Everyone Looks So Happy on Social Media (And Other Lies)

Everyone Looks So Happy on Social Media (And Other Lies)

You might as well stop reading this right now. Seriously. Go outside! Read a book! Anything’s better than scrolling, scrolling… well, you get the picture.

Ah, well, since you’re here though, let me explain why you should get out there and experience the world rather than sit here and listen to me. Maybe you can take a walk when we’re done and see how you feel afterwards.

Basically, it’s just all an illusion.

Truly. It’s been proven time and time again how easily someone can manipulate pictures just by the angle or lighting. Here is one of my favorite collections of how we know that everything on Facebook and Instagram could be a lie.


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Credit: Laura Bullen (left), Commons (right)


There are powerful companies and influential bloggers behind so many social media profiles that you have to remember that not every picture is reality. Then, advertisers pay them to keep up their profiles. “Real life” is how marketers operate now. In some ways, it is transparent, showing you what people are eating, doing, seeing. Yet, the other side of the camera is someone carefully crafting the photo and set up. Then, many times, adding after effects.


Everybody lies a little bit on social media.

Disagree? Okay fine. How about exaggeration at the least? The fact is, we don’t take pictures of the mundane activities in our lives. Everyone is sharing their “amazing” parts in life. Have you heard the quote about not comparing your behind the scenes with another person’s on-stage performance? It applies to social media too. It’s important to remember that they too have regular lives behind the scenes.

And, here’s some more evidence that we found from a New York Times article recently. Basically, the stats add up to show that things are disproportionately attributed on social media. For example, “Americans spend about six times as much of their time cleaning dishes as they do golfing. But there are roughly twice as many tweets reporting golfing as there are reporting doing the dishes.”

Further, people also keep some guilty pleasures to themselves and thus represent an incomplete picture of who they really are. (Who’s that busting some Taylor Swift back there?) They might never admit it, but there are activities and interests that many people have that they also keep to themselves. Thus, once again, social media only represents a curated section of our lives.



In my practice, it usually comes back to balance every time. I can’t say to not use social media whatsoever, for to do so, you might limit yourself to only knowing about certain events or miss out on staying in touch with an old friend. However, limiting your own access to social media or even deleting the app from your phone from time to time can really help you break the semi-addictive “scroll cycle” that many of us are victims to.


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Checking in with social media is fun sometimes and helps you stay connected by sharing news or something you’re proud of. A little too much and you start to know a few too many details about each other’s lives! (Totally not weird? Weird? Yeah.) Either way, looking at social media and getting affected by its contents is where it starts to affect your day.

How does it go down? How about this. You call a friend to hang out, get lunch, dinner, whatever. No response. Then, a few hours later, you see this epic group shot of a majority of your friends climbing a mountain together. What? No invite? Are we even friends? Am I someone people don’t want to be around or something? And, it can go downhill from there. Remember Rule #1 though, it’s all an illusion. Once you find out the reason behind the lack of an invite (i.e. “We knew you had to work at 3pm and this was a 10 hour thing,” etc.), it all makes sense. Yet, the emotional response to the picture is what affects us so much and causes us to draw false conclusions at times (leading to potential arguments and meltdowns!).


Social media is a place where people’s ego’s can shine. It is also a place for connection and beautiful moments. In a digital “world” like social media, any number of real life feelings are going on. It can be a “Wild Wild West” of content and jibber jabber. And, when you open up your device, you never know what you’ll see first to set your mood off for the day. Remember this and try to set your own boundaries so social media doesn’t sweep you up and steal your precious time and energy. Okay, bye now!!!


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