Don't be so hard on yourself - When 'friends' unfollow you on Instagram?

There is a huge link between Instagram 'unfollows' from friends and poor mental wellbeing

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May 29, 2019
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I know there is a huge link, because one of my most read articles to date is found by people searching on google 'why are friends not liking my posts?' and 'why do friends unfollow me on Instagram?'  Note - the word friends.  Not people we don't know.  People we have met and spent time with.  People we have connected with.  We all crave connection.  It's essential for good mental health.

I can relate.  I get new follows and unfollows each day.  This morning I had 16 new follows on Instagram.  By tonight, I'm sure it will have dropped again.  It has no impact on me.  Because I assume its people I have never met.  If they are following me purely to gain followers, then it's nothing personal.  But what about when it's people I have met.  People I have connected with. People I view as friends.  The way Instagram is set up, it becomes all too easy to give someone the digital cold shoulder at a tap.  It's a bit like someone removing your number from their phone, for all to see.  I think the set up needs to change.  

The google organic search stats suggest that this happens a lot.  On a personal level, I've been there when I have realised that people I thought I had a genuine connection with have unfollowed me.  People who have been in my home, people I have supported and shown love to.  People I have shared deeply with.  It was upsetting.  When we feel rejected and hurt, it can be very easy to be hard on ourselves.

We waste time pondering:

Why would they do that?

What have I done?

Should I ask them what I have done or just let it go?

It got me thinking about Instagram in general.  I consider myself in a fairly good place mentally.  I do a lot of work on myself.  My mental fitness is a huge priority and I give motivational talks that help others.  But yet, this stuff has impacted me in the past.  I still have feelings.  Because I have a mind.  I'm a human that loves people.  It scares me in terms of what impact these unfollows will have on teenagers with raging hormones or people who are struggling with their mental fitness.  I cover this in greater detail in my first book, but today I want to offer you some comfort if this is something you struggle with.  It may be a lack of likes on your social pages, it may be unfollows.  Know that these feelings impact us all as we navigate through the highs and lows of social media.  

So why do 'friends' unfollow you on Instagram? 

The honest answer.  I have no idea.  Because I can't get into the mind of anyone else.  It may have been an honest mistake, it may be something you said they didn't like, they may not enjoy your posts.  They may feel envious - 80% of gossip is envy in disguise.  They may see an unfollow as no big deal.  After all, it’s only social media.  People are constantly encouraged to hit the unfollow button to nurture their own mental health.  I get that.  

What I can answer though is this:

Why should you not be so hard on yourself when a friend 'unfollows' you?

It’s incredible how many of us are wired to care about what other people think of us. And how much time and energy we are willing to waste trying to understand why certain people reject us. We are hooked on the doom and gloom.  Instead of focusing on those who love and support us, it can be so tempting to dwell upon the negativity. A quote that I love is: 'Beautiful minds are free of fear'.  But that takes a lot of work.  But aren't we all worth that?  You have to spend a lot of time with yourself, it's the longest relationship you will have on this earth.  So why not make it a good one.  Why not cut yourself some slack?

Take a deep breath, close your eyes and send that person or those people who have given you the digital cold shoulder some love.  Because they can only give what they have in their hearts.  Connections can't last forever.  Try not to take it personally.  Because as I say on my podcast each week, when we judge less and love more, we are living.  

My task for you is to make your mental fitness a priority.  Take some time out doing things that bring you peace.  A racing, overthinking mind can't take you there.  Raise your standards for happiness and let no one interfere with that. Stay true to your values, be kind and if people don't like it, keep shining.  The world has enough critics.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  

Jojo Fraser is an award winning author, podcaster and motivational speaker.  Find her across social media @jojofrasermojo or at mummyjojo.com

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JoJo Fraser

Founder, Jojo Fraser

Award winning mental fitness author, podcaster and speaker. BBC Radio speaker

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