Stick With Me. Or Skip To The End. I'm Going Somewhere Important With This One.

I had a moment this morning when I cried about Facebook. Burst into tears on Steve's shoulder, cried.

Now, clearly, this had a lot more to do with referendum disappointment and general fatigue than it did with social media, but at that moment the utter banality of "inspirational" quotes was just too much for me.

For the last few weeks, I've really enjoyed being on Facebook. The people who "don't do politics" had all abandoned ship and my news feed was filled with people raising awareness about social inequality, discussing the flaws in our country's current system of government, and debating the best way to take things forward.

In between all of that, there were updates about weddings and babies and charity coffee mornings and quitting jobs to start exciting university courses and tradespeople recommendations and a whole host of other important living-our-life events.

But there were no George Takei quotes or "I Fucking Love Science" shares or offensive "what women say vs what women mean" jokes or hourly updates about which form of housework people were undertaking at that exact moment in time.

It was exactly the Facebook I always wanted it to be.

Which, obviously, is not everybody's ideal version of Facebook - there wouldn't have been so many conspicuous absences recently if it was - but it is mine and I'm the one whose crying fit I'm explaining and I am going somewhere with this (stick with me).

Anyway, after several hours of trying to read a book but really just milling things over, I realised that there's nothing I can do about what other people post; that things which irritate me are going to appear and I can either unfollow people or scroll past their updates; that the awareness raising may well fade back to its normal level and that that is largely outwith my control.

But I also found myself thinking about my own experiences of homelessness and unemployment and needing benefits to top up my minimum wage income, and I got to thinking about the friends who helped me through all of that.

I put the two things together and I decided it was time to say thank you to them. Publicly. Sincerely. On Facebook.

I posted one long status update which thanked the three people who gave me places to stay when I didn't have a home of my own; which thanked the person who gave me somewhere to go one lonely Christmas Day; which thanked the two friends who saw me through my worst period of health; which thanked the two friends who have helped me brainstorm when I felt desperate; and which thanked Steve because he has done all sorts of brilliant things along the way.

And I urge you to do the same.

Take ten minutes to go through your friends list and think about the people who have been there for you when you've found life tough.

And thank them.

You don't need to go into enormous amounts of detail - one sentence is enough.

But don't let self-consciousness put you off. It doesn't look naff. It doesn't make you look weak.

I've rarely felt as relieved as I did when I posted that status update. I've had teary responses and friends deciding to write thank yous of their own.

It makes you feel good (happier than a holiday would, apparently!). It makes them feel good. It makes them think about the people they value in their own lives.

And, quite simply, it's something a little more lovely to appear in friends' Facebook news feeds.

Go and say thank you today.

6 comments

  1. I love this idea and am already planning who I want to say thank you to.

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  2. Aw, this is a lovely idea. I don't have FB but I do try hard to make sure I send thank you cards or postcards to friends just to let them know I'm grateful to have them or I'm thinking of them. x

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  3. Ooh, no Facebook? That's the dream...

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  4. This is a lovely idea! The only problem with my FB is that some of the people who've given me the most support either aren't on FB or don't really use it - but I could certainly use the idea in another format like a card or note to say thank you :-) xx

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Please play nice.