Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Do's And Don'ts of Social Media: Defriend & Unfollow

Editor's Note: Meet Erica, our newest contributor!  She wrote this post awhile back about getting her heart broken on a reality TV show.  She's started an awesome new column for us: the Do's and Don'ts of Social Media after a BLOW OFF.  Enjoy the first of many installments!

First of all, let me just make it clear that I have broken every single one of these rules. In fact, I’ve already broken one of them today and it’s not even 2 p.m. But I am not ashamed, dear readers, because any normal, emotionally healthy human being goes a little Swim Fan when their heart is slashed to ribbons by the cruel Samurai of love (I like to start things off with a dramatic turn of phrase – sue me).

So look, I don’t pretend to be any cooler than you. On the contrary, I have simply screwed this up so many times that I’ve learned a thing or eight, and if someone can benefit from my post-break up PR snafus, all the better. The point is, don’t be so hard on yourself.  These are just some self-loving guidelines for navigating relationships in the internet age, and that shit is complicated, so give yourself a break. It may take time to develop the self-restraint required to heal yourself, but eventually, you can and will get your self-respect back, which will enable you to move on. Because you do deserve to move on. So, here's the first DO in our social media series:

 #1: DO Defriend and Unfollow. 
I know, I know, but it has to be done, and as soon as possible. Not as a power play, not as a petty means of provocation, but as an assertion of healthy boundaries.

It’s all too easy to fall into an obsessive routine of checking his page every twenty minutes for some emo John Mayer lyrics with a hidden message for you, or clicking on every “like” list to search for his ex’s name, but force yourself to stop and think for a moment. Are you enjoying this emotional rollercoaster ride, or is it making you want to puke? If you weren’t you, would you tell yourself that indulging in this masochistic monitoring is a super idea? Of course not.

I’ll admit that hitting that “unfriend” button is far easier said than done. Even if you know it would be good for you, it’s really effing hard to cut off what is usually the last remaining connection you have to someone you cared about. Back in the days before the interfact cyberweb, the people who hurt you usually just, like, disappeared. This was a good thing. But in modern society, we have all these tempting links to each other that never go away. Just think about how insane that is for a moment. Nobody ever really goes away. I mean, how does anyone stay married anymore?! It’s crazy to think that when we’re 82 and crapping our Depends during a game of shuffleboard, we’ll STILL be able to whip out our phones (or activate our telepathic brain chips or something cool and future-y), and check out what our old prom dates are up to.

All I’m saying is that maybe that is bad. It’s so hard to curb that natural curiosity, but if what we truly want is a supportive, real-life relationship in the here and now, we need to make choices that allow for that to come into our lives. And then we need to take actions that turn those choices into our reality. I know this is getting into some Tony Robbins shit, but just bear with me here. Think of the universe as a casino. Now imagine you came in with $500 and you’re down to your last $100. You’ve already lost quite a bit of money and you’re afraid to let go of those last chips in your pocket. You’re hanging onto them because they're all you have left. But here's a little secret: the universe WANTS you to take the gamble. It WANTS to give you the jackpot, but first you have to let go of whatever you're clinging to out of fear. Most people don’t have the big brass balls to live that way; but if you can manage to be someone who does, you’ll eventually have everything you want.

At this point, you may be thinking “uh, what? I thought this crazy bitch was talking about Facebook?" But refusing to cut off that Facebook friendship is the same as refusing to lay down your last chips at that poker table. If you’re brave enough to cut the ties that bind you to the past, it’s amazing how the universe will suddenly send you the love you deserve. Or, ya know, maybe just a fling with a hot Brazilian surgeon, but hey, take what you can get. The key is to remember that if your actions reflect your belief that you DO deserve the love you want, you’re going to get it much faster. And that’s all well and good, but the reality is that a nasty break-up can make us forget that we DO indeed deserve love. A romantic rejection or failure can leave our ego so shattered that we just keep punishing ourselves without even realizing what we’re doing.

I’m a repeat offender in this regard. Here’s a little mental trick I use to guard against self-sabotage when I’m particularly vulnerable and can’t be trusted to act in my own best interest: I pretend I’m two different people – me, and my mom. I know it sounds stupid, but when I’m about to take any action at all after a break-up, I yell out inside my brain, “ACTIVATE EMERGENCY MOM MODE,” and then I pretend my mom has Freaky Friday’d my body and is making all my decisions for me. It’s like mom autopilot. And what my mom would do is defriend the shit out of all my exes. Oh, and if for some reason your mom sucks, just pick somebody like Joy Behar or something. And hey, let’s just real talk for a second; if you REALLY get an uncontrollable urge to stalk, chances are you have a friend or relative who still has access to that ass hat’s page and will check in for you during a moment of weakness. Everyone caves now and then. I can’t stress enough the importance of giving yourself a break.


  1. It's funny (in a sad and ironic way) that I read this post the day that my guy and I broke up. But I followed your advice and although it was sad ritual in-and-of-itself to click those little buttons (just as it can be an exciting rush at the beginning of a new relationship to click them) it did make me feel a bit better - like it was a strange and measureable step toward moving on.

    1. good for you, Penny!!! Hope the break up just gets easier and easier from here.