I quit social media and it feels so good

Going off the grid has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made

Sometimes it feels good to sit back and smell the roses. Photo Zachary Fortier

When I was 12 years old, I created my first social media account. I was very much a social media newbie. Little did I know that it would be the start of my love for the online world. 

With platforms like Piczo and MySpace, I learned to familiarize myself with the digital world. It became a huge part of my day-to-day life, so much so that I never imagined the day that I’d quit social media.

I remember being 14 on MySpace and looking for validation. I spent a lot of hours on it. I’d take frequent selfies and post them. I was constantly checking for new comments. It was almost an obsession. It wasn’t healthy. It also didn’t help my pre-existing self-image issues. 

Although I truly enjoyed being on social media then, I slowly but surely started to realize the negative effects it had on me. Instead of being fun, I started to find it somewhat stressful. It was giving me unnecessary anxiety. I then slowly started to distance myself from such platforms over the years. 

I started questioning if I wanted to have an online presence at all. I’d delete a profile every now and then and create a new one sometime afterwards. It’s only been up until recently that I’ve decided to abandon social media for good. 

Growing up with new and emerging social media platforms brought me opportunities to meet other people around my age who I probably would not have met otherwise. I was able to build friendships and make acquaintances with people I shared similarities with, and people who didn’t. It was a great way to interact with others, especially being as shy and introverted as I am.

I’ve been around to witness the full-scale phenomenon of social media. Honestly, it’s just not as intimate as it used to be. I don’t like that it creates unnecessary pressure, which can make it feel like a popularity contest at times.

Seeing that most people around my age are on social media nowadays, it’s hard to disconnect from it when this is the primary way people choose to connect.

Although I have many cherished memories from my years of having an online presence, I’m ready to pursue a necessity I want even more: peace. After spending more than half my life online, I decided to give it up. 

As I grow older, I’ve started to value genuine connections more so than ever, which has helped foster my self-confidence. I don’t want the number of likes or followers on my posts to determine my worth in any way because they shouldn’t matter. Although it was once an exciting part of my life, I now prefer real life interactions. 

Despite the friends I’ve made through social media, I recognize the ones who’ve made efforts to stay in touch with me without an online profile. In a way, it’s helped me see who my real friends are.

It’s been sad for me to see some connections fade, but quitting social media has never felt so right. I’m sleeping better. I’m less stressed and anxious. I feel like I can truly try to enjoy my life in a new way again—I feel like a new person.

Everyone has a different experience online. It can be quite good for some people. It was good for me for a fair period of time, but I’ve had my fun and I’ve been ready to let it go. 

I’ve now been social media-free for six months. After years of sharing parts of my life online, I’m surprised that I don’t miss it at all and I’m okay with that.

I’m not on Instagram anymore, but I still take photos regularly. It feels good to have something for myself again; I feel more authentic this way. I feel more connected with myself and the world this way. I genuinely feel happier.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 2, published September 19, 2023.