Should I Defriend My Ex on Facebook?

Categories: internets
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I have an ex I want to defriend on Facebook. We're not on bad terms, necessarily: he just lied and told me he was single before I slept with him, and a few weeks later he dumped me because he was actually seeing someone at the time. So as a result of that, we don't hang out anymore and I really don't intend to. Occasionally, he'll comment on something I post on FB, and he flirted with me on FB months ago, which my current boyfriend was not too thrilled about. I'd like to defriend him, but now that I've moved in with said new bf, I've seen him a few times on the J-Church on my commute to work. So far I've been able to avoid eye-contact, but it's only a matter of time before I end up trapped next to him. Advice?

~Let's Not Be Friends


Since Facebook has heaved some of our most private moments into the public domain, we can no longer simply sigh into our footie pajamas while nursing a mug of Jim Beam and pretend our exes don't exist. Now we have about 14 different mediums that we have to negotiate when getting on with our lives after breakups. Do I un-tag this great couple picture of us? Do I delete her sexts? Do I remove him from my Skype contacts? And so on. Some people believe that to defriend an ex on Facebook is the ultimate slight, that it's immature and just goes to show how small-minded you are and how much they RUINED YOUR LIFE that you can't even bear to see how much they liked Black Swan! I personally see that line of thought and raise you an exasperated whatever.

I see no reason why you shouldn't defriend away, LNBF. Here's why: The relationship was insubstantial and didn't last long. It seems like you don't have to wade in the mucky waters that are "mutual friends," and you've clearly moved on, as you are now co-habitating with someone else. Most importantly, you should defriend because you want to

If you do run into him IRL (←gross), the chances that he will have noticed your defriendship are slim, and even if he does notice and manages to bring it up during your bits of awkward small talk on the J train, you can easily sidestep that man-mine by saying your boyfriend was jealous, which was why you deleted him. Or hell, tell him the truth. He lied to you about being single, and a little Facebook comeuppance never hurt anyone. Except, actually, it did a few times. (Sorry!) But if your ex is a sociopath, then all the more reason to drop that shit like an outdated Sex and the City reference to the "modern woman."  

While we're on the topic though, let's talk some general rules for post-breakup Facebooking. 

It's perfectly fine (nay, encouraged) to hide your exes for a while if seeing their status updates sends you flying into a rage spiral or into the bottom of a newly-invented, whiskey-laden Ben and Jerry's flavor, Boston Cream Cry.

Go easy on the emo, passive-aggressive, and woe-is-me wall posts, links or videos shortly after a breakup. Facebook is not your therapist or your revenge receptacle. If you need to get that shit out of your system, then call an actual friend. Or your therapist. You remember the phone, right? 

Speaking of vengeance, as funny as it might seem to you in the moment, don't create a fake page of your ex and make "him/her" like things such as, "bedwetting" and "The Dave Matthews Band." Not only is this childish, but it's actually against Facebook's rules. And remember my Twitter lawsuit post from a few weeks ago? Yeah, people get sued on Facebook too.

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at AskAnnaSF@gmail.com.

----

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @SFWeekly  
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25 comments
Eric
Eric

My ex girlfriend told me to get over my mom's death. I distant myself and abandoned the relationship. I eventually defriended her because I have no respect for her. Who would say that? It has only been 2.5 yrs since mom died and I am in the healing phase.

Eric

Mastedon2
Mastedon2

oh yeah! defriend. especially if you are married and have had an emotional/physical affair with this person. your current husband of 10 years doesnt want to see his grimy slimeball face on your friendslist every day. thanks, mighty sweet of ya for thinkin for yourself.

Beadbible
Beadbible

I say DEFRIEND AWAY! This isn't high school anymore and it is okay not to like people who lie to you. Why leave yourself vulnerable?

Alex Stone
Alex Stone

I know I defriended my last ex. I erased her number. I pretty much tried to erase her altogether. It wasn't about being petty, it's about making the right choice for you. At the time I knew I would be unable to move forward unless I didn't have a constant reminder, and I think it helped a lot.

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

"I say, you don't have to be Facebook Friends with EVERYONE!!"

I DON'T?! Haha. Well, I don't--but you do, my friend. Facebook isn't just your personal online profile--it's part of your classroom. The more friends, the greater the reach, no?

Kim Ayres
Kim Ayres

If he lied to you to sleep with you, then dumped you, why on earth are you still friends with him?

