a comforting realization. I even regularly contact my cousin who lives overseas through email so I am not worried about losing touch with her. She’s getting fed up of Facebook privacy issues too, which is definitely a great affirmation for me that I have taken the right step.

My sister, mum, cousins and aunts are totally addicted to this new Facebook tetris game – I forget what it’s called. It’s taking over their lives because it’s time I turn around, they glued to the screen playing this game. I must confess that I too was addicted to Pet Society which was soon replaced by Farmville. But I realized the virtual farm was taking over my life and quit cold turkey in a pact with my cousin. It was fun while it lasted but it was getting out of hand, when I worried about crops withering and needed to log on to make sure they didn’t! Those were crazy times and we will remember them fondly.

Anyway here’s why I think Facebook is evil. I have already witnessed two couples breaking up, live on Facebook. A breakup is devastating enough. A breakup for all your hundreds of contacts to witness is a nightmare. It’s even more awkward when there are fights on Facebook and then the couple gets back together again. They unfriend and then refriend each other, and lucky for you if you didn’t take sides at the time. It’s a good thing my partner always tells me to never get involved in a couple’s tiff, because only the two people within the relationship are qualified to handle it, and when they get back together, which is often the case and you’ve taken a side, you end up looking like such a fool. Some things are best left private.

I find it draining when my personal space is invaded by Facebook and I get all these random requests to add people I don’t even know. And besides guilt trips, I am someone who is unable to reject people. It just feels so cruel. Facebook makes me feel cruel when I ignore invites. I also wonder if those people are mad at me. It’s just so silly and unnecessary.

Most of all I have an issue with Facebook is blatant privacy violation. They keep changing the privacy settings and making the default setting more open. They just keep changing their rules on us and they seem to have all the power to do so. Our information is clearly being used for targetted advertising. Even after we disable our accounts our information is still kept on their servers. I truly regret uploading any photos on it.

Watching the facebook movie ‘The Social Network’ was the catalyst that spurred me towards my Facebook suicide. The movie about the Facebook founder revealed that the social networking site was created by a genious who had low EQ (he was horrible to people) but high IQ, who set up this device to help his own social standing at Harvard. He even betrayed his best friend in the process.

The irony of it all is that I used to be the one to persuade family and friends who were not already on Facebook to join. I even helped my uncles and aunts to set up their Facebook accounts. It’s all so embarrassing.

I hope I get over this hump and get back to meeting my friends over a cup of tea in real life and replace the hours spent on Facebook on reading real books instead. Please wish me luck.

Don’t think I’ll be quitting YouTube any day soon though.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about my daily life in Singapore helps with my mid life crisis.
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26 Responses to I Quit Facebook. Help! I Now Have Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. I quit Facebook about a year and a half ago and I missed it for about a week and then realized what a big time waster it was. I also felt like it was a popularity contest. Good luck!!! Welcome to the non-facebook club ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. bookjunkie says:

    yipeeee I have a friend in the non-Facebook club. This feels so good. I was getting tired of the popularity contests, lack of privacy and the stalking ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope my missing stage goes away in a week as well.

  3. thinkpinktoo says:

    Found a fun way to permanently delete your facebook profile overnight. Follow these steps:

    8Turn your profile into a pile of useless data! This is another way to “delete” a Facebook account, and you might have fun doing it. When you wake up the next day, your profile is gone. For good. Amen.
    Delete all your “friends” – unless you want to show the World you’re quitting for good.
    Change the profileโ€™s name – you can do that. Be sure to choose something really lousy.
    Fill it up with offensive content – texts, dubious pics and all.
    State clearly that Facebook employees are just a bunch of – beep – beep – beep – fill in the beeps with the most politically incorrect insults.
    Invite lots of randomly picked people to become your โ€œfriendsโ€.

    • bookjunkie says:

      this is so cool!! I did delete some info before I went away but not everything…became too lazy. Great idea!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks!!

    • bookjunkie says:

      I just tried to log in and got this info:

      Your account is still scheduled to be deleted
      All of your account information and photos are scheduled to be permanently deleted. If you want to keep your account, please log into Facebook before Tuesday, December 7, 2010.

      Ok that’s pretty good news to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. lynnette-net says:

    hahhaa i quit facebook for a while too until i realised it was the most efficient way to disseminate info quickly… the irony is that people check facebook more often than their emails!

  5. floramoreno says:

    I love the comment above on how to permanently delete your profile. Haha too funny.

    I don’t care for the Book of Faces anymore, either. I’m waiting for Google to come up with something awesome to replace this type of social network (and I don’t mean Orkut). =)

    Flora

    • bookjunkie says:

      yeah me too…..super great tips!! everyone should do that before they deactivate and delete their accounts

      Oh yes…an alternative with super tight privacy would be good!!

  6. jazziefizzle says:

    Ha I am totally addicted to facebook but thankfully do not play any of the silly games, nor do I take any quizzes or even stalk profiles. To be honest I find twitter much more interesting, and often agree with the quote ‘facebook is for people who used to be your friends, twitter is for those who should be your friends’ as I follow people who I find interesting and have things in common with, not just people who happened to be in the same class as me in primary school.

    I was a little worried about the whole privacy thing, but have all my info on private and have realised that I put myself out there with most details of my life on my blog, and on twitter, yet I am wary about facebook for some reason.

    It is ridiculous how hard it is to delete your profile and especially that all your info is kept… but for me it is a necessary evil. Was great to hear about why you deleted it! Don’t even think about giving up blogging though!

    • bookjunkie says:

      yeah somehow for me blogging is different (I guess because I am anonymous I free more free) and I love connecting with people who share the love of writing, travel, photography, food and just living ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s just great and I hope to keep on with this public journal ๐Ÿ™‚

      it’s so true that quote you mentioned about facebook. Only when I deleted my account did I realize that there were only a handful of people I truly missed.

