Sticking With the Winners on Social Media

by Caroline Lock

Social media icons on a phone screen.Who are your Facebook friends? Are they the winners you want to be sticking with, or are they the old crowd you know you should be distancing yourself from? Because social media can be such a big part of our lives, revamping your online presence is as much a part of recovery as changing up the rest of your social habits.

Deleting your old account is almost always the easiest way to let go of your old Facebook friends. Prepare them by posting a status letting them know that you’ll be closing your account. Whether you want to disclose why you’re taking this step is up to you, but you can avoid burning bridges by giving people a short heads up, something like “I’ll be closing my account soon, see you in the real world.” A couple of days later, find that magic button and hit it. (FYI, it’s under Settings, Security, and down at the bottom in blue type: Deactivate your account.)

Of course you probably had some winners in your old list of Facebook friends. Consider messaging them directly to let them know that you’ll be opening a new account soon, and will reconnect with them via that new account when you’re ready.

Now, take a social media break to take stock. Live without Facebook for a while and see how it feels. Take note of the friends who continue to reach out to you when it takes more than a single click. Are they your winners?

When you’re ready, create a brand new account. Use a different name than your old account had, like a middle name or your initials, or even a nickname. Post a profile picture of yourself that represents who you are today, and only give Facebook the personal information (birthday, education, employer, etc.) you’re okay with sharing.

Change your privacy settings so that you get to control who can reach out to you, message you, and send you friend requests. Change your Timeline and Tagging settings so that no one can post photos of you or make comments on your wall that you aren’t proud of. Send friend requests only to the winners who have stuck by you during your social media break and supported you through recovery.

Now who are your Facebook friends?

About the Authors

Contributors to Renascent’s Blog share their stories of addiction and recovery and/or their professional expertise.