After her recent breakup with Big Sean, Naya Rivera, best known for her role as Santana on Glee, tweeted something particularly spiteful about her ex-fiancee:
Though the tweet was eventually deleted, Rivera’s behavior brings to mind an important question regarding relationships in the digital age. That is, how exactly does one go about handling a breakup on the Internet? Though dealing with a breakup on social media may sound like a trivial issue for those who are not familiar with the platforms, those who are recognize the difficulty in privatizing your life once you’ve already made it public online. While you may be tempted to release the Kraken of all angry rants, remind yourself that social media is not a playground for your emotions. There are steps that you should take to maintain appropriate social media etiquette. This isn’t Monopoly; there are rules here.
1) Privately change your relationship status.
You can’t continue to tell the word that you’re “In A Relationship” on Facebook when you’ve actually been flying solo for weeks. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to acknowledge your single status. To avoid attracting the unwanted attention of everyone on your friends list, change your relationship status privately, by either deleting the update that accompanies a relationship change, or quietly removing your relationship status altogether.
2) Avoid angry rants about the other person.
While I understand that writing can often be therapeutic, I’d advise finding a coping method that doesn’t make your friends want to unfollow all of your updates. If you want someone to talk to, message a friend directly. Don’t post mean or self-deprecating rants in an attempt to elicit a response from someone, because that’s not helping you or anyone else.
3) Don’t delete them from your Facebook right away.
Just like you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you should never make an important decision when you’re sad or angry because your state of mind can ultimately affect your choices and may lead you to do something irrational that you will later regret. In the moment, you may hate your ex for dumping you or cheating, but don’t immediately sever all your ties. You may want to stay friends or reconnect someday, but you won’t be able to do that if you burn all your bridges ahead of time.
4) Follow the Golden Rule.
Your ex may seem like the root of all evil, but deep down, they’re still human. They still fear being publicly embarrassed and having their confidence shattered. Don’t reveal information about them or post pictures that were shared in a moment of intimacy to the entire world. You wouldn’t want them to do that to you, so don’t do that to them.
5) Don’t post pictures of you and someone new.
At least, not right away. While finding a new partner may be part of your “moving on” process, the other person may misconstrue your fling as an insult to your past relationship. (Was your relationship really special to begin with if you appear hitched and unfazed two days later?)
Those are my social media no-nos when it comes to dating, but what are yours? What else should be included in social media etiquette?