Former lovers Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards in 2011
Recently, a major luxury brand deleted every single picture from its Instagram account following the announcement of the departure of its creative director. Well, almost every picture, save for a photo of its newly appointed head honcho.
Naturally, this has triggered controversy over the “hidden message” or intentions behind the ballsy move. Many have compared the wipeout to a bad teenage breakup, which led me to wonder – is there a proper way to handle a breakup on social media?
After some research (e.g. pestering my friends), I have concluded that there are certain guidelines for decent, post-breakup behaviour on social media.
Try not to do a complete wipeout
Regardless of the nature of the breakup, erasing someone from your social media history is considered by most to be pretty extreme. “No matter how bad the breakup was, if you chose to spend a part of your life with this person, then you should own it,” says one friend.
Others believe in the “out of sight, out of mind” rule – if wiping out all traces of your ex helps, by all means go ahead and do it. Profile pictures are definitely fair game, though. “I delete all profile pictures with my ex in them – mainly because these are the pictures that are used on Tinder,” shares a friend who’s on the rebound.
However, it is advisable not to delete everything on impulse. Your ex may be the last person you want to see right after a breakup, but who knows – you may want to reconnect or stay friends someday, and it wouldn’t help if you burned all your bridges now.
Assess the collateral damage
Even after you unfriend or block your ex on social media, there’s still a chance that you’ll see traces of your ex from their friends or family's updates on your news feed. Those who are looking for a clean break might be tempted to delete individuals connected to the relationship in a swoop, but I’d urge you to reconsider. Assess their relationship with you, and not via your ex. Were they your friends prior to the relationship? Did you develop a friendship with them that is independent of your relationship? Look for reasons to keep them around in your life.
Keep your dirty laundry to yourself
Don’t make a messy breakup worse by oversharing on Facebook. The heat-in-the-moment curses, insults and verbal breakdowns may feel therapeutic at first, but it may also make your friends want to unfollow you (I’m speaking from experience here). Whatever response you’re hoping to elicit from posting an angry and mean rant is not going to help you get over the relationship, but finding someone to talk to, be it face-to-face or via direct messaging, will.
Always keep in mind the Golden Rule – you wouldn’t want your ex to share dirt about you, so don’t do it to them either.
Don’t flaunt your new relationship
If you start dating someone else right away, try to keep away from posting about it online – at least for a while. This helps you avoid unnecessary drama (unless this is what you’re going for), which may result in unwelcomed complications for your budding romance.
Breakups suck, but we all move on eventually. Make the process an easier one for yourself by following the abovementioned tips for a tasteful way to bid goodbye to your past on social media!
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