How to Survive on Social Media After a Breakup
Thanks to the pervasiveness of social media, it's pretty much impossible to "X" out your ex. Like, ever. And while there are tons of self-help gurus out there to explain the importance of steering clear of your former boo on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, whatever, it's never easy taking that advice to heart when you're sitting in your fat pants downing a bottle of Malbec and your Facebook is open, like, right there.
So instead of the typical goulasch of social savvy, healthy advice, we put together some easy-to-follow guidelines you can actually use to help navigate the post-breakup online.
1. If you unfriend your ex, you lose
You can deny and delete all you want, but the truth of the matter is, if you have an issue seeing that your old lover is now being very loose with his #wcw or #mcm, then that's your problem. Sure, it's customary for the dumpee to unfriend, but that's a sign of weakness, right? Forcing yourself to get your ex's updates about steak dinners and trips to the Farmers Market with some (cough) skank (cough), now that takes strength. That said, if every post causes you to open another bottle, then choose "unfollow" rather than "unfriend." You won't see your ex's happy new life, and he/she won't know you're still crying into a flannel whilst listening to Aerosmith.
2. On that note, don't unfriend the fam (or the friends) either
Really, they had nothing to do with the whole ordeal, so let them unfriend you if they have a problem. Again, there may be posts, there may be Instagram photos with the whole #squad that you are no longer a part of. Cry it out. Unfollow if need be, but don't bend yourself to a total "unfriend." And yes, it's that important to save face.
3. Don't be private about your newfound singlehood
It's pointless to break up with someone and not enjoy the fruits of single life. So, don't set that status to "only me" and be all polite about it. This is a big moment -- let that singlehood shine! Hell, set that privacy setting to "friends" or maybe even "public." Okay, public is kind of crazy, but you get the idea -- you need to shift to an independent mindset and embracing your new online status is a good start. Also, you should experiment with some new fashion choices. Just because.
4. Don’t over-edit your posts
Why in the world should you think about your ex when posting a status? The whole point is to NOT think about him/her at all. Your ex doesn't own you or that "What's on your mind?" box. Tweet and post anything you would normally post. No need to worry whether or not your over-enthusiasm for P.F Chang's take-out is going to make him think you are basic. Or lonely. Those lettuce wraps are amazing, dammit, and so are you. Just don't go over-board with the humble Facebook brag -- keep it real.
5. Stalk for hours, preferably with wine, potato chips, and/or candy
You know you're going to do it. It's inevitable. Just make sure you have the proper chips. Because if you have the right snack foods, you can pretty much get through anything.
6. Use check-ins to boost your self-esteem
Just because you got dumped doesn't mean can't have fun again. Or better yet, go out and get giant ice cream cones! When you do, though, use that "Check-in" button on Facebook. And add a "location" on Instagram and Twitter. Sure, he's probably already unfollowed you and paying little attention to your moves, but the bigger thing is that you're going out and/or wearing real pants now -- and after seeing a list of all the cool places you've hit in a month, you'll start to feel better about yourself.
7. Keep all the photos
Just like seeing those daily tweets may hurt for a while, seeing the pics will, too. But pictures are a great way to gauge progress. Take your "break-up temperature" by looking at a few each week. At first the salt of tears will fill your mouth, but as you get used to looking at that precious face, it strangely will become way less, well, precious. You will start noticing chin rolls and... has she always had an underbite? Also, you're going to want those embarrassing Halloween photos later; eventually they'll take you on a magical ride of all your comical bad hair choices.
8. Don't get a legally binding social media “agreement” with your ex
Apparently this is a thing now. Couples can actually write up a "social media" clause in a prenup to ensure that they are treated with respect on social after they call it quits. What happened to just being decent human beings? Try not to micromanage everything from beyond the love nest. It's Facebook people; it's not the real world. Don't get a lawyer and sit down with them to go over the depths of social media protocol post-romance. That's sad, and millions of people have gotten along for years now without it.
9. Quit the “like” analyzing
Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like, and shut up about it. If he likes your selfie after you break up, it means nothing. The sooner you realize that he's probably f*ck*ng with you, the better. Don't get sucked back in. Then again, who knows, maybe he accidentally ass-pressed that red heart on Instagram without even realizing it. Instead of being overly analytical about a red heart or a thumbs up, use that same energy to... STAY broken up with him. Or study Sartre. Or read a book. Or watch a baseball game. Whatever it takes to distract, distract, distract.
10. If you delete your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat, LinkedIn (bad idea, it's your career!) or whatever, then you lose
See rule #1. Unplugging is great. Unplugging just because a single human being exists on the Internet is a complete failure.
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Kara King is a Writer at Thrillist and never wins. Follow her tweets from the single side of the tunnel at @karatillie.