Why Facebook Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself

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No surprise — those Facebook photos of your friends on vacation or celebrating a birthday party can make you feel lousy.

Facebook is supposed to envelope us in the warm embrace of our social network, and scanning friends’ pages is supposed to make us feel loved, supported and important (at least in the lives of those we like). But skimming through photos of friends’ life successes can trigger feelings of envy, misery and loneliness as well, according to researchers from two German universities. The scientists studied 600 people who logged time on the social network and discovered that one in three felt worse after visiting the site—especially if they viewed vacation photos. Facebook frequenters who spent time on the site without posting their own content were also more likely to feel dissatisfied.

(MORE: Why You’re More Likely to Remember A Facebook Status Than a Face)

“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” study author Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University told Reuters. “From our observations some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site.”

The most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers, while the second most common source of dissatisfaction was “lack of attention” from having fewer comments, likes and general feedback compared to friends.

The study authors note that both men and women feel pressure to portray themselves in the best light to their Facebook friends, but men are more likely to post more self-promotional content in their “About Me” and “Notes” sections than women, although women are more likely to stress their physical attractiveness and sociability.

(MORE: Who Wields The Most Influence On Facebook?)

The authors write [PDF]:

Overall, however, shared content does not have to be “explicitly boastful” for envy feelings to emerge. In fact, a lonely user might envy numerous birthday wishes his more sociable peer receives on his FB Wall. Equally, a friend’s change in the relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship” might cause emotional havoc for someone undergoing a painful breakup.

So far, it seems that the positive effects of being socially connected supersede the negative consequences of feeling inferior or left out by your circle of friends. But the authors suggest that if the hurtful feelings grow, Facebook and other social media may no longer be a fun way to stay connected with friends, but could become just another source of stress for people.

The research will be presented at an information system conference in Germany in February, called the 11th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik.

MORE: Pediatricians Should Discuss ‘Facebook Depression’ with Kids

181 comments
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IyamaTemple1

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MaryBullard
MaryBullard

I am beginning to wonder why I bother with Facebook I rarely get any likes and I certainly don't ever get any comments. The stuff I put on is as good as any thing else that goes on there but it's like my posts are more or less invisible. I will just have to see how it goes,in the next few months when everyone else is getting about nine or more comments and my posts are getting none I'm beginning to feel like an outsider,but then again perhaps I'm a it too sensitive.

dennyn
dennyn

I actually don't have a problem with Facebook. The one and only problem that I have with it is that people put the most stupid chit on there.

RedEyedXaXa
RedEyedXaXa

That's what some people do, People like me join groups like Senpai Anamai and The Emo Group and what not and meet friends online and troll, all this attention bullcrap is really starting to annoy me.

JananSmith
JananSmith

What if you put up nice videos from YT and nobody "likes " them?  Facebook can get people's feelings hurt. I don't know why I bother with it anymore. My home is what matters, not those fake friends on Facebook. They expect you to "like" all the stuff they put up, so they should "like" mine. I never put up offensive, annoying crap. I'm off of it for a month!

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eljakeo30
eljakeo30

Anyone think that there are a few people on this thread that are actually the same person purposely creating drama because that is their style of bullying? To go after people they think who are insecure. When of course they are the ones who are. I think the most secure people are the ones that can admit when they are insecure. And with FB, that would be me! Because I am like WTF?  In real life, it's much better as I know who I am a bit better. FB, lately at least puts me in a place I don't want to go.

