I spent the weekend in Virginia Beach with two of my college friends and I’m still chuckling at a social media relevant story my friend was telling me. One of her friend’s feels the need to involve others in her relationship drama, and my friend was sharing some entertaining stories with us. After I was convinced that the girl was crazy, it got better. On Saturday morning my friend Rachel woke up to 6 Dollars in her Venmo account from her friend. She texted her recently single friend to ask what it was about and she explained that her ex changed his Venmo picture of them, so she wanted to change hers and look nonchalant about it so she sent Rachel 6 dollars for “wine” (see below text message explanation). I honestly didn’t know Venmo profile pictures were a thing, but it did make me think about the additional heartache social media can cause during a breakup.
All comedy aside, there is no clear cut rule for handling break-ups on social media but the first thing that usually happens is a Facebook relationship status change followed by a profile picture change if it was a couple photo. There there is the purging of all coupley photos from the accounts of the individual’s involved. Of course the next thing to do is to post pictures that make it look like you’re having an amazing time post breakup, and that life has never been so wonderful. This is a trend I’ve always noticed and recognize it’s just a tactic to make the ex jealous—just another reason we should not compare our lives to someone else’s based on their social media posts. A breakup is no longer just a break-up, but a difficult life event followed by a stream of digital decisions. Do you defriend the person, block them even? What about their family members or friends? How about a dramatic breakup status update that let’s everyone into your personal business. The Huffington post sums up the phenomenon pretty well and give’s some guidelines for etiquette that I am going to relay to Rachel to send to her friend!
What does it mean for us? Is it harder to get through the ending of a relationship with the presence of social media? Facebook definitely softened the blow recently, allowing users to hide certain people from their newsfeed without defriending them. Users can also ask Facebook to untag your photos with the ex. It’s actually been shown that people that people who keep looking at social media information of their exes have more negative feelings and a harder time moving on. Those who refrain typically move on more quickly. But is it possible to escape the curiosity of checking up on your ex’s most recent activity? My ideal solution is to defriend the ex and to focus on living life, and to maybe limit social media use for a while to avoid temptation to check up on the ex. For other experiences and strategies, check out this New York Times article.