Should People Be Taught Facebook Break-Up Etiquette?

The Facebook Break-Up… Cold.

It’s an increasingly common break-up method. Not in-person, not by phone, not even by e-mail or text… by Facebook. Especially with the younger generation, it’s become more and more popular to treat people like something you’ve downloaded or ordered from Netflix. Friend and unfriend… is it a healthy way to end a relationship? Some are arguing not so much.

The NY Times reports:

Late last month, 200 teenagers from Boston-area schools gathered to discuss the minutia of Facebook breakup etiquette. Should you delete pictures of your ex after splitting up? Is it O.K. to unfriend your last girlfriend if you can’t stop looking at her profile? And is it ever ethically defensible to change your relationship status to single without first notifying the person whose heart you’re crushing?

These pressing adolescent questions were part of a one-day conference on “healthy breakups” sponsored by theBoston Public Health Commission. “No one talks to young people about this aspect of relationships,” Nicole Daley, one of the conference organizers, told me between breakout sessions as teenagers swarmed a nearby cotton-candy stand. “We’re here to change that.”

Minutes later, 15 high-school students on a sugar high convened for a session on “creating online boundaries.” The girls outnumbered the boys, and they didn’t hesitate to gang up on a charming — and, until then, immensely well liked — 17-year-old named Roberto, who proclaimed with a bit too much gusto that “racing to update your relationship status after a breakup” is a healthy behavior. That was just one of a handful of scenarios the teenagers debated and placed into “healthy” or “unhealthy” categories: others included “posting mean/embarrassing statuses about your ex” (unhealthy) and “rushing into a new ‘Facebook official’ relationship” (understandable, but still not healthy).

“Roberto, you’re really going to run all the way to your house after school to change your status?” a 16-year-old named Lazangie asked, shaking her head. She knows a thing or two about Facebook-related breakups: her last relationship ended, she said, because her ex-boyfriend couldn’t handle her male friends posting niceties on her wall.

What do you think… what does the Facebook breakup say about the way our society is headed?

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One thought on “Should People Be Taught Facebook Break-Up Etiquette?

  1. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    I personally find all of this Facebook nonsense…just that…..nonsense.

    What ever happened to good old common sense and common courtesy ?????? The moral of this story is compassion and courtesy and respect for others.


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