You think they even care about FB? Nope. They are just having fun, troll-like, with the comment section because they are looking for a ruse.  Kind of funny watching two people with the same personalities agree with each other as if they are the same person!  hahahaha ;)

I agree with the studies.  FB is not how it was like a few years ago. It's a competition of likes and "Me-ism".  It can be great for family, close friends, and people with close interests, but for many others, it is a narcissists paradise!  LOL

spiraldivedude
spiraldivedude

If someone's posts (like mine) on facebook makes someone else feel bad about their sad lives, there is only one reason why & only one person to blame... because LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. I post on facebook what makes me tick, what I am passionate about & what inspires me. Certain negatively minded people have deleted me over this, whilst they are posting pictures of their tea & talking about exactly the same things as 20 years ago as if they haven't progressed at all in their lives (not that it is any bother to me). People should take some personal responsibility & find something in life to be passionate about. Learn to skydive or paraglide. Visit a foreign country & learn about their culture, climb a mountain, spend all day exploring in the wilds. Get a new hobby & make it your lifestyle. It doesnt matter what it is, it can be anything. Maybe then these people would stop being so miserable about making an existence in their lives & start making a living in their lives. In modern society, with all its television based celebrity hero worship, it is very easy to be negative. It is also contagious. To be positive, takes a little more effort, but it is just as contagious. Every time I log onto facebook it reminds me how good my life is. Life is short, make the most of it whilst you can, please come back when they've got one. 


Blue skies.

leebridgitt
leebridgitt

This website is making me feel worse each day I go on. I cut back on it tremendously. I think it is incredibly sad that you can have people who bullied you or worse ignored you outright sending you requests. I did not like you then, and guess what? Feelings remain unchanged. I prefer face to face, or even just the phone now.

robfra5074
robfra5074

When I left Facebook last year (almost been a year now) I had realized how unhappy I was, feeling depressed, not really having a real life because I was using Facebook and felt connected, in reality I was not. I won't judge Facebook though for me I enjoy the human connections much more in person than on Facebook. The best social media is always at the dinner table, and when I have seen people actually text at the dinner table rather than talk.......saddens me more to see the human element has been replaced by tech devices and the internet.

meekahshine
meekahshine

Facebook has become pretty lame.  Its more about hey look at me than actually wanting to connect with friends.  Its a shame really.  You get adds from people who dont keep in touch with you.   It's just a legal way to stalk people.  Pretty pathetic.  

valerielaperre98
valerielaperre98

i think facebook is not to blame because I think Facebook is not to blame because it is good to follow your friends and family members on your Facebook account. I think you should always have a Facebook account on your hand and you should at least have good manners and not bad manner when using Facebook

crisld2011
crisld2011

Facebook can make you feel depressed or not, depends on you and the way you see life. Anybody is free of bad feelings. In the same way, everybody is able to feel happy for others people achievements. Besides, facebook gives you an opportunity to keep in touch with people how are important to you, which it is great!

peipei
peipei

Peiya Xu 

Why Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself

After I read the article, I real feel that sometimes the social connection tools make people's relationship worsen. For example, some people would think that they always like their friends' pics but their friend never pay attention about their pic, even if one time. Like the author wrote that " If the hurtful feeling grow, FB or other social media may no longer be a fun way to stay connected with your friend. " just don't open them. We can use reading to instead of watching FB website.

blazingblackness
blazingblackness

I just quit Facebook after having it for about four years. I found myself mindlessly logging in and not realizing until a few minutes after scrolling through my news feed and seeing the same stuff I had seen an hour ago! On top of the fact that I have family that were on my friends list but we never talked other than commenting on pics and status updates. If we cant talk in real life then why bother on Facebook?

sallyatwater4
sallyatwater4

This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. You feel worse because you see photos of other people having fun? Seems like you would feel worse sooner or later if that's the kind of person you are. How about we focus on the good. Isn't it great that we live in a time where I can actually see my little niece and nephew who live 3,000 miles away grow up right before my eyes.  Or we can celebrate others success? Get over it. 

KurtMottor
KurtMottor

I'm considering quitting Facebook.  It's a great mess. 

handsomejack777
handsomejack777

Deleted it over a year ago and never going back. Stop documenting every second of your life staring at a phone and go live your life..

