It’s crazy to think how different the dating world of 2011 is compared to those of just a decade or so ago. Everyone has cell phones, there are more social networking sites then there are Dunkin Donuts, and the rules have changed significantly. I remember when I was in 5th or 6th grade and chat rooms were new and cool, now they have been replaced by BBM, Twitter, and Facebook. While we have grown dependent upon all this technology, is it really such a good thing?
In my case, the easy ability to connect to the world via the virtual realm probably has a very negetive effect. Given all my fears of winding up alone, Facebook and other social networking sites give me 24/7 access to communication with anyone of my “547” friends, so when I am home by myself and need a social connection, it is always available. I use quotations since the disparity between FB friends and real friends is usually quite high. I love FB for the ability to chat with people from my home state or friends I haven’t had time to see. It’s funny to write silly things on people’s walls or have joke conversations on someone’s wall for everyone to see and join in on and I love watching or posting funny videos. However, FB also has caused me a lot of tears.
One feature about FB is the fact that it has privacy settings, so we choose who sees us and what they see. There is nothing worse in the virtual realm than being un-friended (except maybe libel). I do not know what it is that I do to people, but I feel as though I’ve been de-friended more than an acceptable number of times which has made me reevaluate my reliance on such technological social mediums. If we aren’t dating and we aren’t friends in the real world then why should I care that we are also not friends in the virtual one? Well, there are a number of reasons.
First, it’s just plain rude. We are all adults and unless you are being stalked or work with the person in some capacity that you don’t want them to see you are dating someone new then de-friending is just an unnecessary slap in the face. Second,everyone wants to know what their ex is up to post-breakup. We ALL creep, there’s no denying it. I suppose this is why we get de-friended and it makes it easier to move on if you can’t see what they are up to but if you share mutual friends you still come a cross photos of them and your heart breaks a little every time you do. Seeing an ex who removed you from his list of friends or blocked you hurts because here is a guy you had feelings for who doesn’t want anything to do with you continuing to live his life spending time with the people you care about. You can’t help but feel as though he won them in some sort of custody dispute. Thirdly, if you do share friends, it would be in your best interest to remain on amicable terms in order to still be around each other at the same events and outings. Un-friending someone makes it very awkward to ever see them again and feel comfortable.
There are also valid reasons to un-friend someone as well because perhaps you do not want someone who you broke up with or ended a hookup with to see what you are up to and look through your pics. You may want space and not being reminded of the other person every time you log in by posts and updates can help with that. Yet, the hurt of being de-friended or blocked takes a long time to go away because it’s just another way of being rejected and tossed aside which is rough to take if you have self-esteem issues.
I was recently de-friended by my “friend with benefits.” While I wanted a relationship for a long time, I had decided a month or so ago to take a break and just have fun and work on myself. I tend to put so much of my time and energy into who I want to be and what others think of me that I sometimes lose site of who I am and how I view myself. I was so fearful of being alone that I latched on to whoever I dated that was decent and attractive, even if they really weren’t relationship material. So after a year of heavy dating that didn’t go anywhere, I was happy to be just hooking up with a guy; but, I made the mistake of developing strong feelings for him. Long story short, PMS, high stress, high emotionality, and alcohol do not mix. I took some time away from FB and even the blog to get myself back on track and when I returned, he had de-friended me with no explanation–though I suppose one wasn’t really necessary.
The ironic part of the story is that I had feelings for him since very early on and he never really reciprocated anything beyond strong attraction and physicality. I would allow myself to be jealous if I saw him in pics with other girls or if girls flirted with him on the page. I would never say anything about that, even if in a relationship, because we weren’t dating, we were not exclusive, and if we were then there would be trust and I would assume that the posts and pics were harmless. He and I would argue or he would do something to hurt me and then I would be haunted by his FB statuses and pics as I viewed my homepage. I would even cry sometimes when he upset me but could never bring myself to move on or unfriend him, even when my friends repeatedly told me to and that I deserved better. So, I got drunk and embarrassed myself and then I didn’t have to de-friend him because he did it for me. While I was hurt because I did care about him as a friend, I have to go by Marilyn Monroe’s quote,
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
All of the above observations and sexiquette only cover the issues of Facebook and other social networking sites when you are single; yet, FB causes serious drama in relationships as well. I cannot even count how many friends have had fights with their significant others’ over messages and posts or who express their dating upset via status updates. One person actually had to break up with her boyfriend due to drama caused by the site. Additionally, I have friends who have access to their boyfriend/girlfriend’s account and sneak on to see what messages he/she is getting. As I always say, it all ultimately comes down to trust. If you have to check to see if he is faithful or you have to ask why a guy is writing on her wall, either you or your significant other has an issue that needs to be addressed.
The reality is, we all have friends of the opposite sex and we joke flirt. We also are human and get jealous. Ultimately, when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, and the like, moderation is key. Don’t put yourself in situations where you will see statuses or pics of someone that will make you cry and avoid creeping because it never bodes well. Also remember that social networking sites are no replacement for real personal interactions so try to get off the comp (except when reading Sexiquette.net of course) and get out to see your friends in person. The people who you see in real life, talk to on a regular basis, who would never unfriend you because your relationship is far deeper than a computer, and who will be there for you when times get tough rather than block you and move on to the next are the only ones who matter and who are worthy of your time.
Have any Facebook stories to share? How has it effected your relationship? Your friendships? Comment below.