REALITY CHECK: Breaking up is hard to do; on Facebook, so is reconciling

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

Sweet Annie and I had a quarrel a couple weeks ago. As quarrels go, it was a biggie and it has taken us this long to really make up properly.

What the quarrel was about (me being a jerk) isn’t important. Who’s fault it was (mine) also is not important.  What’s important is that one of us (me), in the heat of the moment, changed his “relationship status” on Facebook.

This is the 21st century equivalent of filing for divorce or hiring a hit man to “disappear” your sweetheart.

It is, according to my daughter, the kind of thing a pouty teenage girl does when the captain of the football team stands her up on Friday night. It is not an act performed by a mature adult whenever he has a spat.

I’m not up on Facebook etiquette, but I suppose I should have known at least this much, based on advice my mother gave me years ago regarding the airing of dirty laundry. But once I pushed that button it was too late; my status was changed.

I didn’t think anyone would notice, or care, but in short order, several Facebook friends chimed in to offer sympathy in my time of distress. There’s nothing like a pity party with lots of guests and I was happy to play host to mine.

There are few things I enjoy more than feeling sorry for myself and Facebook provides the perfect conduit for convincing others to also feel sorry for you. For big babies (me, again) it’s hard to beat.

But there’s a downside: When you eventually reconcile with your beloved, there’s that long, virtual walk of shame back to the “relationship” check box on your FB profile. Since Annie has opted to give me one final, for-the-love-of-God-don’t-mess-it-up-again-you-idiot chance, I will now have to change my status back again.

This only serves to cast an even brighter light on my previous, ill-advised decision to alter it in the first place. In short, it’ll make me look like a pouty teenage girl who was stood up Friday night by the captain of the football team.

Now, regular readers of this column (Hi, Henry and Jean!) no doubt wonder why it would bother me to look foolish this time, when it never has before. I mean, I’ve written about lots of stupid, potentially embarrassing things I’ve done over the years; why should this be different?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because most people who know both Annie and me — even my so-called “best friends” — tend to like her better. My own kids usually come down on her side on the rare occasions we quarrel.

I suppose I can’t blame them; Annie is far more likable than me. It’s one of the reasons I love her. And unlike me, she’s too classy to make a big deal out of changing her Facebook status. When she holds a pity party, there are no invitations sent out; no one is in attendance but the guest of honor.

A smart man could probably learn something from this. I should try to find one and get his advice. Maybe on Facebook.

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