We've heard the news before that adding Facebook friends to your list can actually cause you more stress, but one CNET article I just read had some new information that really caught my eye. They said it was just increasing the number of friends you have, but adding friends from different social groups (like work, acquaintances, or family.) In fact, they said, "including parents or employers as Facebook friends resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety."
The reason for this is that you're different with different people. With your parents you might act one way, and with an employer you'll act slightly different, but with your true friends you can relax and be yourself. Facebook is now no longer a place where you can be totally yourself. We hear this all the time. Perhaps you and a friend have had a falling out about politics, or maybe the overuse of social networking in general has actually ruined your friendship.
Look, Facebook is great, but it needs to be used as a tool for friendship, and not for the whole of friendship. What I mean is that you can use it to keep in touch, but it's not a replacement for seeing your friends live and in person.
That's why I created the Take Friendship Offline Boot Camp movement, which offers tips on getting together with friends more often, rather than less often. Five friendship experts helped weigh in with tips on creative ways to stay connected to your friends. I've added a few of my own tips, as well as some pointers on how to prepare for boot camp and evaluate your performance. All of these things will help you make seeing your friends live and in person a priority. When you do this, Facebook will stress you out less because you'll be on there just to confirm plans with friends and not as the primarily basis for communication.