12 Steps to Quitting Facebook
Is Facebook taking over your life? Here's how to regain control–without having to delete your account.
1. First, acknowledge your addiction.
A sure sign that you are addicted is that you start thinking in terms of status updates (i.e., everything that happens to you is rearranged and reworded in your head to fit the small white rectangle that's constantly asking you what's on your mind). Other telltale signs: you change your profile photo at least twice a week, your first thought after meeting someone new is to add him/her on Facebook, you create individual fan pages for your three cats, two hamsters, and five goldfish.
2. Next, acknowledge that addiction IS a problem.
You might think, "But Facebook isn't interfering that much with my daily routine. I'm still a good student/employee/ father/daughter/citizen. Everything's under control." Really? Everything's under control? That's what Bella said when she fell in love with the bloodsucking boy in school, and that's what Imelda thought when she slipped her feet into her first pair of buttery-soft-soled pumps. Right, okay, you don't have a problem. By the way, your yaya called–she says she's about to harvest the Farmville crops you strictly instructed her to check on every hour while you're at work.
3. Ask the right questions.
Honesty is the best policy, and in this case, the best way to curb that FB addiction. Ask yourself, "Why am I on Facebook?" Is it so the whole world can see how awesome and popular you are, with all the people who tag you and leave witty comments on your posts? Is it so you can shove photos of your hot bikini body in the faces of those mean girls from high school? Is it purely for the purpose of gathering chismis on who got knocked up by whom? Or is it simply the lovechild of boredom and desperation?
4. Assess the answers.
We're totally not judging, but the only acceptable reasons to stay on Facebook despite your addiction are: a) to reconnect with old friends, b) to keep in touch with friends who've moved abroad, and c) to get the latest on current friends who are still living in the country without setting foot outside the door. The last one only applies to people with serious medical conditions prohibiting them from coming into contact with direct sunlight.
5. Set a schedule.
For example, you can only log on during lunch break, or on weekends, or once a month, or every time your dog barks at the exact moment the clock strikes 12.
6. Keep a journal.
Carry a notepad with you so that every time you get the urge to update your FB status, you can jot down your thoughts instead. Your journal will love you unconditionally; it won't care if you bombard it with shallow observations and self-absorbed musings, or if you split your infinitives and misspell "professor."
7. Stop checking Facebook on your phone.
Just because you receive the watered down mobile version doesn't mean it's any less destructive.
8. Stop checking Facebook at work.
We think this is pretty much self-explanatory.
9. Change your password.
Ask a trustworthy friend (emphasis on "trustworthy") to change your password and keep the new one secret. That way, you can only access Facebook when she's around to log on for you–and depending on her location, you'd be dyahe to ask her to do this all the time. (Note to trustworthy friend: You may or may not get strangled in the withdrawal process. You have been warned.)
10. Delete those excess "friends."
Go ahead and edit out everyone on your list who: a) you haven't spoken to, and will probably never speak to, in the real world–unless he/she is a huge celebrity, b) makes you want to claw your eyes out with her bad grammar and irritatingly emo posts, or c) leaves manyak comments on your profile–unless that's your thing. You don't need all that clutter.
11. Delete your ex.
He's probably the main reason you log on every 15 minutes–of course you know it's not polite, but you have to find out where he spent last night. Move on. No, you don't need to know what kind of sandwich he had for lunch (smoked salmon and cream cheese), or what he did during the long weekend (bought a new gym bag, visited his mom, went drinking with college buddies). No, you don't need to see if you're hotter than his new girlfriend, because really, does it even matter anymore? (Actually, yes, it does, what with bragging rights and all…but that's not the point.) No, you don't want his face showing up on your news feed. And no, you don't really want to be another psycho-bitch-cyber-stalker. The world already has too many of those.
12. Lastly, close that tab where you're logged in to Facebook right now. Yes, you.
It's okay if you have to post a link to this article on your profile first, though.
Illustration by Warren Espejo