When Your Friends’ Lives Are Perfect (And Yours Isn’t)

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We all have one on our feed.

It’s that one friend who really just seems to have it all. Perfect hair, fun parties, and oh, look, a new car. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right. They’re going on vacation next weekend. They’re winning awards. Even their Saturday morning sweats-and-ponytail pics look cute. In other words, their life is like a highlight reel.

That’s the thing.

Maybe looking at the stuff going on in other people’s lives, as seen on social media, tends to get you down. If you’re feeling ugly, seeing other people’s good hair day selfies tend to launch self-effacing comparisons.  If you’re not in a relationship, engagement photos every other post can be exquisitely painful. Or if you’re tired, broke, and stressed, vacation pictures might make you jealous.

What’s the problem with this outlook? Simply put, you’re not getting the reality.

Yes, people complain about airing dirty laundry online, but a lot of the time, the moments of their lives that people share are the good ones. The parties, the cute outfit, the beach. The highlight reel.

And maybe their lives really are going well. But they almost certainly aren’t a constant highlight reel. Almost certainly, these people are still getting bored, or frustrated, or even upset about some problems going on in their lives. Just because it’s not on their home page doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Even if things are going well, comparing the place you’re into the place someone else is in is useless. It’s really easy to fall into the highlight reel trap, especially when you’re having a rough day. But deciding that by comparison, your life sucks will only have one effect: it will make you miserable.

If you can make changes in your circumstances, then do. Sometimes we don’t even realize we want something or don’t want something until we have an example. If somebody else is living your dream, then start shooting for it. Get inspired, not discouraged. Ask them how they got there. Applaud them. And resolve to enjoy your own highlights.

If you can’t alter the circumstances you’d like to, then instead of comparing yourself to others, remember that no two lives take the exact same route. Someone else might be on vacation or getting a big promotion. Good for them—but do you know what they went through to get what they have? Or do you know whether they had tragedies of their own in their lives? Five years ago they might have been really struggling. They might still really be struggling; some things don’t show up on social media. Either way, you can’t compare a moment of your life to a moment from someone else’s.

I'm a lover of words in all forms, sweatshirts in all conditions, and God in all circumstances. I particularly enjoy working collaboratively on the written word and wearing microfiber robes (preferably at the same time). Most of the time I don't get enough sleep, but I make a valiant effort.

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