Saturday, March 12, 2011

Facebook Awkwardness

Facebook Relationship Status = Dating Free Zone

Changing one’s Facebook relationship status seems like an innocent enough thing to do…Until you realize that you’re announcing that status of your sex life to not only your 500 closest friends (some of whom you haven’t spoken to since 4th grade), but also various judging family members, voyeuristic co-workers and “It’s complicated” exes. When you’re announcing a new relationship, the comments are congratulatory and not overly annoying. When you end something? That’s when it gets bad. That little broken heart shows up on every single of your Facebook friends’ newsfeeds and you’re forced to deal with all manner of well-meaning (but very quickly overwhelming) pity-party comments and questions over your relationship fail.

But besides the public scrutiny, there is a whole other giant pile of issues surrounding the emotionally-charged mine-field of the relationship status checkboxes.

Changing it requires an often-awkward conversation where questions arise like “Are we changing them simultaneously so one of us doesn’t look like a loser in denial?”, “Are we ready to change them? If not, what does that mean?”. And the most awkward of all: What if the person you’re dating changes it without discussing it with you, and suddenly you’re listed as “in a relationship” with someone you aren’t in a relationship with? Ack.

After you’ve broken up, when is the optimal time to change it? Doing it too soon is kind of a slap in the face to your ex and waiting to change it looks like a serious case of denial. It’s also usually a raw, emotional time and it often takes a few days to make sure the important people in your life know that you’re no longer in a relationship. Announcing the news on FB can be like dropping a drama-filled pity-party bomb - something you so don’t want to deal with when you’re in the post-break-up turmoil zone. Double ack.

The solution — provided by a brilliant friend who has dealt with all manner of Facebook relationship status shenanigans — is to make your Facebook profile a dating-free zone. Relationship status is left blank, no matter the situation, thereby avoiding all of the above problems. When asked by relationship-status-updating suitors, my friend simply states that it’s her policy to keep her private life private and she never has and never will update her relationship status. As a diplomatic but save-yourself-some-major-hassle policies go, this one is as solid as they come. Here’s to bringing back a little privacy for the sake of our sanity.

Yours in Facebook TMI, S