Rad Reads

5 ways to ditch the social media envy and heart your life

Say hi to Cecily, Prianka and Gabrielle, three BFFs trying to navigate the ups and downs of middle school...all while glued to their phones. 

We've all been there: obsessing over likes, constantly checking DMs, incessantly scrolling and randomly refreshing. Social media and staying connected is a huge part of your day-to-day life—and a huge part of Cecily, Prianka and Gabrielle's lives.

The BFFs and stars of the TBH series have always kept up through group texts, journals and emails. So, what will happen to their friendship when vacations, evolving interests and screen-free time threatens their unbeatable bond? That's exactly what TBH, IDK What’s Next explores, the fourth installment in the sweet series by Lisa Greenwald.

It's summertime and the besties are all on different paths. Cece is trying to stay away from her phone, but worries about disconnecting from her friends before the start of the school year. Pri is headed to India with her fam, but wonders if time away from her crew will leave her left out. Meanwhile, Gabby has the chance to break out of her shell at camp, but wrestles with comparing herself to others.

No matter what your summer—or your life in general—has to offer, it’s normal to have the same struggles as Cece, Pri and Gabby. The upside? There are so many ways to solve them. Inspired by the TBH, IDK What’s Next girls, here are five ways to overcome your social media envy, disconnect and have the time of your life—online *and* IRL. 

Easier said than done, right? When Cece, Pri and Gabby head to Outdoor Explorers camp, they must follow a strict screen-free policy. Cece and Gabby are having a blast, but Pri is *super* homesick. Sneaking on her phone is a quick fix to Pri's problems—but it’s only when she has the chance to unplug in India, spend time with others and make a new friend that she's actually able to gain perspective. 

YOUR FIX: When you spend time in the virtual world you miss out on opportunities right in front of you. Whether you’re at camp, on vacation or hanging at home, try to put your phone away and connect with the people around you—even when it feels scary. You never know when a new face will turn into a new friend.

THEIR SITCH: When Gabby returns from camp, she’s feeling *majorly* envious of her new friend Ivy. Judging by her texts and photos, Ivy seems to have the life Gabby wants: lots of cousins, fancy vacations and cool things to post. By focusing so much on Ivy’s life, Gabby forgets to enjoy her own—even when she’s on an awesome adventure in her fave locale: Block Island. 

YOUR FIX: It’s perfectly normal to experience jealousy, especially when you start following someone new. But if that envy morphs into bad feels, constant comparison and post pressure, it’s time to open up. Tell a friend or a trusted adult how you're feeling. When Cece and Pri confide in one another about their social media envy, they're not ashamed of it anymore—and they're even able to help Gabby feel the same.

The digital world is an incredible tool to keep in touch with your friends near and far—just ask Cece, Pri and Gabby, who are constantly texting throughout all four TBH books

YOUR FIX: A text usually only expresses what’s on the surface. You can’t see your BFF’s facial expressions or know what’s going on behind the scenes of their message. That's why it’s important to find time to make memories with them IRL, like when the TBH girls hit the pool or have a sleepover. While you’re hanging out with your friends, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing behind the screen—just focus on your friends. Be there for them, find new ways to connect (like Cece, Pri and Gabby’s story journal) and live in the moment. 

Pssst! This amaze book's predecessors—TBH, This Is SO Awkward, TBH, This May Be TMI and 
TBH, Too Much Drama—are *not* to be missed. 

When the girls start posting to their camp group text and online album, the competition for likes gets out of control. The need for likes makes the girls feel badly about themselves, and causes them to distance themselves from one another. 

YOUR FIX: Ditch the competition by discovering what you *like* in real life and remembering the undeniably unique things everyone *likes* about you. Just like Cece, you can try working hard on something you care about, or, like Gabby, you can join a new team. Likes online come and go, but hobbies can last a lifetime.

When Pri heads to India with her family, she’s experiencing major FOMO (fear of missing out) over what her friends will do without her. But once she’s there, she realizes that she had nothing to worry about, and that letting her fear hold her back could make her miss out on a life-changing trip. 

YOUR FIX: You may have heard of FOMO, but have you tried JOMO? Finding joy in missing out can help you reduce social media envy *and* pursue your IRL goals. No matter where you are or what you're doing, find moments where you can experience JOMO. Maybe you’re working hard on a passion project (like when Cece organized the Spring Fair in TBH, This May Be TMI), immersing yourself in another culture like Pri or facing your fears like Gabby did at camp. If you don’t put your phone down and experience the real world, you’ll never know how much joy you can find! 

Lisa Greenwald’s TBH, IDK What’s Next is available in bookstores everywhere and online now. 


by Katherine Hammer | 5/7/2019