Some friends of mine are getting a divorce. It came as such a shock to me, because I thought they were happy. Admittedly, I hadn’t talked to them much lately. I hadn’t connected with them as a couple. Sure, we were friends. We used to go to church together. We small talked and always said we needed to get together. But life happens. Everyone is busy. And now suddenly they are getting a divorce.
It probably does not seem sudden to them. The troubles in their marriage have likely been building for a long time. But I did not know about the trouble because, truly, when it comes right down to it, I only saw their life through the lens of Facebook. I saw their smiling faces. I saw their beautiful children. I saw them out at parties and having fun with friends. I was even the face in some of those photos on their Facebook feed… having fun with my friends.
They were happy! But were they? Were they only “Facebook happy?” I realize most of us are not going to post pictures about the bad times. We are not going to post when we have a fight with our spouse. We are not going to post when we are frustrated with our children. We are not going to post when we are demoted at work or lose our job. At least most of us anyway. Sure, we all have “those” friends who only use Facebook to complain and moan about how tough their life is. But for most of us, we do not do that. We post happy stuff. That makes us, in the eyes of others, “Facebook happy.” We may not really be happy, but we sure appear to be happy.
The point of this post is not to tell you to stop posting happy things when you are sad. Sometimes happy pictures and happy thoughts are the best medicine for sadness. My point is just to remind us all – myself included – to reach out and make a personal connection with your friends. Take the time to make a phone call or send a text to make sure they are doing OK. Do not assume that just because they are posting happy pictures that everything is happy in their life. They may be struggling. They may be hurting. They may desperately need a friend’s shoulder. They may be nearing divorce. Granted, just because you make a call doesn’t mean you’ll prevent a divorce. But maybe your friend just needs an ear.
Don’t be the friend who assumes everyone is happy just because you saw it on Facebook.