FBSucks
FBSucks

This is so true! Seeing other people with fun and fulfilled lives leaves a feeling of depression and low self esteem, especially when you never get any comments or likes on anything at all! Even my own friends act like I am not not even on FB. I do want to get rid of it but at the same time I don't because it is the only form of communication, not like anyone communicates with me to begin with. So I guess it all comes down to the fact that I really do not have any friends at all, wouldn't call the people on my friends list whom I once knew friends or anything close to it cause they obviously are "better than me". I think FB changes people cause even the people you do know act like they are to good to talk to you, and FB is FILLED with narcissistic people. I believe people's lives would be better if they would shut it down for good, I wouldn't miss it!

MikePaulSanders
MikePaulSanders

Actually, these social media sites like Facebook and Google+ has helped me lower my walls and be more social with people around me.

alleenurp
alleenurp

FB has its perks and its disadvantages. I can't really say FB is good, at the same time, I can't really latch onto the idea that FB is bad. I personally think it's a matter of preference and wholly depends on how the individual himself/herself wants to view it. There's a reason why we like it and sometimes, why we hate it. I hate it because of the lack of privacy, teens getting exposure more than they asked for, dealing with our EXes & the fact that some of my friends think FB is everything to them to the point that they choose to believe that without FB, survival is close to impossible. Someone also mentioned that the friends you add in FB because they sent friend requests don't acknowledge the you in reality which I found it to be very true.(why send friend requests if you don't really mean it?) On the other hand, I like FB because I got to meet some of my friends I lost contact with for more than 8 years(an epic experience if you say so), & how someone mentioned here too, get a good laugh at other people's miserable lives(not that it hurts, does it?), & of course getting to keep in touch with loved ones living on different corners of the globe on a daily basis! But I've decided to keep out of FB because it's a huge distraction to my studies. Anyway, I'm only saying people should be decisive, make the right choices and not blame others for their downfall. 

VickiThrift
VickiThrift

the PETA fools and animal rights activist can go suck it. I'm sick of their propaganda in my news feed.

RobbiStyleTV
RobbiStyleTV

This article is only relevant to the insecure. Otherwise, you don't have problems. Another one-sided article from Ms. Sifferlin. 

Keep your "friends" number to the actual friends you have in real life. If you have identity-crisis - don't blame it on Facebook. 


ArryStark
ArryStark

I dunno, I LOVE getting to scan through my mobile FB while sitting for an oil change, waiting for my <a href="http://www.azarkodental.com/azarko-south-office">dentist in Edmonton South</a> or outside the daycare waiting for my daughter to come out. I just eliminated the people who were so negative that I didn't want to read their posts. Does this make me a Pollyanna? Sure! But does it keep my happier to stay in touch with all my friends, see baby photos, graduation announcements and sure, get jealous over their vacation photos? Yes, it does. Our world is socially connected and we are a part of it - like it or not!

seemorebutts
seemorebutts

You know why I hate the internet and face book especially...

Im sick of the bullys, the perverts, the haters, the online "fighters", the blamers,\

Im sick of stalkers,

Im sick of seeing the same chit chat that is being taught every day non stop, constantly

Im sick of face book because its destroying the lives of people today right now, since 2000? Its affecting you, your children, your families,its gotten to be out of line why.

Im sick of everyone being connected to face book. Every person sounds like the same person.

Im sick of feeling like a shadow is following everywhere I go!

Im sick of all the nonsense! People are becoming Fat,mean,uneducated,boring,perverse,bullys,get rid of this before it destroys everyone!

Im sick of all of the trouble that comes of it!

Im sick of the gossipers, coneivers, im sick of how my esp kicks in, Im sick of being treated like im sh*t!

Im sick of being watched by people (not my face book freinds), but the other people!

Im sick of everything going on public, nothing is every private on the computer!

Im so sick of the fact you dont feel like anything is private

Im sick of people not having lives anymore, grow up! Delete your account, set some goals, read some books, take soem college classes,go for a walk, stop hiding

Im sick of people who try and online bully, its really sickening! Get a life!

