With a few key strokes and a click of the mouse, the whole world knows what kind of mood you’re in.
Parties, events and even play-by-play pictures of your scantily clad night out on the town can be posted.
More and more it seems the manner in which people present themselves on Facebook is a mirror to how they see themselves, or want to see themselves, in real life, even after logging off. Facebook is a force to be reckoned with.
If the above statement is true; it becomes easier to understand why people, without thinking twice, reveal tons of information weekly, daily and sometimes hourly to the social media phenomenon and the “friends” on their constantly growing list.
But one little piece of the Facebook world, which is rarely discussed, until after it is updated, is the daunting Relationship Status.
Currently there are six Facebook relationship categories users can choose from: single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it’s complicated, and in an open relationship. You have the ability to opt out of any of the categories but Facebook estimates about 60% of its users own up to being a part of the “single” or “married” crowd.
Tiffany Hanze of Phoenix, Ariz. thinks more people should have reservations about disclosing their relationship status on the ever popular social networking site. Just recently she decided to settle down with the guy she was in a two year on-again-off-again relationship with. A few days ago, she decided to log on and change her status to “in a relationship.” She says she was hesitant about making the switch because she doesn’t “crave attention” and usually doesn’t use the site to promote her personal life. Within 30 seconds, her nightmare became reality.
“I thought to myself ‘What did I just do?’ There were dozens of people who instantly commented on my update,” she says. “They wrote things like; Congratulations! Who is he? When did it happen? My face turned bright red and I felt so exposed.”
In such a viral world, is it possible that your relationship isn’t really official until its Facebook official?
Author and Life Coach Dan Lier says overall Facebook is a helpful communication tool, but it can easily complicate people’s relationship and the psychology of what it [the relationship] really means, especially for men. He says when a guy decides to “go public” on Facebook, he’s taken himself off the market. He says Facebook is a playground for the single man who is hunting, who enjoys multiple casual and sexual relationships with multiple women.
“When a man is single, all of his female friends know he is single by his status,” he explains. “So, if he sends them a spicy or complimentary e-mail, he knows that the woman knows he is single. The last thing he wants to do is send a message to all of is lady friends that he is now exclusive and out of the game.”
Lier believes a man will only change his status on Facebook when he is actually in love, or thinks he’s in love with the woman of his dreams.
But not everyone thinks relationships have to be validated on their social network. Some couples are together for years and neglect to update their status. “I got into a debate with some jerk just last week who said my relationship isn’t legitimate because I don’t have it posted,” Drew Jackson said. “I’m completely content with myself, my girlfriend and our commitment to each other. That conversation made me even more determined not to make the switch.”
Relationship Coach Joann Cohen says couples need to be wary of blasting their love life online, especially if both parties aren’t willing. “You might be dating someone who doesn’t want all that attention,” she says. “Then if you break-up you have to decide when to make the switch back to single, which again will lead to dozens of comments and questions.” Cohen recommends waiting at least 24 hours after the split before claiming your singlehood.
Online, your relationship status doesn’t have to be another source of confusion or hopelessness; it’s pretty much a guarantee that disagreements between the two of you will create the same emotions, just be prepared for the ramifications that may or may not come if you decide to declare where you stand. And remember, regardless if you are married, engaged, in a relationship or single; it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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