  7. 365days2play says:

    Well the 1st few days are the hardest! I think the 7th day is the magic day. Good luck and don’t check!

    • bookjunkie says:

      did you quit too? you sound experienced ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yeah I didn’t realise how addicted I was. Luckily my few close friends are patient and agreed to go the primitive way of email.

      thank you for the encouragement…really need it even though I didn’t think I would. I really thought it would be a cinch.

  8. Great post!! I especially love how I keep getting “suggestions” to friend people that I know have passed away…are they still able to keep their Facebook accounts in the afterlife?…maybe…..
    now you’ll have more time to blog!!

    • bookjunkie says:

      Day 2 is a little better. Now that my very close friends whom I can count on one hand are emailing me. Conversations away from Facebook feel more personal and real. Yeah definitely more time to blog and surf and discover great blogs like yours.

      • Wow!

        This post sure is a surprise. BJ. Well. In a week’s time you have left facebook and left your job. To be perfectly honest, I’m a little bit worried for you ~ in a NICE way, just to make sure you are taking EXTRA good care of yourself as you need to.

        Quitting your job.
        I’m proud of you on that one. It’s like leaving a nowhere relationship. It takes courage that you can get through prayer. That’s how I found the courage to end a dead end job many years ago.

        Quitting facebook.
        I’ve felt like it at times. It’s a new technology and we have to get used to it. It’s probably like when they invented the telephone or the radio and at first there were a lot of kinks to work out. Yes. I can I totally relate to privacy issues as I don’t ALWAYS feel like I want people to see my entire life. I remember I started an account in order to share pix with my sis.

        Now, I feel like my facebook account has taken off a life of it’s own. I don’t know if I would have the courage to walk away. I found it a good way to read about what’s going on in the world around me.

        I honestly feel like what we are TRULY talking about here however is a case of finding a healthy balance in your life. I find myself on line when I should be interacting with my family. I have however imposed personal limits and am forcing myself to live by them. Just turn it off, just as you would a television. It’s not a problem. Make sure you are eating well and getting lots of exercise and sleep.

        Good luck with both endeavors. I hope you can will find a new job soon with people who are decent, like you.

        Let me know. I’ll be checking up on you.

        Julie

      • bookjunkie says:

        Thanks Julie….actually the unemployment thing has been for longer than the Facebook leaving thing, just felt too embarrassed to bring it up. I have to admit I miss it although I relish the time that it has freed up. I also love that my friends are connecting with me individually through email which feels a lot more personal. Yup I still miss FB but I would return if there are some privacy changes for the better. I am sure it is evolving. Or perhaps an even better medium will take over the way FB took over My Space and Friendster. I hear that there are already some alternatives emerging with better privacy controls but they still can’t match FB in terms of features.

        I think I am not as disciplined as you….I have quite the addictive personality and I have to cut something off totally in order to quit…i.e. go cold turkey….it’s a great thing I have never smoked and don’t really drink…except for coffee or I’d be in big trouble ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Thank you so much for your encouragement…it means a lot to me Julie. Thanks also for sharing about your leaving a dead end job ๐Ÿ™‚ Bloggers and writers somehow don’t conform to society’s norms (which is great!!) and that’s what I love about connecting with the blog universe.

  9. madjac says:

    Hallo bookjunkie,

    I’m a magazine writer and will like to contact you about you quitting Facebook. Do you have an email address so I can email you? Thanks!

    ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jac, who is currently experiencing Facebook withdrawal symptoms

  10. madjac says:

    Just saw your reply. I’ll email you this coming week okay? ๐Ÿ™‚ Will give you some tips too if you like.

  11. Pingback: I Quit Facebook And I Don’t Regret It | Tiny Island

  12. Thank you so much for sharing all of this.
    I just decided to get off of Facebook last night.
    I don’t want to interact with people this way.
    I am tired of people saying things that they would never say in person. Hurtful things.
    I try to rebuild friendships that I left years ago because these people were not healthy to be around. It’s like they aren’t even real on there.
    Anyway, good luck with your new journeys in life. I hope that you find yourself with enough free time to do something that matters to you.
    I hope you have the courage to seek out meaningful people in your life and go outside with them or sit on the floor!
    I hope I can do all of these things, too.

  13. Hi BookJunkie,
    I quit about a month back and must confess that I felt *EXACTLY* the same as above. Wow, cannot imagine another living person would have the same feeling as me when quitting FB. It is truely addictive and I too have a addictive personality. I did feel it like a popularity competitions. Except I quit when friends were at stage of sharing most personal and weird facts to win the race. Honestly, people keep some prospective don’t indulge so low to be popular.
    Although, I feel like a loner now. I am not too sure that reserach saying that FB (+other social networking) makes you loner. I am not in contact with any of my family or friends. Except the very close ones I see everyday. It is not a very nice feeling to be left alone while the world is busy sharing their silly pictures and most mind-numming status updates.
    Well, I deleted my account but my friends think that I have just removed them from friends list. I don’t want to even try logging in to see what FB has done with my data/pictures etc. I am afraid if I log in once I might never leave. So I will keep resolution and not sign in ever.
    Also the thought that some one is actually making money while dominant friends are bullying others make me sick. I had become a second personality which wanted to look smart because the pictures were going on FB. I had forgotten how to live life carefree. It was always *Big brother* is watching you or *what-will-my-FB-friends-think-of-me*.
    So FB, here is my middle-finger to you. I am out of your money making tricks. You can con people who are too afraid to realise your addiction. I am truely on the other side now.
    Thanks,
    Intellingentandunique

    PS: I love the fact that to comment on your blog I need to sign-in via FB or Twitter. Irony?

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