Breaking Up on Facebook: A User's Guide to the Most Efficient Way to Break a Heart

Breaking Up on Facebook: A User's Guide to the Most Efficient Way to Break a Heart

For the first time in human history, we can break hearts with the touch of a button, without even sharing air space. How to know if dumping your significant other with a status update is right for you.

As far as break-up methods go, Facebook is about as low and ruthless as it gets, rivaled only by Twitter, depending on how many of the 140 characters you use. Break-up kindness is directly related to the amount of effort the dumper makes to make the dumpee comfortable—since you're never going to give a shit about this person again, the amount of shit you give during the break-up speaks volumes. Too little and you're an insensitive jackass; too much and you're a manipulative drama queen.

Breaking Up on Facebook: A User's Guide to the Most Efficient Way to Break a Heart




Breaking up on Facebook requires but two clicks of the mouse on a pull-down menu.

Breaking Up on Facebook: A User's Guide to the Most Efficient Way to Break a Heart


Thus, Facebook break-ups risk grave levels of insensitive jackassery. But even within this world of emotional immaturity, there is a time and place for grim efficiency, and a right way to do it. Here are the five steps for a successful Facebook break-up:

  • 1. Know that you are about to burn some serious bridge. Though logistically simple, Facebook break-ups require the steely resolve and unflinching decisiveness of an advanced-level breaker-upper. If there is any chance that you will want to interact with this person again; that you will feel sorrow or wist; or that (worst of all) you will change your mind, then you must resist the siren call of the status change. Once you declare yourself "Single" on Facebook, you are—or will be soon.
  • 2. And I do mean 'Single,' not any of this 'It's Complicated' bullshit. If you aren't taking advantage of the impersonal efficiency of your Facebook break-up, then there's really no reason for you to use this medium. If you want complications, get drunk and ask your soon-to-be-ex if you remind him of his mother.
  • 3. Send a message before or shortly after the update. This will add precious seconds to your dumping process, but the reward-effort ratio is generous enough to be worth it. Since you're already signed in to Facebook, sending a message takes no more than six clicks of the mouse (or two clicks and four strokes of the 'tab' key), plus maybe 20 keystrokes for the message. Break-ups are among the few moments in life when thought really is what counts. (Unlike gift-giving and -receiving, where it is vastly overrated.) Thinking is effort, and effort equates to break-up kindness, remember? This break-up note required six mouse clicks, 21 keystrokes, and 5 space bars.

    Breaking Up on Facebook: A User's Guide to the Most Efficient Way to Break a Heart

    It isn't nice, but it softens the blow because it is directed specifically at the dumpee, whereas the status change is public. Thus, in mere seconds, you have increased your break-up's effort quotient manifold. And it's still less work than a tweet!
  • 4. Do not reply to wall inquiries about the break-up. Remember: Efficiency. Don't encourage drama.
  • 5. Consider altering your privacy settings. If you never want to see, communicate with, or contemplate your ex ever again, consider blocking him or her. Blocking someone who is apt to notice is like ripping off a band-aid—stings at first, but in the long-run helps you avoid infection. Facebook-stalking exes are bad for everyone involved: The lurker has an outlet for unhealthy obsessing and reopening wounds; the lurkee is, well, lurked. And that's creepy. So, depending on how involved a relationship it was, you may need a block. If you didn't know them at all, you can block with impunity in the name of a clean break. If you were intense, obsessive, or wildly passionate with one another, you may need the block, to keep the break clean.

I have heard tell from elders that, once upon a time, important conversations took place in person. Once upon another time, phone calls were believed to be more pleasant than email or text. Now nobody bothers answering their phones, and listening to voice messages is slow torture. Point being: Sometimes, you just need to get shit done. And that's the point of technology, right? You may be an insensitive jackass, but you will also be free.