Thursday, January 7, 2016

Point/Counterpoint: The Facebook Relationship Status

I personally have a love/hate relationship with facebook. On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to see what’s going on in the lives of friends/acquaintances/former friends without having to reach out to every single one of them individually and there are events I would never be aware of without it.

But on the other hand, my news feed is filled with a lot of unnecessary oversharing and, as Sara pointed out in her February 2012 post Full Disclosure: No one’s happy all the time, “thanks to social networking, we all get a photographic window to everyone’s happiest…moments.” Likening my day-to-day life to everyone else’s happiest moments creates a breeding ground for some unfair comparisons.

Facebook’s unveiling of the relationship status feature in 2004 allowed users to know if someone was in a relationship without having to ask, which is nice. What also followed was the ability to break up with someone by simply changing your relationship status to “Single” and the ability to find out your best friend got engaged without actually being informed personally—neither of which are typically well received. While some people update their status as soon as they can (I’ve heard this referred to as becoming “FBO” [Facebook Official]), others don’t find it so relevant. I’ve presented both sides:

Point: Cheating can happen when someone gets hit on as a result of not updating their relationship status.
Counterpoint: A cheater is going to cheat no matter what they set their relationship status as.

Point: A relationship isn’t truly official until both people update their relationship status.
Counterpoint: Relationships did somehow exist prior to 2004. Let’s live in the present by not reading into people’s facebook habits so much.

Point: Changing your facebook status is akin to standing on top of a table in the middle of a crowded room and screaming at the top of your lungs “I AM SINGLE/TAKEN/ENGAGED!!!”
Counterpoint: But people never did that (at least, not the normal ones). Stop looking to your facebook friends for reassurance: you don’t need facebook to connect with the people you really want in their life, to be in a successful relationship, or to create incredibly beautiful life experiences. Only you can determine what will bring you ultimate joy, with or without the approval of your facebook friends.

Point: My relationship status is personal. I don’t want other people knowing my business.
Counterpoint: I actually don’t have a counterpoint for this one, because it seems like an excuse to me. If you truly don’t want anyone to know your business, you wouldn’t even have a profile on facebook. The very act of making a facebook profile ensures that everyone who is connected to you will, in fact, know your business.

It’s important to not let checking in with what’s going on in everyone else’s world get in the way of savoring the experience that’s right in front of you. That being said, I also think that if it’s a big enough deal to your significant other, it’s a small way to make them happy.

Do you make a point to change your relationship status based on your current relationship situation? Do you become concerned if your significant other is reluctant to update their status? Comment below!


  1. I've been in a relationship on facebook with my best friend's brother for almost 7 years now. Neither of us are gay aside from one time on New Year's a few years ago when we pecked each other on the lips at midnight...

    Anyway, I had a 5 year long relationship during this period and I never changed my status. Point is: relationship status is only as serious as you make it, what other people think doesn't really matter. A lot of people at my school actually thought I was gay for a long time.

  2. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and neither one of us has updated our statuses. BUT we both have hidden statuses. If his said single, or vice versa, we wouldn't be ok with that. But since it says nothing, I don't really care. Because it's very obvious on our pages that we are in a relationship with each other.

  3. The more time that goes by, the less interested I am in posting things about my relationship on Facebook. My husband and I stopped the whole "it's our anniversary" posts too, because, let's be real-- they're cheesy as fuck. I have a strict "i only brag about my career" on Facebook rule now

  4. My now ex was very reluctant to change it to say 'In A Relationship', and also to remove any of his online dating profiles. It can be a red flag for commitment issues down the track, and it was.