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Your Facebook Friends With ‘Perfect’ Lives Are Hiding Something

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You know how it is: You’re having a knock-down, drag-out kind of day when you decide to pop onto your Facebook newsfeed for a little voyeuristic distraction. Unfortunately, between the praises of perfectly-behaved children, loving shout-outs to doting husbands, and photos of elaborate family meals that look too pretty to actually eat, you may wind up feeling even crappier about your life.

Well, good news! Or, actually, it’s not such good news for your seemingly-awesome friends, but this will at least make you feel better. According to a recent study, people who get all shmoopie on Facebook actually feel insecure about their relationship. So although they’re painting a perfect picture of their romantic life, it’s likely not so sweet. And the more, “Love you, lover,” updates your friend posts, the worse she probably feels about her significant other.

At the risk of sounding like I get off on other people’s misery, phew! Seriously, phew! It’s nice to know that no one’s life is perfect. Sure, some people might lead lives that are happier than others, more content and drama-free, but if you have young kids, you know it’s sometimes hard just to get through the day. When people try to project this idealized image of themselves, sure, it makes them look good, but it also can make the rest of us feel like crap. Should I be making a roast chicken with golden crispy skin for my family? Why doesn’t my husband surprise me with “just for so” flowers? Her toddler puts her toys away before eating her steamed broccoli “treat”? She has the patience to glue itty-bitty googly eyes on mini-pumpkins with a glue stick? What am I doing wrong?

If you think about it, how often do you post those heartwarming tales about your toddler playing with his own poop, breaking the knobs off of his dresser, or smacking you across the face? You don’t see a lot of status updates that read: “Hubby and I fighting again. Apparently, I nit-pick him too much, but if he would just do something around here, then maybe I wouldn’t have to yell so much.” And when’s the last time you checked-in from the car wash? Sure, we might post funny or embarrassing stories that we think others will laugh at too, but we’re not likely to post about our bummer day or ho-hum errand run. And we’re not likely to post that picture where one kid is wailing, the other has pulled his pants down, and you’ve got that “Come ON!” look on your face (although really, I think every parent would love to see that one).

No, what we’re actually giving our friends and family and acquaintances is a “best of” snapshot of our lives. We’re only giving them the good stuff, not necessarily because we want to brag or hide the truth, but because we know that it’s what most of our loved ones want to see. And it’s what we really want to share, sometimes because it reminds us of just how warm and beautiful and happy our own lives can be as well.

So, the next time you’re scanning your newsfeed and thinking, “Why doesn’t my life look like that?” take a look at your own homepage. On Facebook, it probably does.

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Photo: Getty