Grieving on Social Media and How to Check That You’re Doing it Right
As social media sites like Instagram and Facebook become more commonplace for internet users of all ages, the etiquette and acceptable social niceties become more solidified and widespread. We all have that friend who overshares about every aspect of his or her life, from what they had for breakfast this morning to how their digestive system is working lately. Your Facebook feed can get bogged down with posts and statuses of political opinions and rants that you don’t really care about.
The question is: are you also oversharing?
After the death of a loved one, you may feel the desire to share your experience with others, and the most effective way to connect with a large group of people is through social media. During the grieving process, it’s helpful to talk about your feelings and what you’re going through. However, there is an appropriate place and time for this public grieving. So how do you know if you’re opening up a little too much?
- Are you apologizing for grieving in your posts? There are so many different methods of displaying grief that humans have used throughout history, and it’s only natural that social media is one of our modern day forums for just that. If you have found that posting helps you through your grief, don’t apologize. Grief should not be about everyone else, it should be about you and the loved one you lost.
- Are you using the internet as a resource as well as a communication tool? The internet is a vast platform for all sorts of information, including helpful websites and literature about death, dying, and grief. If you have the desire to reach out to others who may be going through the loss of a loved one, maybe sharing resources is the most suitable way to do so.
- Are you telling other people how to grieve? Just like those political posts can feel like your friends are telling you what to think, posting about how you mourn for your loved one could be interpreted as telling others how to feel. Just be careful with your wording, so there’s no connotation of “right” and “wrong” feelings in your status. We recommend not posting about anyone other than yourself, as grief can be a very private feeling that others may not feel inclined to share.
- Are you complaining in any of your posts? For many of us, grief is accompanied by stress and confrontation and guilt because we are also planning and putting together a funeral. It is easy to slip up on social media and complain about your in-laws or your extended family or your lack of funds for funeral costs. Keep your posts simple if you actually want to reach and not offend people.
- Are your motives for posting pure? Be careful not to fall into the trap that so many of us do: competitive grieving. “My pain is worse than yours” is not a good message to post on any internet platform.