Im sick of the internet period but, face book should DEFINATELY in no doubt whatsoever be destroyed. Who has the power to do it, why are they refraining to stop a big gigantic mistake! Why are peopel putting on there pants and putting there foot down. Its not working for people. Watch as people get stupider, more boring,more shallow, more bully like, more uneducated, and more mean! Watch, change it or watch the world suffer! Im getting rid of my account. im not afraid of these online bullier, they will face god!

AnaVelez
AnaVelez

I had Facebook and just deactivated, FB wasn't for me...I always tend to reach out all the time and if  I don't, no one post anything in my wall or there is no interaction with me at all...always is about commenting about the Post..just got tired of it ...besides I need to be productive in other areas of my life..people always will have to say something about you..religion, politics, travels, family....so whatever..I think I feel more at peace and go old school...much much better!!! 

Grover_Sage
Grover_Sage

If you have good friends....then FB simply connects you to them. Unhealthy people with social 'issues' can't understand this. Even now as they read this, all they can think about is attacking me........


If you have bad friends....then FB amplifies that.


The thing is, if you state on the internet that you are just fine with FB....you will be attacked by the most pathetic insulting losers.

There's nothing new about misery that loves company.


Ultimately.........the best revenge is living well.

dennyn
dennyn

@JananSmith you just let them miss out on the cool or nice videos. and if they are real friends then they will. They don't have to "like" everything you post.

JananSmith
JananSmith

@ervinee I feel like I'm invisible. I don't know why I bother with those people. They put up obnoxious political posts and I put up nice pleasant videos and never get  a "like". I have put too much effort into nothing. All the obnoxious people post those raunchy office parties and get  a zillion likes. Maybe I'm too nice , because I thought they would enjoy my nice pleasant videos. They are begging me to "like" their stuff. I'm taking time off the Facebook. Only my cousin likes me. The best thing to do, is to take time off from Facebook. Make them wonder where you are. My real friends are on YT anyway.

feher.martina
feher.martina

Are you serious?? "Visit a foreign country" or "learn to sky dive or paraglide"? In whose universe, blue skies?? Have you ever thought that maybe the reason some people don't like your constant updates on the awesome life you're living is because THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO DO THOSE THINGS?! Hello!!

JananSmith
JananSmith

@leebridgitt  I'm going to leave Facebook for a month. I know how you feel, because somebody from high school , found me on Facebook and started to bully me in messages. People not even friended yet, can write. I blocked them , then they came back to bully me under a different name. I normally live in KS but moved to CA for a little while. None of my real friends from KS are on Facebook. only people from college and people that showed up out of nowhere. I want to leave the whole situation and meet real life people in person, in the town I moved to. Most people on FB I have never met yet. Well now I don't really want to meet them, because I want reality back again.

adhe1
adhe1

@leebridgitt same here, Lee. Funny how so many people who picked on me and/or flat out treated me like I was garbage/nonexistent in school are trying to be my "friend" on fb. seriously!?

JananSmith
JananSmith

@robfra5074   The dinner table rules. :)  I lost connect with reality because of Facebook. Also didn't tend to my health either. True, everything is so tech now, not enough human contact.

JananSmith
JananSmith

@meekahshine   I couldn't take all the bragging people anymore. It's a place for the show offs. They actually had the gal to ask me to "like" their posts, but I put up some nice things and they never "like" them except my cousin. I don't need them anyway.

Desertgirl
Desertgirl

See your niece grow up right before your eyes? And you need social media to facilitate that?. My sister shares pics with me that she doesn't share on Facebook, it feels more special when it's not for the whole world to see. Facebook is the lazy (impersonal) way to connect with family and friends. It just doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies to see family pics on a constructed website built to make money for its creator. And what's with these ads and suggested posts now, just seems a tad creepy.

