Facebook has become a ubiquitous part of many people’s lives. With over 2.9 billion monthly active users as of 2021, it’s clear that Facebook has a strong grip on society. However, in recent years, more and more people have been quitting Facebook and social media altogether. This begs the question – what happens when you stop using Facebook? There are quite a few changes, both positive and negative, that occur when you take a break from the social network giant.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms
For many people, checking Facebook is the first thing they do when they wake up and the last thing they do before going to bed. Scrolling through the News Feed has become a habit and for some, an addiction. So when you suddenly stop this habit, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms similar to when you quit smoking or drinking caffeine.
Some common withdrawal symptoms from quitting Facebook include:
- Feeling disconnected or left out from friends and family
- Boredom and restlessness from not being able to scroll mindlessly
- Temptation to log back in just to check notifications or messages
- FOMO (fear of missing out) from not seeing social media updates
- Frustration or anxiety from losing your main procrastination tool
These withdrawal symptoms may be strongest in the first week after quitting as your brain chemistry adjusts. However, the severity and duration will depend on how addicted you were to Facebook beforehand. With time, the symptoms should fade. Being aware of them in advance can help you push through.
You’ll reclaim a lot of time
On average, people spend 144 minutes per day on social media. That’s almost 2.5 hours! Facebook tends to be one of the most time-consuming platforms. When you quit Facebook, all that time spent aimlessly scrolling can be directed into more productive activities.
Without Facebook eating up your time, you may find yourself with more time for:
- Exercising and taking care of your health
- Pursuing hobbies you’re passionate about
- Reading books and learning new skills
- Being present with loved ones and deepening relationships
- Getting work done and being more productive
- Cooking healthy meals instead of takeout
- Getting more sleep each night
The time reclaimed from not using Facebook could really add up. Even just an extra 30-60 minutes a day allows you to focus on what’s truly meaningful.
Your productivity may increase
With more free time on hand and fewer distractions, you’re likely to experience a boost in productivity after quitting Facebook. Social media is designed to capture your attention. This makes it very difficult to stay focused when notifications are popping up.
Without Facebook in the picture, your concentration and mental clarity improve. You can work for longer stretches without interruption. Over time, you get more disciplined and purposeful with how you spend your days.
Studies show that average productivity increases between 20-40% for those who quit social media. You have the capacity to get a lot more done. Things that used to drag on for hours take far less time. This allows you to be more efficient and get ahead in your work or business.
Your anxiety and depression may decrease
Facebook usage has been linked to increased anxiety and depression in multiple studies. Social comparison is a huge part of this – seeing posts from friends where their life looks perfect inevitably makes us feel worse about ourselves. FOMO from watching what you’re missing out on also breeds anxiety. Cyberbullying and negative comments can take a toll on mental health too.
When you take a break from Facebook, you distance yourself from these sources of anxiety and potential triggers. Your overall social media consumption goes down, removing those pressures to compare. Without the constant barrage of notifications, you’ll likely notice a decline in nervous energy.
Less time on social platforms means more time to nourish your inner peace through self-care practices. Anxiety levels have been shown to fall for many who quit Facebook long-term.
You’ll strengthen real-world relationships
Facebook allows us to stay loosely connected with hundreds of people. But these connections are often superficial. Social media ties do not provide the fulfillment you get from spending quality time with loved ones.
Once you stop using Facebook, you’ll find yourself being more present for the people right in front of you. Face-to-face interactions take on greater importance without the distraction of your News Feed. You’re motivated to have deeper conversations and really listen.
Plan fun social activities to do together instead of just scrolling together. Your real-world friendships naturally deepen and become way more satisfying. Appreciation grows for those you can turn to both online and offline.
You’ll still hear about major life updates
One common concern about quitting Facebook is missing out on major life announcements from family and close friends. However, you have to remember that people generally broadcast big news through multiple channels.
They’ll still call, text, or email you separately if someone gets engaged, pregnant, has a baby, lands a new job, etc. Typically these announcements happen offline first before being posted to Facebook anyway.
For acquaintances you’re less close with, do you really need to know about routine life updates in real time? Hearing the news a few days or weeks later from a mutual friend is sufficient. As long as you remain dialed into your inner social circle, you won’t miss anything urgent.
You’ll change how you communicate with some friends
Today, many friendships play out predominantly over texting or social media. When you quit Facebook, you lose your main communication channel with friends who you only kept in touch with online.
For Facebook-dependent friends, you’ll have to establish new ways of communicating. Switch over to texting, calling, video chatting, or scheduling in-person meetups. Losing daily back-and-forth commentary on posts will change these dynamics. But for true lifelong friends, you’ll pick up right where you left off.
If there are casual acquaintances you drift apart from, remember that strong friendship withstands the test of time and change. Focus on nurturing the connections that matter most.
You’ll find new social outlets
Humans are wired to be social creatures. When you drop Facebook, it’s natural to seek out new outlets for connection so you don’t feel isolated. This spurs you to be more proactive about socializing offline.
Sign up for a class, join a club, volunteer at a nonprofit, attend local meetups…there are endless ways to find your people. These provide built-in opportunities for meeting new friends and expanding your circle.
The benefit is that these in-person interactions provide richer social support. The connections you make will be based on real shared interests rather than superficial Facebook friendships.
