Lovers in a Digital Time: Facebook Etiquette

As Russell Smith noted this weekend, Facebook can make breakups messy – and relationships difficult. Now that the high-minded polemic is out of the way, here are some practical tips for managing your online affairs.

Relationship Status
Don’t touch that relationship status. If you’re never in a relationship, you’re never newly single. If this advice comes too late, then it’s time for damage control: Never change your relationship status to single or cancel your relationship after a fight; be sure it’s over before you tick off the box. Remove your relationship status from your news feed (in privacy settings), so your friends don’t know when you’ve been dumped — unless of course you want your “friends” to know you’re newly single.

Your Friends
Women have been known to go through their man’s list of friends and question unfamiliar female faces. Be prepared to explain how you befriended each and every one of them. If the answer is “slept with her,” time to unfriend her – or come up with a better story.

Your Status Updates
Never allude to lovers’ quarrels in your status updates, i.e. “In the doghouse. Any bros for beers?”

Your Wall
Who you’re friends with reflects on you. If your buddy posts links to celebrity sex tapes on your wall, your girl’s going to think you’re into that. Which you’re not, right? Delete these posts. Any notes from female friends that end with “xo” should also be promptly trashed. Keep an eye on the photos you’re being tagged in, too: If you’re captured canoodling with another girl, you’re busted.

Image courtesy of Tony Blay.

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