My Wife Just Quit Social Media
“That’s it!” my wife announced, shaking her phone in my face. “I’ve had it with these idiots.”
I already knew who those “idiots” were. They were her friends on Facebook. Some of them are her actual friends, and others are only connected through her Facebook network. My wife has been getting into a lot of arguments lately. The political season is heating up, and friends who would never think of talking politics in person are bringing stuff up on Facebook.
When political stuff comes up in my life, I change the subject or leave, but my wife isn’t like that. She’ll speak out. She won’t back down. And if somebody throws a policial insult at her, she’ll insult that person right back. But the exchanges on her social network had gotten too heated even for her.
My social media habits are different from my wife’s. She usually posts family stuff and neighborhood stuff, and everything was usually okay as long as it didn’t get political. Me, I just blog, and read blogs, and occasionally put something on Twitter. I don’t do anything else because there isn’t any time. I have a job where I’d get fired if I blogged or tweeted there. So when I find time at home, I blog, and it’s fun. It doesn’t stress me out at all.
But my wife started to stress out, so she quit.
At first, I was glad my wife quit social media. My wife was more relaxed. She wasn’t showing me endless threads of political debate that always started off bad and always got worse. She was content with laughing at the antics of reality housewives on cable. Then a few nights ago, she burst into my den while I was writing.
“You should quit social media too,” she said.
“Don’t talk to me now,” I said abruptly. I think I was writing something about Stephen King, and she messed up my thoughts.
Then I realized I was talking to my wife.
“I mean, maybe now isn’t the time to talk about that,” I said more gently.
Later on that night when my wife brought up the subject again, I said: “I don’t get into arguments like you do. I just write and have fun.”
“You could have fun with me,” she said.
“I can have fun blogging AND have fun with you,” I said.
“You’d rather have fun blogging than have fun with me?” she said. “What if you had to choose?”
I didn’t think that was fair. If I absolutely had to choose between having fun with blogging or having fun with my wife, I’d choose my wife (of course!). But I didn’t want to make that choice. Writing is fun, especially when you know a few people are going to read what you write. 20 years ago, I quit writing because there was no way to get anybody to read anything without joining writers groups, and that meant I had to talk to people when I just wanted to write. With the internet and blogging, I feel like I almost have a responsibility to myself to keep writing. I really didn’t want to have to make this choice between my wife and blogging. I couldn’t believe my wife was putting me in this position.
Then my youngest daughter bailed me out.
“Dammit!” I heard her shout from her bedroom. This was unusual. I’d never heard my youngest daughter shout profanity before. She’d quoted profanity uttered by other people, but I hadn’t heard her actually use it. I wasn’t sure whether I should yell at her or find out what was going on first. I decided that I could always yell at her later.
“What’s wrong,” I asked,as my wife and I slowly opened her bedroom door. I expected to hear that my daughter was frustrated over homework or maybe mad at the chores list that my wife had given her.
“I just lost two followers on Instagram,” she said. “And I don’t know what I did wrong!”
“When you cuss over lost followers, it might be time to quit social media,” I said to my daughter.
Then I looked at my wife.
“I think you’ve been talking to the wrong addict,” I said.
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it, I realize that my wife was kidding when she asked me to choose between her and social media. At least I’m pretty sure she was kidding. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know my wife that well.
What do you think? What would make you quit social media? What are other warning signs that it’s time to quit (or at least take a vacation)?
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