You’ll engage in more mindful internet use
Quitting Facebook can spark reflection on your overall social media habits. You become more selective about how and when you engage online.
Rather than endlessly scrolling due to boredom, you go on the internet with intent. Your browsing becomes more mindful and purposeful. You think carefully before posting or commenting to avoid meaningless noise.
Spending less time online keeps you grounded in the real world. You look up and appreciate the sights and sounds around you rather than getting lost in cyberspace. Moderation and balance makes your internet usage healthy.
You’ll find a new favorite hobby
When you get bored without Facebook, it creates the perfect opening to pick up a new hobby. Rather than defaulting to social media for entertainment, you try fun activities that make you lose track of time.
Spend an afternoon painting or cook a complicated recipe you’ve always wanted to try. Take up the guitar, go on a hike, start journaling, or join a recreational sports league. It feels good to cultivate exciting interests that bring a spark to your days.
Adding regular hobbies also brings structure and routine when you’re no longer aimlessly browsing the internet. You have enriching skill-building to turn to whenever you have downtime.
You may experience some social disconnect
While less time on Facebook strengthens your close relationships, it can also make you feel disconnected from the wider world. Especially in the beginning, you could get socially isolated from no longer having a portal into people’s lives.
With Facebook, you could scroll through and see what everyone was up to. Without it, you lose your casual attachment to acquaintances. It can be an adjustment to live your life more privately and focus locally. Feelings of loneliness may creep up at times.
The upside is that this encourages more in-real-life community involvement. But expect an initial sense of social disconnect when the Facebook tether disappears.
You’ll be behind on trivial current events and pop culture
A lot of shared pop culture moments and viral content spreads primarily through social media these days. When you take a break from Facebook, you’ll inevitably miss out on some of this trivia.
You might be late to catch on to new meme trends, some celebrity gossip, viral challenges, funny videos, and more. But in the scheme of things, most of this is just insignificant entertainment anyway.
If there’s anything truly newsworthy or important, you’ll catch on after a little delay. For culture and events, you can just ask friends to fill you in on whatever you’ve missed. No FOMO required.
You’ll have less birthday pressure
Birthdays can become stressful occasions on Facebook. The expectations to post appreciation for all your friends on their birthdays, and receive lots of birthday wishes in return, add pressure to the day.
When you quit Facebook, you relieve yourself of needing to remember everyone’s birthdays. You can focus your time and energy celebrating loved ones offline. For casual acquaintances, a simple text is sufficient.
Rather than weighing yourself down trying to make each birthday “special” online, you can see it as just another day. Take the pressure off yourself.
You’ll need to find invites and events elsewhere
Over 1 billion events are organized on Facebook per year. So when you leave the platform, you lose access to all the local happenings and invites posted in Facebook Groups and on friends’ pages.
Things like parties, concerts, classes, networking events, protests, and more are all routinely publicized on Facebook. To stay in the loop, you’ll need to actively look up events elsewhere like:
- Event calendars on venues’ websites
- Flyers in your community
- Group text messages
- Conversations with friends
It’s extra work, but taking this initiative ensures you still hear about worthwhile events. You’ll just have to be more proactive without Facebook’s convenient event features.
You’ll need to manually look up business info
These days, most businesses and organizations have a Facebook page that contains their key information. Their hours, location, contact details, and about section are all readily available.
This makes it super convenient to look up practical info about shops and places you want to visit. Without Facebook, you’ll have to manually look up each website or do a Google search to find their hours, address, phone number, etc.
It’s a bit more tedious but still very doable. You can bookmark the regular places you frequent so the info is saved. While Facebook offers a helpful business lookup, you certainly don’t need it.
You’ll be more present during experiences
When something fun or interesting is happening, people now have the instinct to document it to share on social media. Concerts, parties, trips, meals out, even special moments with loved ones — we feel compelled to capture it all for our followers.
However, constantly viewing experiences through your phone screen prevents you from being present. When you quit Facebook, you’ll learn to appreciate moments for yourself without feeling the need to broadcast them.
Rather than worrying about getting the perfect snap, you can relax and soak up the people you’re with. Without pulling out your phone, you engage all your senses. No longer viewing life through a filter makes experiences more vivid, meaningful, and memorable.
You’ll rediscover free time
These days, any spare moment tends to get filled with mindless social media scrolling. Just waiting in line at the store, sitting in traffic, standing in an elevator — we automatically pull out our phones.
Once you quit Facebook, these pockets of “boredom” transform into rediscovered free time. While you may feel antsy at first, you’ll quickly learn to replace scrolling with more fulfilling quick activities.
Listen to an interesting podcast, meditate, observe the world around you, listen to an audiobook, compose a poem, pray or reflect, brainstorm ideas, stretch, people watch, chat with strangers…little moments add up to a lot of time!
The impacts of quitting Facebook vary widely for different people. While staying connected online has its benefits, unplugging from Facebook offers many positives effects too like less anxiety, more productivity, stronger relationships, and more intentional internet use.
In the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons based on your personality and priorities. If you rely heavily on Facebook for business or feel very socially isolated without it, quitting may do more harm than good.
But for many people, taking an extended break provides welcome relief and freedom from the pressures of social media. The clarity from time away can confirm if inserting some distance is the healthiest choice.