Thursday, March 11, 2010

Facebook Breakup Etiquette

Breaking up is hard. But sharing that experience with all 549 of your Facebook friends is even harder. Should you just deactivate your account and live a lonely life without status updates, Bejeweled Blitz and pictures of babies you’ve never met? Umm, no way (what else would you do at work?)! So, here are a few tips for dealing with the fallout of a breakup on Facebook gracefully.

Tip 1: Stay low profile and don’t do anything drastic right away. Once you change your relationship status and remove all traces of your ex from your profile, the Facebook world will be all abuzz. Then if you two reconcile 36 hours later, you have to go through all the trouble to add everything back. Plus, everyone will start placing bets on when the next breakup will go down…

Tip 2: Don’t write vague, yet highly alarming status updates to alert people about the breakup. For example:

_____ is going to drown her sorrows with cheap vodka that burns as much as the pain.
_____ will never feel joy or happiness again … ever.
_____ thinks being heavily medicated will make it all better. 

This puts your friend list into a tailspin of panic that could lead to many frightening assumptions about your well-being. Remember, you probably have lots of “friends” that aren’t part of your inner circle (including your boss, your BFF’s mom, a guy you dated in 11th grade, etc.) who will read this cry for help in jaw-dropping amazement … and potentially call the paramedics to your house. 

Tip 3: Don’t try to defame him/her through status updates. For example:

_____ can’t believe I dated a guy that likes Justin Bieber.
_____ would like the world to know that _____ is a cheater, liar and all around sack of $&*@.

You need to look like the bigger person in this breakup. Rant and rave all you want to your nearest and dearest on the phone or over cocktails, but taking your anger to the Newsfeed only makes you look bitter and unstable.

Tip 4: Make sure your friends don’t write feedback about the breakup on your wall. If they do, remove it. This is not the place for group therapy. Because before you know it, your profile will get more hits by gossip hungry readers than

Tip 5:
Eventually, face the facts. If the breakup is for good and you know there’s no going back, rip off the band-aid. Keeping a profile picture of the two of you up months after ending things for real makes you look like you can't let go. Delete the pictures of you two on vacation, cuddling with puppies and feeding each other ice cream. (It’s okay to cry throughout this entire process.) Maybe even have a friend come over for support and reinforcement. You don’t have to change your status to “single” if you don’t want, but remove the “in a relationship” option.

Tip 6:
Once the dust settles, put a hot new profile picture up to show the world (and him) how awesome you’re doing.  

Have you seen some bad FB breakups go down? Share your tips!


  1. Is there a rule of thumb for friends of the ex? Do you de-activate their friends as well?

  2. that's a good question! I think friends just need to stay out of it. Don't deactivate, but you can "hide" the ex if you don't feel like seeing what they're up to all the time. This way, you can just be neutral. Think about how many "friends" you have on your list that you really have nothing to do with anyways ... consider it like that.

  3. Oh, I think I misread... and realize you are talking about friends of YOUR ex - not your friend's ex that may be one of your friends (this is complicated!). But same deal - i would not un-friend anyone ... unless they play that Farmville game too much...

  4. I think its a bit like International Relations and diplomacy is important. Messy breakups require drastic action (i.e. de-friending the ex if you are a de-facto friend from their relationship).

    Love the post, keep up the good work!

  5. haha, totally. this could really be a whole blog itself, it's very complex!!

  6. If you are going to change your relationship status, you should remove it from your newsfeed. One weekend I found out that two of my closes friends broke up with their boyfriends via Facebook!