I have been using Facebook for a couple of years, since my teens signed onto it. It started out that I was just trying to keep an eye on their online activities; I banned them from MySpace because of safety concerns, but Facebook had a few more safety features that a mom could love.
But of course, once I started using it, I ended up with lots of other people on my friends’ list. People that I work with, people that I socialize with, people in my spiritual community, some members of my extended family, the usual suspects. These are all people I know in real life.
An interesting thing that I’ve noticed lately is that my circle of friends intersect. My daughter’s best friend is in the same dance group as a friend of mine, and both are on my friends’ list, and several of my friends are in my spiritual community and also work at companies I interact with. It’s a bit of a small world when it comes to these intersecting circles of friends.
And recently, friends of mine who were a couple are no longer a couple, and one half of the duo is now dating someone else that is within my friends’ circle. So now, a particular post of mine may get responded to by the male half of the ex-couple, the female half of the ex-couple, and the new half of the newly-formed couple. All of these intersections create some incredibly surprising tension. And of course, I’m friends with all of them.
Once you break up with someone, and you delete them from your friends’ list, that is no guarantee that you won’t still hear about them, or hear from them indirectly, through your other friends. As our circles cross and intersect, more and more of these connections get made, whether we like it or not. Privacy settings can help, and you can “hide” posts from certain people, but that doesn’t mean that other person isn’t hearing about you the same way you were/are hearing about them. And this doesn’t necessarily apply to just romantic relationships; it can apply to friendships as well. I myself have been removed from someone’s friends’ list after a falling out, yet I hear all about this person, and see her responses to mutual friends’ posts regularly.
This has created a new world for many of us. BF (Before Facebook) it was easy enough to not have direct or indirect contact with an ex; now, it isn’t even a possibility to lock that person out of your life completely. Breaking up is not only hard, but probably impossible to do completely. And short of deleting your profile and coming up with an alter-ego, there is really no easy answer.
Saying goodbye on Facebook really isn’t goodbye; it’s more like “see you later.”