2015 was Snapchat’s year, but just because it’s someone else’s birthday doesn’t mean you can’t dance — and Instagram danced, alright. It tangoed through the thought process of writing a caption and cha-cha-cha’d its way into a debate about the best time to post. It did even the hustle with your Instagram husband.
Well, here we are again: a new year, a new stage and a clean slate so that Instagram doesn’t scuff up its new dancing shoes. For your sanity and the sake of starting 2016 with the best triple axel you can, it’s time to break out your social media scissors and unfollow the following:
The time has come, the walrus said, to stop stalking that person who used to be a part of your life but now only leaves a residue of uncomfy feelings when perusing through his/her photos, especially when said photos cause any of the following: early-onset tear detection, low self-esteem, remorse, regret (either for not being with that person currently, or having been with, ever), attraction reflux, acid reflux and/or dangerous nostalgia (dangerous meaning it could lead to tears or sex). No mercy: Bye!
End your habit now of checking the public Insta of the new person your ex is dating. Consider it a blessing that she wasn’t private and thank your lucky stars that you didn’t accidentally like a photo of her in a bikini from about 200 weeks ago, but no one’s luck holds out forever. Besides, comparing yourself to anyone is pointless. Snip.
Another one to cross out: Not your ex, but The Ex of your current significant other, frequently referred to in the way one might a problematic pair of in-laws or Facebook before Justin Timberlake came along — with a “the.”
Reasons for mandatory deletion: see “HER” above, then factor in that if caught (and you definitely are snooping), you’ll have to have one of those convos with your companion that will definitely result in a fight. And for what? Someone no longer in either of your lives?
Perhaps the most addictive one of all, getting rid of the hate-follow is like easing yourself out of a bad habit. Commit to only checking his or her account once a day. Then three times a week. Then once a week. Then agree to stop sending screen shots of the very obvious Photoshop jobs. Harboring bad feelings will only waste your time and make you feel guilty for perpetuating the stink.
However: if you secretly love this person (maybe an embarrassing celebrity), then why not embrace it? You’ll feel liberated.
You know that person who you followed just because you guys were in a friend’s group picture together one summer, whose photos confuse you when they appear on your screen because you forget who they are? No? Exactly. Unfollow. They’re only liking your photos because they’re confused about you, too.
Aw, Dave. He Was Nice.
Get rid of that kid who you were friends with in college but haven’t talked to in 6 years. No way he’ll notice, no way he’ll care.
Your least favorite meme account(s).
They all post the same stuff anyway — choose your favorite one and unclog your feed so that your real friends stop getting mad that you never comment on their photos. (I know! Because you never see it! Now you will.)
Anyone whose baby or animal annoys you.
It’s fine. This is your feed, not theirs.
To anyone who makes you feel like a lesser version of yourself, whether their bragging is intentional or your distaste is internal (you hate how you look or where you live or where you work or where you sit every single time you open their account) — say your goodbyes. When inspiration starts becoming deflation, it’s time to break out the social media scissors.
Don’t You Have a Job?
“Life’s a beach,” (sorry, here’s a barf bucket) but your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be Passport Patty’s travel blog. If her daily hotdog-or-knee pics annoy your desk-knee reality, and you’re not getting all the benefits of that Vitamin D, try an even better Vitamin D: the Delete button.
There’s no greater form of jealousy than the kind one experiences whilst scrolling past a food ‘gram on an empty stomach. In an ideal world, the Mad Teacher’s Universal Rule of Snacks would be applied online: if you can’t share with the class, don’t post it. In the meantime, if it makes you mad, unfollow.
The Gym Queen
If her dedication to various athletic studio mirror-selfies actually inspire you to get up at 6 a.m. and kick/stretch/kick, keep her in the queue. But if her abs are keeping you in bed for a 2-hour-long scrolling binge of self-loathing each morning while you sing sad Dashboard Confessional songs to your thighs, cut her loose.
The Compulsive Selfie-Poster
You’ve memorized her face by now. You know what she looks like from every angle. As far as you’re concerned, you could draw her with your eyes closed — and you can’t even really hold a pen properly. If yet another photo of her from the left angle in natural light will not alter your world in a positive way, feel free to unfollow. She’s probably engrained into your memory by now, anyway.
All of these people likely are. So send them a kiss, and send them on their way.
Illustrated by Clare Drummond.