Sex + Dating

The Art of Handling the Post-Breakup Facebook Nightmare

Finger changing relationship status to single on Facebook mobile on iPhone
Jennifer Bui/Thrillist

We all know what happens to your Facebook after you die, but what about when something even more unthinkable and horrifying happens and you get dumped?

Naturally, it all depends on the situation. But if your heart was ripped out of your chest by way of one of your various orifices, thrown onto the ground, lit on fire, and then eaten -- still aflame -- by bears, you understandably likely have no idea what your next move should be on social media. Before you let your fragile state drive you to do something that'll make it even worse, follow these steps so you can get back on your feet.

1. Deactivate your account

Not forever, of course, because -- as we all know -- it’s physically impossible to keep yourself separated from Uncle Chet's smoking-hot Trump takes indefinitely. However, having a good 24-hour time period to reflect on your life, without looking at your ex’s pics or printing off pictures of her new boyfriend to throw darts at, can be relaxing. Try going outside or reading a book on what it's like to go outside. 

2. Unfollow

Don’t block your ex! That’s a middle-school thing and you're a grown-ass adult. Hopefully. If you're in middle school, still better to handle it like an adult. By simply unfollowing (rather than unfriending) her, you will effectively block all statuses without giving them the satisfaction of having driven you to such bush-league tactics. Plus, Facebook is testing out features that will help exes see each other less -- which is a good thing. 

3. Delete SOME of your pictures together

Consider this: let's say you meet someone cute at a coffee shop. Or specialty muffin shop. Or a specialty cupcake shop's going-out-of-business spectacular. If this potential love interest goes to your profile and sees 1,001 pics of you and your ex at the beach from three weeks ago, it's not doing you any favors. Just go back and delete pictures from one to three months ago, it's just enough time to give you an ample buffer zone between your newest picture and your oldest. Plus, this is 2016 and we all know that nothing that gets deleted disappears. If you're feeling really anxious about potentially losing memories, just download the album before you take it out to pasture.

Before/after picture of man taking profile picture

4. Add new pictures

Making a point to add new pictures will inevitably lead to adding new life experiences, which is really the whole point of it all. Getting up and getting out of the house (while documenting the experience) will get you out of your rut and show the world you’re a fun, single guy (or gal!) with cool friends (yep!) and probably a mammoth penis (or not!) There are plenty of ways to make yourself look like you didn't just spend your weekend eating milk-less Cheerios in your underwear. 

5. Don't overdo the self-righteous, depressing statuses

This isn’t 2003 and you’re not on AIM anymore. At one point, Facebook was to vent about your emotions and post Bright Eyes lyrics. However, now your parents and married friends are online and will definitely think you’re deeply disturbed if you write shit like “I have all but died from the sheer weight of my shame, you cried but no one came.” On second thought, don’t post any statuses on Facebook at all -- that's what Twitter is for.

6. Upload a new profile picture

You can find dates on any platform if you try hard enough, so who’s to say you need to stick to Tinder to get lucky? There are plenty of ways to improve your photo game -- in fact, you can even get someone to take the picture for you. Just make sure you look happy, healthy, and are holding $1,000 in cash. People love cash!

7. Be careful what you share

Facebook’s slowly transformed over the years as a platform in which you now share interesting and newsworthy stories rather than song lyrics and pictures of you holding red Solo cups. That being said, you need to up your game by seriously filtering out what you share. Stray away from listicles comprised of puppy GIFs and sleepy sloths and try for the more intellectual -- albeit pretentious -- publications that everybody pretends to read: The New Yorker, Paris Review, and, of course, McSweeney's. Yes, I absolutely just linked my own article. This is to remind you to not back away from tastefully promoting yourself a bit. And to (hopefully!) entertain you.

8. Instant happiness

OK fine -- things might still suck for a while. But you're strong, dammit! Eventually you're gonna find someone new and find yourself less and less compelled to spend time on Facebook (you know, because of all the sex and what not). In the meantime, stick with it and make sure your Facebook habit's doing you more good than harm.

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist by day, but moonlights as a sack of potatoes by night.