When you get married, people ask you when you’re planning on having a baby. When you’re pregnant, people ask you what you think you’re having, and might even inappropriately touch your stomach (which has actually been outlawed in Pennsylvania!). But the worst of all is when you’re single. If relatives aren’t pressuring you to date and fall in love with their coworker’s son, they’re telling you about the successful Match.com connections made based on a commercial they saw. “Why don’t you give it a shot? You never know!” Sigh. They mean well, but it’s never a conversation you look forward to.
Well, now people can bug you about your relationship status online. Facebook unveiled the “Ask” button, which will promptly send you a notification asking whether or not you’re single and ready to mingle. You’d think that by hiding your status, you’d be sending the message that regardless of your romantic situation, it’s not something you want to broadcast to the world – but obviously Facebook didn’t get the hint.
Relationship status isn’t the only thing that acquaintances can ask you about – they pretty much have the option to ask you about any field in which you leave blank. This feature might be even worse than the Facebook “poke.” It’s literally like the internet equivalent to “Do you Like Me? Circle One. Yes, No, Maybe.”
“This feature provides an easy way for friends to ask you for information that’s not already on your profile,” Facebook spokeswoman MoMo Zhou said in an e-mail to CNN, who questioned their motives suspiciously. “By default, only you and your friend can see it, and you also have the option of sharing it with others, too.” Sharing it? There’s a reason people don’t share it in the first place!
I tried to think of a few positive aspects of the Facebook “Ask Button,” but couldn’t find many. Yes, it might be good to know if a crush is available. But in all honesty, is that truly the way you want to figure it out? Not only is it impersonal, but it lacks all of the feel-good emotions that should occur within a budding romance. Imagine the two of you growing old together, telling your children the story of how you met. “Well kids, your Mother “Asked” if I was seeing someone on The Facebook, and we lived happily ever after.”
What happens if you went out and had maybe a drink too many, and suddenly recollected on an ex? You’re digitally asking him or her if they’ve moved on yet – or, admitting that you haven’t moved on yourself. While everyone is entitled to mourn past relationships, it’s hard to convey those emotions in such an emotionless add-on. It just makes you look a little crazy. (Don’t worry. I know you’re not crazy. You’re just curious, and maybe still a little bit bummed out.)
There’s also the chance that they’re just days away from proposing to their invisible-to-you girlfriend. Put yourself in her shoes – you’re happy in your relationship, when all of a sudden, your significant other gets bombarded with requests asking if they’re available. Sure, you trust him or her – but it’s still kind of an awkward, messy situation. You might even question why you were never Facebook-Official before, even though it never seemed like a big deal. Until now.
With the risk of sounding like an old lady, I truly miss the days when we learned more about people based on real, social interaction. People need to talk more, and depend on screens less. It’d be much more intriguing to get the gossip from your trusted companions, like you did prior to social networking. Or, gasp! Ask him yourself, in the midst of a conversation. I promise, it’d be way less awkward than “Asking” through Facebook. And you know what? If it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. Being single isn’t a curse.