The do’s and don’ts of social media after a break up
In the past when a relationship ended it was generally accepted that when you left someone’s life you would have little or no contact – unless you had agreed to stay friends – there was a clean line under that part of your lives. Things are a lot more complicated today – the more ways we have to be involved in each others lives through social media, the more threads of connection there are to break at the end of a relationship. Some of them can even remain in place without the other person being aware of it.
The trouble is that social media can sometimes prolong the pain of a break up and make it more difficult to heal and move on. Here are some suggestions to bear in mind when you break up in the real world but remain attached in your virtual world:
– Do unfriend them on Facebook and stop following them on Twitter. Even though it may seem harsh to cut someone off so completely it is better in the long run because it will help you resist the temptation to cyber stalk them. If you are friends with a lot of people who are connected with them, then it may be worth unfriending them too if you know your contact with them will end because the relationship has ended.
– Do resist going through their photos and status updates trying to track their movements or find answers to unanswered questions.
– Do give yourself a complete break from using these sites if you find that the compulsion is too much, especially on Twitter where you can follow someone’s tweets and timeline without them even knowing you are there.
– Do treat people as you would like to be treated. Imagine how you would feel if someone was keeping tabs on you without your knowledge or telling all your Facebook friends how much you had hurt them. Even if it makes you feel better temporarily, in the long run you will feel much better about yourself knowing you have behaved with dignity.
– Don’t use your own statuses or tweets as a means of revenge, in an attempt to make someone jealous or as a tool to hurt someone’s feelings.
– Don’t make personal remarks about someone, especially ones that could be regarded as defamatory – people have gotten into trouble with the law by using social networking sites in this way. Remember, you can moan as much as you want to your friends but as soon as you start posting malicious comments there is written proof of what you have said and people have been known to take action.
– Don’t be tempted to use these sites when drunk as something you do or say could have long-term consequences.
– Don’t make your relationship break up into a public soap opera – retain your dignity and have those difficult conversations face to face and in private if possible.
– Don’t play games – one of the main reasons people continue with social network activity after a break up is because there is unfinished business – instead of it being a real break up it is part of the push and pull that makes up their relationship. This is a dangerous game to play. If you feel there are things that still need to be worked out between you – even if it is painful and difficult – arrange to meet face to face and talk it through.
If a lot of your relationship was conducted online and you are finding it difficult not to spy, stalk or rant – or that you have a lot of mutual friends and their status’ keep you in touch with what is going on with your ex, maybe it is time to take a break from those sites altogether while you get over the relationship. Tell the people who are your friends that you are going offline for a while – 21 days is long enough to break a bad habit – and use that time to pursue other interests, lick your wounds and reconnect with people who love and support you.
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