So, there’s something which has been on my mind for a few months that I’ve been wanting to share with you all.
In all honesty, I’m not really sure where to start. It began so many years ago and I was entirely unaware of it growing that when it fully blossomed it took me completely by surprise. What began out as mild disgust has since developed into a passionate pledge of sorts.
I never thought I would be this person, but here I am, ready to make it known to the world.
Here goes nothing. Inhale, Alex. Inhale. Exhale.
I’m in love. I’m breaking up with Facebook relationship status updates.
There I said it.
For those of you who started reading this because you thought from the title that I had something to announce, here’s a little something from Amy for you:
And for those of you who didn’t (and are in denial), Kristen has something for you:
But I digress, for this post is, unfortunately, not about brilliant female feminist comics. (Although perhaps a future one should be.)
But I wasn’t joking: I’ve had it with Facebook relationship statuses. Not that I’ve actually changed or had mine activated in multiple years…
I guess it began, in part, with an ex-boyfriend: we were never that greattt at the whole communicating-about-our-own-relationship thing and our social media presence as a couple was no different. However, after what I thought had been a sufficient amount of time (about four months) I decided it was time to make it Official. Look, I’m not going to lie: I was pretty chuffed with myself. There I was sitting at my computer just casually UPDATING MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS FOR ALL OF MY 413 FACEBOOK FRIENDS TO SEE! Yeah, no biggie.
I just knew he was going to be so appreciative of my initiative. #facebookofficial
For those of you who haven’t activated their relationship status on Facebook before, you input the name of your Significant Other (if they are also on Facebook) in a similar way to how you would tag someone in a post. This then brings up the message, “We will request confirmation of this relationship change from Insert Name upon saving.” So off the notification went to my boyfriend. And then…
And by “silence” I mean “He never accepted the relationship status update request and we never, ever talked about it”. Cue: seriously awkward.
I had to create this meme because this level of awkward didn’t previously exist on the interwebs. #winning
I’ve come to realise that one of my faults in relationships is that I let things slide which I probably shouldn’t. I don’t raise issues when I should. And this, cherubs, is a conversation that we’ll save for another day.
Back to the story: I reasoned that my then-boyfriend just a) wasn’t really into social media and b) was too cool for having his relationship status on Facebook. I also reasoned that this situation was better than the other end of the spectrum: where some of my Facebook acquaintances insisted on spamming everyone’s news feeds with how they “wuvveed their diddums” on a daily basis. #aintnobodygottimeforthat #unfriend And hence my aforementioned mild disgust in regards to publishing one’s relationship status.
Fast forward a few years to a time (“now”) when I am happily single and I’ve also had quite a bit of time to think about how I will conduct my future relationships – particularly in regards to the good ol’ social media. And I have decided that I want to keep my future relationships and social media presence as separate entities.
Now, anyone with their head screwed on correctly will probably point out that I will probably feel differently about this when I am next in a relationship (that lasts longer than a few months). And you have a point and you may be correct. I may end up being that Relationship Girl who is so loved up that she can’t wait to tell everyone on Facebook about it.
And look, I’d like to stress, that there is evidently nothing wrong with this; it is lovely that people care about and are committed to each other. That’s great and perhaps I have just prematurely become the Grinch of Relationships (quite possible). I guess my concern is that we jest that, “It’s not official until it’s Facebook official,” but more often that not, we’re not really joking, are we?
Why do we need social media to validate the authenticity of our relationships? Are our relationships not enough in and of themselves? And why does Kevin who we met once five years ago need to know about it? (I hate to break it to you, but I’m pretty sure that Kevin doesn’t really care about us.) Are we doing it to prove to others that we are worthy of love? Are we trying to subtley remind our exes of the fact that we’re doing so much better without them? Are we trying to just feel better about ourselves?
Personally, I can’t see many reasons why being “Facebook official” would be a beneficial thing for me.
I know a couple who are getting married in a few weeks time. They’ve been together for about five years and they are gorgeous together. One of the things that I like about their relationship is that they never make other people feel excluded around them – they are low-key and you never feel like the third wheel. And something else which is cool about their relationship is that there is absolutely no trace of it on their Facebook profiles. They haven’t even activated their relationship status fields, yet alone used them to announce that they are about to be wed. And, personally, I love that. They chose to contact me personally to tell me about their engagement news – and that was so much more meaningful and special than finding out because 182 other people had “liked” their relationship status update.
And that’s what I hope to have in my future relationships: no sign of it on Facebook. I want my loved ones to find out about any relationship news I have because I want them to know what’s happening in my life because they are important to me and we spend time together In Real Life.
So, I may change my mind when I’m next in a relationship, but I sincerely hope that I can emulate this couple I know, and not have my relationship played out on my Facebook wall; I want it to be played out in the real world.
PS: And to that couple? Thank you for your inspiration. I hope you have a wonderful married life together ahead of you ❤