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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Should I Defriend My Ex on Facebook?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 8:19 AM


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


Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @SFWeekly  

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