I deleted my Facebook in July. I did so when I realized that I only spoke to about five percent of the people I had listed as friends, and that no one actually cares that I just made awesome guacamole or that I slept through calculus again (barring the creepy guy from work who probably doesn’t need to know more about me as it is).
Since I’ve closed my account, certain drawbacks to having one have become apparent to me. And of those, the most obvious is how awkward Facebook makes all your relationships — especially the more-than-friendly ones.
The complications start immediately, as you start becoming interested in someone. You know you’re navigating their page all the time, so you end up reading most of their status updates. Then you have to feign ignorance when they discuss those things with you in real life because you don’t want to seem like you’ve been stalking them (regardless of whether you actually have or haven’t). It’s a vicious cycle. Don’t pretend that you don’t do it.
Case in point, consider this sublimely awkward exchange, a conversation I had last semester:
Me: Oh, so this is your free haircut? It looks nice!
Jason: How did you know it was free?
Me: Didn’t you tell me it was?
Jason: What? No.
Me: Oh! Hahahaha, I must have a sixth sense or something because I definitely didn’t read it off of your status update.
Further adding to your grievances, under relationship status, one can list “married,” “engaged,” “in a relationship,” “in an open relationship,” “single” and the ever-debated “it’s complicated.” What does “it’s complicated” mean? (When is it not complicated is a better question.) “It’s complicated” could mean “I’m not over my ex” or “my ex just did time for attempted manslaughter, and I’m too fearful for my life to fully extract myself from my current relationship, which I am actually desperate to leave.”
So, yeah, I need to know, please.
And then, eventually, you’ve got to have that discussion about relationship statuses for yourself, because the first question anyone will ask you about your new “friend” is whether or not you’re “Facebook official.” Because, you know, hyperlinking your pages together makes you a real couple — it’s an act that truly attests to your ability to weather the turbulent storms of college love. If Facebook doesn’t say so, then I’m not buying it.
Assuming you manage to make it over those hurdles, Facebook only heaps more discomfort upon you once you’re actually in a relationship with said person. Who’s Rachel Skanksy? Why is she “liking” this photo of you? How come she’s commented on your wall three times in a row? There are far too many “lol”s going back and forth between you two lately. What’s up with all the emoticons, buddy?
This isn’t even to mention how incredibly awkward it is to have to “cancel a relationship” on Facebook once you’ve broken up. The hilarity of that wording aside, it does present a degree of conflict. Someone has to click that “cancel relationship” button, and unless you alert your now-exes immediately, they’re left with an “in a relationship” tag with no name after it. That makes it pretty obvious to the world that someone just got dumped. (And admit it, you’re suspicious when no page link is listed after “in a relationship.” I mean, if you don’t have a Facebook, you basically don’t exist, right? That’s what I’ve learned, at least.)
But the worst of it obviously comes after the breakup. After all, no one wants to see photos of their ex that are constantly cropping up randomly on their news feed. (By “cropping up randomly” I mean “checking their page obsessively.”) And Facebook just has to rub it in with that handy-dandy feature that reminds you of friends with whom you have not had any recent communication.
Months and months after the fact, Facebook repeatedly would continue to insist that I “reconnect with Jason!” or “leave a comment on Jason’s wall!” or “send Jason a message!”. No, thanks, there’s actually a reason I haven’t reconnected with him. It was like my life was The Truman Show, and Mark Zuckerberg was just trying to be an enormous, ironic jerk about it.
In the end, I realized that the problem was that my primary relationship was and would be with Facebook, so long as I had one. So I decided it was about time to cancel that relationship as well. And sure enough, Facebook wasn’t about to make it that easy for me to walk away — you have to Google how to delete your account, type in a Captcha to prove you’re not a robot (because no one in their right mind would delete their Facebook) and hold off on any activity for two weeks before your account is actually terminated.
Now that that mess is over, I can say it with conviction: Facebook, you were the creepiest relationship of all. I’m so glad we’re over. Signed, Catherine.
Editorials Editor Catherine Cai is a College junior from Atlanta.