Proper Facebook Etiquette

#704 ‘At best, a latent form of insecurity. At worse, obedience and/or control’

Friday 12th December, 2008

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I broke up with my lover on Facebook and now feel as though I’ve done wrong. This was all because my friends didn’t approve of him and let rip on my Wall. I can’t help wondering what should I have done?

One dilemma stands out here – you feel as though you ‘may’ have acted in the wrong and yet this was instigated because you were seeking approval from your friends. Where to start? If your question is, in terms of etiquette, about whether your actions can be considered as either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ that is for you to decide. In my mind breaking up with someone is never easy and deserves a face-to-face explanation if the other party has not been a f*ckwit, cheater or liar. Then a quick ‘dump’ via Facebook is fine, as is writing on their Wall and messaging all their friends about what an idiot they are. In the heat of the moment all this can be forgiven. Look at Paris Hilton, she – like we – lives such a busy life ‘right now’ that her latest break-up was mediated via Fax. One wonders where she finds the time to be in one place long enough to send/receive such messages – perhaps Tinkerbell pampered pooch retrieves such love notes for her. And writes them too no doubt.

Away from Ms Hilton, your dilemma comes across as approval seeking. You let the judgement of your friends decide for you whether you should be in a relationship with someone. Not entirely earth-shattering in terms of character rating, but where you are wondering ‘what you should have done’, perhaps you should consider what YOU would have done without the influences of your friends. A close friend of mine is never happy with her lot and is on the never-ending quest for perfection in her personal and work life. This means everything has to be ‘up to standard’ where she creates a world for herself where it is impossible to succeed or be happy with her high ideals. Such ideals whilst lying at her own door she allows to be influenced from others. Shopping with her the other week shoes were returned as someone commented they were ‘cute’ rather than the ‘glamorous’ that she had intended.

Perhaps this comes from a lack of self-esteem. Ironically through your actions you’ve probably (unintentionally) thrust such insecurities upon your now ‘dumped’ lover as they question why you saw fit to break up with them in the first instance, and in the second, why this was mediated via Facebook. Perhaps they’ll contact me with such observations of their own…

Making a ‘snap decision’ because ‘friends’ have been allowed to influence your own feelings is never the best plan. I myself have dated some less than desirables (in my friends mind) but they held appeal and attraction for me and that is what is important. And no, for the record, I did not break up with them via Facebook.

At best this is a latent form of insecurity. At worse, obedience and/or control. Keep things simple have those in your life who make you happy and respect your decisions (even those for the worse) and most importantly – especially on Facebook – do as you would be done by. Breaking up via Facebook as harsh? Yes. So please refrain from such behaviour in the future. It doesn’t suit you. Constantly relying on other people’s opinions is a problem. You ask ‘what should I have done’, quite simply you should be true to yourself and then you will have no regrets.

BEFORE any action – on Facebook or otherwise – ask yourself why you are doing/thinking about it. If it is a case of approval seeking/rating it might be worth taking a long hard look at yourself and judging (not too harshly) the influence that those around you have – both good and bad. For now banish the self-blame, we are all ‘only’ human and making mistakes is all part and of the rich and weird dance of life. In the case of my friend her approval addiction is simply a lazy habit, borne over from attention desired from her older siblings when she was younger. She is yet to realise she is her own woman who is more than capable of making her own decisions – for better or worse – even if it is just a pair of cute shoes. In short the only thing that matters if your judgement. All too easily – and Facebook makes this plainly visible – we can be drawn into others opinions and their choice. Make YOUR decision and stick to it.

Dumping over Faacebook was I susptect a decision for the worse and an action that is without any sense of propriety. Take heed, you like your lover?, you stick, don’t twist.

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