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An obsession that's got out of hand

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Recently, I've been becoming more and more obsessed with youtubers (kinda like internet personalities who make a living by creating youtube videos about their lives and opinions or telling stories and expressing ideas, since I've had to explain the concept to so many people :rolleyes:) and it's starting to get out of hand. (Just for context, I don't speak to any of these people. I just watch their videos and follow them on social media).

It feels like I have a friendship with each and every one of them but it's better than with my real life friends because the computer screen is a barrier between me and them so I can't do anything stupid that would ruin the friendship. I'm constantly fretting about saying something stupid to my real friends and making them hate me or get sick of me. If I do say something stupid, I can spend several days worrying about it to the point of not being able to sleep or just sleeping constantly, only waking up to eat or cry about how badly I fucked up. So being "friends" with youtubers just feels so much safer.

Also, I can watch these videos whenever I want. Anywhere, any time of day, as long as I have internet. Real life friends are busy and even if they're not, I don't feel I can ask them to hang out because I'm afraid they won't want to but they'll say yes out of politeness (I have a real thing about bothering people with my company because I never truly believe that people like me, "at best they tolerate me but wouldn't care if I wasn't there" is the kind of mentality I have). So yeah, I can go watch videos when I'm feeling lonely but I can't go find friends and that, again, increases the perceived value of these online "relationships".

And you get to know these online people so well! Of course, they don't put out their every emotion and a lot of what goes on in their personal lives often doesn't make it onto the internet, but you get to know each individual's personality and the things they like doing and their fashion sense and so much about their way of thinking that you feel like you know them. It's not like singers/actors etc who mostly communicate the kind of person they are by doing interviews but youtubers aren't talking to an interviewer. They're talking to the camera, talking directly to the viewer and that makes it so much more personal and the connection feels more real.

Thing is, I've been getting far too attached to these people to the point where a lot of my happiness relies on seeing them and what they're up to. But this can bring such a massive crash in mood because, every so often, it'll hit me that these people don't know I exist. I mean nothing to them and the whole premise of being "friends" with them breaks down and it feels so lonely. Or if it hits me that, one day, they will give up youtube. A lot of them have other projects going and many of them are aspiring actors/directors/singers/presenters/radio DJs. Even though their youtube success is the reason they got the chance to follow these aspirations, they could still leave to follow their dreams of becoming whatever the hell they want. Of course, I will be so proud of their success but my god, I don't cope with abandonment well. This realisation will also send me into a complete meltdown.

And they give me such a sense of inadequacy! They all seem like such genuine, caring, funny, creative people who are all so successful and it makes me question my worth as a person and what I'm doing with my life (I'm 19 and just finished my first year at university so I'm definitely getting uncomfortably close to the real world). I'm never going to do as well as them and it makes me feel like not even trying. I don't even know what I want to achieve with my life, to be honest.

There is a whole world of issues in this post but the main ones I want to fix are the ones about these youtubers replacing my real life friends. I don't want so much of my happiness to rely on people who don't know I exist. If I can detach myself from them, maybe the crises about them leaving/my worth/what I'm doing with my own life won't be so bad. Like I said, far too many issues to be found here but help/advice with any one of them would be greatly appreciated.


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    SarahRSarahR Posts: 213 Trailblazer
    Hi Rivena

    Welcome to TheSite. It sounds like you've made an important step in sorting out this problem for yourself and you're already very aware of some of the things that might be going on. It sounds like wanting to keep watching these YouTube personalities is starting to eclipse some other healthy ways of making yourself feel happy with your life so well done for reaching out.

    You mentioned several reasons that these YouTubers are so appealing to watch, which I'll go through here:

    1) That these people feel like friends. These kind of videos are very comforting to watch as they're very personal and can help you feel a bit of a connection to the person, even though you've never actually met. You get to hear about all these interesting, involving things that they're doing which are interesting and fun. However you touched on something important when you mentioned...
    2) That you don't have to worry about doing anything to 'mess up' the friendship. Because you don't actually know the person, you don't have to worry about upsetting or affecting them in any way. You can watch the videos as much as you want and never worry that they'll go away because of something you said or did. Real life relationships can be messy and complicated, so it's comforting to turn to something which you don't have to worry about in this way.
    3) That they seem like such exciting, fun people! When we read blogs or watch vlogs or even read Facebook posts, it's easy to forget that we're only seeing the best or most exciting bits of someone's life. It's a bit like watching a highlights reel. It's rare that you'll see someone make a video about a boring or tedious day they had or a time where they made a fool of themselves. It may look like these people are all-singing, all-dancing all the time but it's guaranteed that (if you knew them in real life), you wouldn't want to hear about absolutely everything that they do. If we believe that these people are exactly as we see them, it's difficult not to feel inadequate but in actual fact, no one is that interesting all the time!

    It sounds like you're finding it very difficult to trust that your friends find you fun and interesting to be around and that your accomplishments (such as completing your first year of university) are just as impressive as the accomplishments of the people in the videos. It sounds like the feelings of panic and sadness that you feel when you're worried about your friendships are very intense and it might be that seeking help through a counsellor or student support services might be a good idea in talking this through properly.

    Starting to cut down on how much you watch the videos could be a good idea as well, but it might help to have something to replace them with. Are you involved in any clubs or societies at university? Building up your own activities and hobbies could be a good way of finding confidence in yourself. Or do you think you could start making videos of your own? This could be a good way of practising talking about yourself in a positive way.

    Let us know how everything goes and I hope this is helpful :)

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe read this thread a person recently posted about her Twitter addiction: http://vbulletin.thesite.org/forum/thesite-topics/sex-relationships/3524886-twitter-addiction-i-now-have-a-problem

    You have low self-esteem and seem to be plagued by anxiety (afraid you say stupid things to your friends who will subsequently hate you. You feel inadequate to youtube personalities, etc.)

    First of all, you make the big mistake of taking the (probably) rehearsed youtube talk of some person as a representative excerpt of someone's life and compare it to your own (You compare their high light reel to your blooper mix). Those guys don't upload when they drop their hot bowl of soup, or get into a fight with their housemates because they did not change the toilet roll they used up, or how their father is relentlessly disappointed at him because he dropped out of college to make videos where he blabs on over insignificant drivel to an teen audience.

    Also, through your social exclusion this is getting worse. You need to fight against the stupid voices that make you feel bad for opening your mouth because someone might not like it and therefore hates you. A good way to do it is to put yourself in others places and watch them through their eyes. Are they afraid of saying things that might come over as silly? Would you hate them if they said something cringe worthy one time or something not very clever some other time? No, then why should they do this to you? Talking to people. being social and functioning in a society where you interact with people are important things to be able to do and those things need to be trained. The less you do it, the more you become rusty and the more you dislike doing it, as it is true for almost everything else.

    In the meantime you are making your situation worse by undermining your self-esteem and being asocial. Go call a friend and go for an ice cream and talk to them about whatever. Just do it and you'll feel fine. All this anxiety is just the fear of something you are not doing, but you'll see that it will be fine once you do it.
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