Unfollowing: It’s Not You, It’s Me
Before Instagram’s API change a few weeks ago, I had an app that tracked who was following and unfollowing my account. I’ll have to admit –– a little while back, I was a bit obsessive about it. I know I’m not alone in that feeling; once you discover you can see who’s unfollowed your content, it’s hard not to wonder why did they unfollow? What am I doing wrong?
I wasn’t looking at my own behaviors as a person while thinking about this, however. Maybe every single unfollow isn’t a personal attack, but more of an “it is what it is” situation. Not every lost mutual is a loss, but just a part of the cycle that runs on social media. Is every unfollow you make simply out of spite and dislike, or is it something you do and immediately move on with your day?
When I unfollow people, much of the time it’s simply because I’ve fallen so far out of range in their lives that I can’t relate to their content anymore. Sometimes there are just people I’ve met so long ago who are now living such a different life that I just can’t find common enough ground to keep on following. That’s not their fault or my fault –– it’s just how life goes.
I’ve unfollowed people as well, honestly, for my own needs. When the majority of people are putting only their best foot forward on social media, it’s hard not to fall into the comparison trap. But behind every perfect angle, every FaceTune, every #littlemoment, there is a human being who is living their day to day life just like the rest of us.
I think it’s healthy sometimes to “unfollow with love”. I heard that term on The Influencer Podcast recently and it stuck with me. Someone’s beautiful vacations or flawless figure are amazing to see on Instagram, and I love that they are celebrating the wonderful things they have, but for my own health and wellness it can be beneficial to take a break for a while. You don’t always need to see the things you don’t have –– and that’s okay.
The next time you notice someone unfollow you, remind yourself that it’s a reflection of them and not you. Don’t stress over what they’re thinking, and instead try to re-shape your thinking. Focus on your life and reaching the people you genuinely care about reaching, and allow yourself to forget the stress of an unfollow.