We here at FWD have long taken a stringent, unforgiving, take-no-prisoners stance on staying internet friends with your exes: Do not, we repeat, DO NOT do it. There just aren't any good reasons! I don't care!
Nevertheless, it would appear that there are people out there living in flagrant violation of this rule. We polled the BuzzFeed staff (heartbreakers all) to find out what they do with their social media accounts after a breakup. It turns out that nobody's been listening to our etiquette advice at all.
When asked what they do with their social media connections to their exes after a breakup, only 11% said they disconnect completely.
Surprisingly, 35% of people said they don't do anything — they stay Facebook friends, stay following their exes on Twitter and Instagram if they had been, etc. Most people (54%) said they stay friends with their exes, but hide them from their newsfeed, or unfollow them on Twitter, but still check in once in a while. This is one of those things that FEELS like a defiant step forward, but you know that it means nothing, right? You're still going to check five times a day. :(
By our categorization, that means the BuzzFeed staff breaks down like this:
35% are Apathetic Robots, who must not have hearts.
54% are Diplomatic Cowards, and are kidding themselves.
11% are Steadfast Tyrants, ice-cold but wise.
Most people surveyed (62%) do some profile management after a breakup.
This means they might take down the profile picture of them with their exes (one would hope that's the LEAST anyone would do) and any egregious wall posts. Thirty percent of people leave everything up (???), and only 8% opt to erase every sign that their former relationship even existed at all. ("Why aren't there any pictures of you between the ages of 22 and 25?" "I wasn't alive at those ages, I don't know what you're talking about.")
30% are Apathetic Robots, and will definitely get in a fight with future significant others about this.
62% are Diplomatic Cowards, and are probably actually right here.
8% are Steadfast Tyrants and historical revisionists.
We also asked respondents to EXPLAIN themselves — what's your social media philosophy after a breakup?
Here's what people had to say.
"I leave everything as is because it's silly to just pretend that a certain person was never a part of your life in a significant way at some point."
"I always stay friends with my exes and I've never had a particularly acrimonious breakup ever, so it's never even occurred to me to delete them on social media. My two 'big' exes are two of my best friends."
"Cut off in real life = cut off online."
"I'm trying to re-scale my relationship with the person without hitting the nuclear option: treating the person as an ex (it's not like the relationship didn't happen) as opposed to treating them like THE ENEMY."
"I don't want to be reminded of them. But I want them to see all the awesome shit I'm up to now that they are out of my life."
"Honesty, but only so much."
"Might want to stay friends later, but too painful to see updates all the time"
"I don't think I want to be seen as having any feelings about it, so I leave it as it is."
"I don't want to see my ex at all, and social media is like SHOVING it in my face. It's best to just have a clean break in all ways. I also make a point to NOT show my relationship status on things. I also hate Facebook."
"The point is to always look like you're better off (whether or not this is actually true) so edit social media presence accordingly."
"Once we're over, they're dead to me."
"I tend not to put too many pics/tweets/posts about my significant others, so it's not a big deal when a breakup happens."
What do you do with your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. after a breakup and WHY?
Tell us in the comments.
Senior Editor, Ghost Hunter, Ufologist
Contact Katie Heaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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