Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comparison Shopping

I like to comparison shop but sometimes I do things out of order. I find a great deal, indulge in an impulse buy, and then look up reviews, other products, other prices online because I'm curious and then I always have buyer's remorse. Why do I do this? Well, that's a topic for another time and another therapist.

Sometimes participating the all-powerful social network/blogosphere feels like a bad case of comparison shopping after the purchase. I've made and am making choices for my life: jobs, education, who to marry, where to live, when to pursue my goals, which dreams to bless and let go, how to cut my hair, how to decorate my house, how to nurture my relationship, who to spend time with, when to have or not have kids, what clothes to wear, etc, etc, etc. So, good. This is my life right now. It will continue to change but right now, this is it. Great. I got a good deal on it too.

And then I go online. Well, but that person lives there and she looks pretty happy. She didn't get married yet and look at all the fun stuff she's doing. Oh, her hair is long and it looks really good. They already have two kids so they are practically halfway done raising them and I haven't even started. Her husband does all these little things for her, would S even think of that? His job looks like fun and he seems like he's making a lot of money, I could probably do that. How did they take three big trips this year? They completely redid their house...that they own. She has ten good friends that she seems to see all the time, sigh. OMG, she ran a marathon!? Wow, they seem so happy all the time.

My own neuroses aside, is this an unpleasant side effect of Facebook and blog scrolling? I know this kind of comparison shopping has always happened, just read any Jane Austen novel, but does our increased connectedness exacerbate this unhealthy tendency? I know intimate details about the lives of people who I otherwise would never see ever again or have any reason to give even a passing thought if it weren't for Facebook. What do you think? Do we need a collective therapy session to help us interact with our extensive social network in a healthy way...or is it just me?


  1. well, with the purchases, good new is that you can often return it. :) Very recently I have tried to check on amazon or online instead of buying things at retail prices--and I've saved money every time. That's very hard to do, though, when the item you want is the last one on the shelf!

    and I think...I think you need to go watch an episode of wife swap or something. :) to see that the grass isn't always greener in a life with long hair and a mortgage. I totally understand that it looks good (as my wealthy friends make trips to prague or own quarter-of-a-million-dollar houses or buy designer shoes) but then I remind myself that I want Matt. and our home. and my cats. and my wardrobe. etc. :)

    I also want to make a bet with you--I bet you $100 that there are people out there who think the same things about YOU. About how you don't have children yet, how you are going to get your PhD, how you can sing and how you're brave enough to rock the short hair at times. About your husband who is so smart or your dog who is so cute or the artsy craftsy projects you share.

    I think that the digital/virtual world does make it much easier to keep up with every single Jones out there. I also think it lets you/us/people/strangers/creep-o-zoids dwell on their reaction and react in whatever way they seem fit--because it's a computer screen staring back at us, not a person who sharing their life with you face-to-face.

    I wonder if the problem isn't simply/only the interconnected-ness but instead the anonymity? The lack of a social-grace check? Maybe? I dunno.

    just typing as I think. :)

  2. I don't think it's just the digital/virtual world that does this to us. I think there are times where the grass is always greener, even if we had no computers at all! I find comfort in trying to find the flaws in people's green grass to make my grass feel greener (I KID! :)

    As a side note, I love that you use the word exacerbated. It makes me jealous that you have a large vocabulary!

    I definitely know where you are coming from, and have felt the exact same way lately. Long distance has never kept us out of sync.

    How long is your hair? I'm debating a haircut :)

  3. hehe...i'm still growing mine out, it's about down to my chin! :-)