Oversharing – or rather the pressure to overshare and just be there, all the time. That’s the struggle with social media. Or at least, it’s my struggle with social media. And I imagine that for other ambiverts such as myself it’s also a struggle. For those that don’t know, ambiverts are individuals who have a balance of extroverted and introverted qualities and for me at least, those qualities make it very difficult to manage my social media.
This balance of introverted and extroverted qualities is what keeps my ever (over)active mind at peace. Because sometimes I can be extroverted, speaking to many people as I want, doing as many things as I want – be it dancing or eating out at restaurants updating as many social media outlets as I want.
While on the other hand I can be introverted, sitting at home snuggled up in my grey duvet, with my violet coloured walls around me watching Netflix on my laptop, reading a book and smelling my eucalyptus and lavender scented candles – completely neglecting my social media. This time is as great as I can disappear, be off the grid – no one needs to know where I am or what I’m doing. Until social media gets in the way.
You see, when I’m in that extroverted mood and I share something on Facebook – the comments, likes, or even newer ‘reactions’ don’t phase me in the least. Or the incoming text messages, Messenger messages, WhatsApp messages – none of those bother me until I enter into my more introverted self and all of a sudden that influx of notifications and messages is enough to spike my anxiety right through the roof. It all becomes too much for me because what I posted when I was in that extroverted mood, not only doesn’t interest me at this point, but raises my anxiety when my attention is brought back to it through notifications about it.
This is my problem with social media, I can’t really turn it off. When I’m feeling introverted and my friends or family want to go out, I can simply say ‘no thanks, maybe next time’ and the matter is settled. With social media, it’s not as easy. Sure I could ignore the notifications – and thus slowly allow my anxiety levels to rise as my phone buzzes and dings cheerily. And it’s not as simple as simply putting it away or turning the sound off either because then my mind actively imagines how many notifications I’ll have when I inevitably pick my phone back up. Not that I don’t do this anyways – I’m sorry to tell you this if you’re a friend of mine reading this, but there’s about a 90% chance that our conversation is muted. Not because I don’t want to speak to you, because I absolutely do! Speaking to friends gives me great happiness. But rather, I can’t handle the pressure of having to speak to you and a notification from you – not that this is your fault, it’s really my own entirely – puts that immense pressure on me.
It’s hard being an ambivert! Really hard, because like I said, I can switch from a really extroverted mood to a really introverted one incredibly fast, sometimes faster than I can imagine. Because of this I so appreciate the real life communicating with people because it’s notification free – which for me equals stress and pressure free. So you see that’s my issue with social media – it seriously impedes my introvert time by encouraging me to be ever present even when I just need to disappear into my grey duvet world that smells of eucalyptus and lavender where I can hang out with Harry Potter or whoever else for a bit. It’s not you Social Media, it’s me. Sometimes – we just need to be on a break.