The Yomiuri ShimbunDear troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 20s. I get depressed every time I see photos uploaded by my friends on social networking sites because I compare their lifestyle with mine.
At the urging of my friends, I check the sites though I myself don’t post on them. My friends’ uploaded photos are filled with bright images, such as fashionable restaurants, brand products, homemade dishes and cute selfies.
After seeing their lifestyle, I feel down and think how boring my lifestyle is. Then I feel jealous of them. And because many of my friends have been reporting their pregnancies recently, I feel anxious and impatient because I’m still only engaged and yet to have a plan of starting a family. I hate myself as I feel jealous of even happy news from my friends.
I’ve taken some comfort in having heard that social network sites are only a way to promote your ideal image among others. However, I repeatedly feel jealousy and self-hatred because I can’t stop thinking about their posts and checking them.
K, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. K:
When people started using cell phones, a friend told me he felt at ease when visiting abroad because nobody tried to call him. However, now you can’t avoid phone calls even while abroad.
Why don’t you take this occasion to say goodbye to social networking sites?
Comparing your situation with that of your friends by checking their posts only leads to confusion. Your feelings go up and down in inverse proportion to your friends’ happiness and unhappiness. Knowing about your friends’ bright lifestyles only depresses you or makes you feel jealous. In short, you are swayed by the happiness and unhappiness of others.
I guess your friends create such posts to make others envious because it gives them a sense of superiority over others. Promoting their ideal image that way may be the only way for them to keep their self-respect. If so, it must be tough for them to do so.
Generally, we do not feel jealous of such people as the very rich from past generations and genius novelists because the difference between them and us is too large. People usually feel jealous of others who are more like them. Your mentality and that of your friends is probably similar.