Remove negative people from your life when you can, and certainly from your Facebook contacts

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

Disagreeing, Charlie. The guy's not worth the click to delete, I think. The minute he opens his mouth in your direction, the look of disgusted incredulity should linger on your face until he stops. If he continues to speak for a while and the point isn't "I'm scum," look away disinterested--because you should be. Whatever his intentions, he manipulated you so he could use your body for his pleasure. He isn't worth the second of your life you could be working toward something that will add to your happiness.

But that's just the way I think...

...Great post, Anna! #sofollowing

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

I say DEFRIEND the ex if it helps you get on with your life, heal, and find new love.

As for the people who "believe that to defriend an ex on Facebook is the ultimate slight, that it's immature and just goes to show how small-minded you are and how much they RUINED YOUR LIFE..."

Defriend those people, too.

=-)

Thank you for Tweeting this @ Me, Anna

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

OH! Now we're dealing with issues of Romance in The Workplace? Facebook is mashing everything together--business, pleasure, family, friends! It's like a giant never-ending Thanksgiving dinner nightmare! lol

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

Exactly!! And in response to Luz Costa--if someone is so scummy, why endure updates of his every slime trail. Defriend, and find a new way to work. Excise the scummy ex from your life, I say!

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

I think you have Facebook anger issues, Luz darling. =-)

Alex Stone
Alex Stone

I know I defriended my last ex. I erased her number. I pretty much tried to erase her altogether. It wasn't about being petty, it's about making the right choice for you. At the time I knew I would be unable to move forward unless I didn't have a constant reminder, and I think it helped a lot

Carol_m_king
Carol_m_king

The key words are "I want to defriend." It's your life, and your decision. Eliminate negative energy from your life: defriend and don't look back; he's not worth the glance.

Jennypetro
Jennypetro

I think we need to define "friend" here...just because one person knows of another, does not make them a true friend. If the person to be "defriended" was a courtesy add, or added because of an attempted romantic endeavor, there's absolutely no need to keep them there; in reality, there's no sustaining friendship behind the relationship. What's the purpose of them being there? I say weed out the people that contribute nothing.

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

Haha. Facebook: all the drama with none of the food.

Funny, but you make a good point: Facebook users experience the same issues troubling those involved in workplace romances--and family dinners. We want to keep our private lives separate from certain people at certain times, and relationships are in constant flux. Add to that, the gossip is being reported on a feed, and it starts to feel like every move must be strategic. THE FEED IS WATCHING.

But Facebook is not and has never been about our private lives. It's a tool--to be used strategically. I'm as sad as anyone that it's increasingly difficult to conduct one's private life on the internet, but companies ARE keeping up by supplying increasingly complex privacy settings and friend compartmentalization. Then again, how many people are willing or know how to customize that deeply, you think?

Butterfly
Butterfly

I have to agree with you Charles. If you can control what is around you, lose the negativity and the temptation to look. Let it go... all of it. ♥

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

Eh. I like to leave the window open for apology. LOL. If I leave them on my fb contacts, they know exactly how to find me.

As for updates, that's what FB friend groups, etc are for. Check it out: http://www.allfacebook.com/fac.... Plus, there's a little x on your Updates feed that lets you remove people permanently from you feed without deleting them from your contacts. It's a quick, mindless click that doesn't involve searching for them (and figuring out how to remove friends on the new fb layout?)

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

Charles, dear, my anger issues aren't restricted to Facebook. ;) LOL.

Seriously, though, we sometimes forget ourselves on the public stage. It shouldn't even be an issue when one wants to defriend someone; all parties, involved and otherwise, need to respect the decision. If they don't, then you know what kind of friend you have--and you know what friend group to now put them in. LOL.

I just personally wouldn't waste the time online or in real life because unless the ex is trying to contact you despite you wanting them to stop, then it's very easy to excise them from your life. Notably, my perception is one of someone who doesn't just use Facebook for their personal life. Exes are readers, too. ;)

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

But in the context of this article, the question concerns defriedning an ex. Do you think Facebook Friendship is possible between former lovers, Jennypetro?

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

Sounds like you hold out hope too long, Lucy Goosey. We are talking about "scum"--remember? :-)

Luz Costa
Luz Costa

Eh. I like to leave the window open for apology. LOL. Delete them from my feed if I don't want to hear about their lives at all.

Charles Bivona
Charles Bivona

People like Luz will say that defriending proves you aren't over it--because why should you care if he/she is on your immense Friends List... I say, you don't have to be Facebook Friends with EVERYONE!! lol

Jennypetro
Jennypetro

Well, that is my whole point.....I think the line between "friend" and "ex" has become blurred....is the ex REALLY a friend? More than likely, the answer is no. I think a Facebook friendship is possible, depending on the two parties involved, although I think it would be rare.

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