The Residual Effects of Being in the Top Eight Generation

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It’s been quite a few years since Myspace was even slightly relevant. So many years, in fact, that when I most recently logged in I received some sort of digital award for “Joining before Myspace was cool.” Nope. The correct word would be “when” in this scenario.

Despite the years that have gone by since Myspace was a daily part of my life, there is a lingering pang in my stomach and distorted thought in my brain because of its most destructive feature–the top eight. A literal list of eight of your friends in order of importance. For everyone to see and know where they stood. Always. I can think of few things more harmful to my hormone-addled, insecure, high-school brain.

Oh, the politics of it all. “I’ve known her the longest so she should really be number one. But I hang out with her more often, so maybe she deserves the spot? If I put him on as number eight is that subtle enough to say ‘I have a crush on you and think about our dream wedding, but I don’t want to be creepy, soooo number eight should do just fine’? She has me as number four?! I can’t believe I was thinking of putting her as number two. Six it is.”

I am a relatively well-adjusted-almost- 25- year- old now with a solid group of friends to call my own. Each of them love me well and have for years. And I still get caught up wondering what my ranking is in their life; assessing if I value them more or less than they value me. Wondering why they Instagram brunches with her instead of me, why they respond to other people’s texts in front of me yet I wait for hours for a simple response and if they get half as jealous as I do when I tweet about hanging out with someone else.

Social Media is effecting the way we view our friendships and it has for years. As if this time of life isn’t tricky enough to wade through, someone had to come up with this bae nonsense. So when someone captions a picture of someone other than you with “Hanging with my bae” you are reminded–one more time–that you are not number one in this person’s life. No, no. Someone else is “before anyone else” and you? You’re part of the less valuable “anyone else”.

These are harmful and debilitating thoughts to have. They can change the way we view our friends and ourselves and that is not okay.

This isn’t one of the many calls for a war on Social Media. I don’t think it’s the inherent enemy here, I think it’s our perception of it. I think when we look at and judge our lives through our own platforms or how often we appear on someone elses, we are setting ourselves up for more ups and downs in a day than we deserve to go through.

If you have friends that love you–that show up with milkshakes during a break-up, that follow-up on how a stressful work week went, that laugh with you when you need it most and stroke your hair when you cry for no apparent reason–you are luckier and more valued than a tagged picture or retweet will ever convey. Stop caring about where you stand in someone’s life and just enjoy the opportunity to stand with a friend and face life.

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