JananSmith
JananSmith

@VickiThrift  I keep getting all these liberal posts. I'm tired of people who care about algae more than humans. They care about anything more than humans.

LizPrill77
LizPrill77

@RobbiStyleTV Yes, younger people tend to be self-centered anyway, so they probably don't see how gross the self-promotion can get. And I'd think a person must have low self-esteem to keep feeling the need to point to others as being insecure. I've seen the same comment a few times on this page, and there are a few people here who seem to be looking for someone else to agree with them that Facebook really is great. Well, hate to break it to you, but that is also a sign of insecurity.

VickiThrift
VickiThrift

@seemorebutts The games are fun and i love that my family are my friends but anyone else can delete me for all i care. . 

Peter1234321
Peter1234321

@AnaVelez  

Plus when you finally see someone you haven't seen in a while you actually can tell them something they really don't know and they don't have to pretend to be surprised!

iguysla
iguysla

@Grover_Sage 


Dude, you must be sooo popular lol! Ya I agree this can be true, still doesnt stop the fact that almost 90% of the people on FB religiously now are almost all either self-obsessed(esp girls, just cuz alot of guys like/comment doesnt mean your popular it means your prob easy) or huge losers with no face to face communication skills. 

Case in point I have a semi close friend I used to hang out with all the time. He hated computers and didnt get the internet until like 2009. Now hes a fb fiend and he posts the same cycle of posts every day/week.. he gets pretty much the same amount of likes, by the same people(people/girls he doesnt really know). He now loves FB cuz he gets likes and stuff but when he comes to visit me hes a shell of his former self. Hes lame, boring and doesnt have any actual real life friends. Everyone thats really active on My feed is a losery type of person in real life. 

FB is for girls who love themselves and little boys who are trying to be cool by everyone elses definition. 

LizPrill77
LizPrill77

@Grover_Sage Just the fact that you're commenting on here, and feeling the need to defend Facebook and your use of it, says a lot. If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother you, why even comment on the article?

SusanBrownNeal
SusanBrownNeal

@JananSmith @ervinee  I know  what you mean. I have a few really true friends on  Fb but the rest seem to have their on little circle that they seem to really like. What is really annoying is I can post something on fb and I get no likes or comments, but someone else can post the same thing and they will get 40 comments and likes. Facebook is mostly about a Buddy system and how popular you are, not about all the nice post you put on there People just mostly in to themselves and their buddies and as long as they have that on Fb they don't care about anyone else. So sad but it's true. I wish Fb didn't exist. The only reason I'm still on  is I actually have a few true blue friends on my friend list. I have even gone as far as telling people how I feel but they still ignore me. SMH!



bbeth114
bbeth114

@JananSmith @VickiThrift I'm one of those animal rights activist types, although I don't like PETA, and I just have to say that I've heard that accusation before of "You only care about animals, not humans." It's such B.S. First of all, animal agriculture and environmental issues such as the rapidly disappearing marine life have a profound effect on humans. In fact, if the majority of marine life dies out as it's expected to if we keep fishing at the rate we are now, the oceans will "die" and so will humans. The oceans play such a crucial role in our environment that we will die without them. These aren't just animal issues or environment issues, they are earth issues that effect every creature on earth. People like you just don't want to hear it because then you might actually have to make a change in your lifestyle, so you keep your head in the sand and complain about those who are doing something to make the world better and preserve it for future generations of humans. 

RobbiMoolji
RobbiMoolji

@artdesignsbynicoleand I'm referencing real life. Sure, it makes you feel bad about yourself if you surround yourself with morons who post negative stuff all day and are insecure already. Facebook to me - makes me feel great - maybe they should have put me in the study? Furthermore, people do use Facebook to communicate with people overseas which makes it amazing. This is one facet of negative side of Facebook. Not the whole picture.

taekwon777
taekwon777

@RobbiMoolji Maybe you are popular with people so your lack of emphathy towards the study does not matter.