THE BLOG
06/11/2013 14:38 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

It's Not Just Single Women Who Should Ditch Facebook, It Makes the Rest of Us Feel Like Crap Too

What we can blame Facebook for is how relentless this endless one-upmanship is - and it's perhaps this point that relationships author Zoe Strimpel intended to make when she said that single women should avoid it at all costs.

The phrase 'keeping up with the Joneses' existed long before Facebook, so it's not fair to blame the social media site for fuelling our envy - we humans are pros at it even without a good broadband connection.

But what we can blame Facebook for is how relentless this endless one-upmanship is - and it's perhaps this point that relationships author Zoe Strimpel intended to make when she said that single women should avoid it at all costs.

What Zoe was referring to was the endless barrage of happily marrieds and smug parents, who constantly update their statuses with their perfect lives.

Talking at a lecture during Cambridge's Festival of Ideas, she said: "What (Facebook) does is it enhances the sense that your life is lacking and specifically, when you are single, you focus in on all those pictures of perfect weddings, perfect babies, perfect couples."

I've got a friend who is single - and not happily so - and she has often spoken about how crap Facebook and other forms of online social interaction make her feel because all other people seem to talk about is their other halves or their babies.

But while I can understand how acutely the have and have-nots game is played on on Facebook, I'm sorry singletons, you don't have the monopoly on this particular type of misery.

Unless you are particularly lucky, life doesn't just stop being hard because you're in a relationship or because you have kids. In fact, it's even harder because you're dealing with someone else's shit (in the case of babies, quite literally) which means you have less control over the elements that govern your life.

What I've learned from my piddly two years of marriage and looking at other people's relationships, is that a lot of the time, there is a massive gulf between what's actually going on between them and the face they like to present on Facebook.

Trust me, if every relationship was as wonderful/gushing/perfect as it appeared on Facebook, we wouldn't have a one in three divorce rate in Britain.

The fact is that reading about the amazing holidays people have been on when you're broke and have nothing but two broad beans to rub together, or finding out that Little Timmy's poo has gone a funny green colour isn't just the type of stuff that irks people who aren't in relationships or don't have kids.

There's a whole of host of us out there - people who can't medically actually have kids, those of us going through a tough time with our boyfriends or are abjectly poor and so on.

Rather than giving into that knee-jerk response of: "So-and-so has just updated photos of their amazing holiday. I wish I was on an amazing holiday. But I have no one to go with/I have no money. Life is bad," take a breath.

If Smug Git was so happy and relaxed on her holiday, why on earth is she wasting time posting photos on an hourly basis than going for a swim in the sea? If the Happily Marrieds actually have had the 'best day ever', who else would give two fucks about it apart from the couple themselves, and why do they so desperately need validation from other people about their relationship in the inevitable comments to follow?

The trick is to know when to switch Facebook off, and what you're comfortable using it for. One of the best, instant remedies I have found is to remove the app off your phone, so you aren't tempted to check it when you're drunk, emotional and on a train.

And just don't ever lose sight of the image that people portray on Facebook probably has so precious little to do with reality.