We all know nothing good comes from dwelling on the past, but that’s not stopped Facebook from forcefully cramming wistfulness down our throats at every possible opportunity in a bid to take on reminiscence rival Timehop. Yet despite the social giant’s claims that it “cares about us and the memories we share”, we’re still bombarded with these nostalgic nightmares.
1. The gross one
Remember the time you found an enormous spider prowling around the kitchen and were genuinely so aghast at its inconceivable size you had to take a photo of it to prove to everyone you weren’t overreacting? How about THAT in your eyes first thing on a Monday morning? Or the time your mate fell up the stairs in a nightclub and bust her head open and of course you had to take a picture to accompany your ‘At A&E 🙁 🙁 :(’ status? Thanks for flagging that one up at lunchtime, Facebook!
2. The self-pitying whinge
When our generation of Millennials made the leap from MySpace to Facebook one of the biggest complaints was the lack of page personalisation, but we compensated for the lack of custom backgrounds and profile songs by updating our statuses with really deep and meaningful song lyrics or poetry sOmETImES wRiTtEn LiKe tHiS. As we got older these emotional outbursts became more developed but no-less cringe-inducing (BON IVER LYRICS ARE SO RELEVANT TO MY FEELINGS), and these Facebook memories only serve to remind us that life is difficult and ultimately no-one will ever understand us. Yay.
3. The declaration of change
You figured you’d tell the whole world about your plans to quit smoking/lose weight/run a marathon because that way you’d be more likely to actually do it, right? And yet three years later you’re sat at your desk with a packet of fags in your purse, biscuit crumbs on your lap and the NHS’ ‘Couch to 5k’ still bookmarked on your browser. This Facebook Memory is the digital equivalent of a parental grilling around the dinner table at Christmas. I’LL DO IT WHEN I’M READY, OKAY?
4. The one where you looked amazing
Hot DAMN you look good in that photo. Too bad all you can remember about that day is how your hair wasn’t doing what you wanted, or you weren’t sure about that lipstick, or how you felt massive compared to the girls you were out with. This one’s a lesson in embracing yourself – flaws and all – because your future self will be mighty pissed off you didn’t at the time.
5. The BFF you never see anymore
‘Wood Road Crew Forever!’ reads this Memory’s caption, or ‘We’ll still be doing this when we’re 50!!’ Whatever the enthusiastic footer, Facebook has thrown up a picture of you and an old BFF, taken when you couldn’t imagine life without one another, and probably during a time you were making grand plans together for the future. But it’s a few years later and your careers have taken you to different cities, or she’s hunkered down for a life of blissful domesticity while you’re rolling home after happy hour every night with a ready meal for one. Your lives have gone in different directions and now you’re just a birthday greeting on one another’s Facebook walls. Depressing.
6. The holiday
Then: sun, sea, sand and sangria. Now: grey skies, rain, fluorescent lighting and a weird green smoothie to help stave off commuter germs. Enough said.
7. The ex
Ah, the ex. In this picture your big beaming smile and flushed cheeks betray your hope and optimism for the future. Maybe *this* one is your Prince Charming, you silently mused as the camera snapped another sickeningly sweet selfie that made your friends retch and your mother quietly hopeful for grandchildren. But no, he wasn’t, and regardless of the terms on which you parted Facebook’s totally okay with storming into your psyche and unleashing the emotional havoc of a bull in a china shop. Cheers, Facebook *Posts meaningful Bon Iver lyrics*.
8. The shit thing
Sure, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all, but unless your life is an actual rom-com there’s no guarantee that you’ll have risen from the flames of adversity like a majestic phoenix in the years following a job loss, accident or bereavement, and being reminded of your life before and during such an event is just plain icky.
9. The one you can’t remember
“I was where? Who the hell is that?” are common responses to the Facebook Memory of which you actually have no memory, thanks largely to the involvement of daytime drinking, questionable apple-flavoured shots or a free bar (possibly all three). A worst case scenario involves a friend being presented with the same Memory and them splashing it across Facebook with the caption ‘OMG Rachel, do you remember what happened after this photo?’ But you don’t. You really don’t.
10. The good times
A diamond in the rough, a needle in a haystack, a rare find… but the genuinely happy Facebook Memory does exist. Perhaps it’s a snap from your wedding day, or a status celebrating a major work achievement, or just a picture that reminds you of your brilliant friends. Whatever it is, it’s holding out for one of these that keeps you sifting through the above crap in the first place.