Practical Social Media Steps After a Break Up

You’ve just gotten divorced, or had a rough breakup/ relationship loss. A big challenge we all now face is how interwoven social media has become in the fabric of our everyday being. Not only for our personal lives, but for many of us, also our professional lives. Once you’re in ‘it’- you can’t just easily turn it off and stay connected to other important people or organizations in your life- many of whom you need even more at these times.

I was personally not ready for, nor had expected the depth at which social media can and does shock, and/or even hurt people. The first time I encountered this was several years ago, but since then, the technology and use of social media has become even more entwined as companies buy/merge, and easily get into your Contacts on your phone. Enter current state, where I discovered how shocking and pervasive this impact can be.

When I first encountered this kind of shock several years back, I called a good friend of mine at Facebook to see what and how to stop seeing certain information from an individual’s posts since I didn’t want to Unfriend the person. He quickly walked me through the Unfollow steps. After some time, and because I had a great foundational relationship with the person I unfollowed, I was eventually able to start following their posts again, and now have great interactions! So it’s totally possible and easy to change the setting back when or if you feel ready to see anything they may post.

About six months ago I was so supprised and hurt by a particular post, that with hands shaking and tears running down my face, I escalated to “How do I delete my account!”. Unfortunately, if you use Facebook for 2-factor authentication for other application access, this is not an option. Deleting your account would prevent this capability. If I didn’t want to Unfriend, then I needed to Unfollow coupled with the strength not to check their timeline. For this occurrence I chose to Unfollow, backed off using the app at all for several weeks, and moved it several screens back on my phone. When I told others the reason was “because I found the app hurtful lately”, many stated they had done the same thing for the same reason! You are not alone.

What people also often fail to realize, is that if there is a relationship change or addition to their account, this new person continually pops up via multiple apps as a suggestion for you over and over, and in places you’d never think of it showing up, therefore continuing the shockwave. Your only solid option here is block this new person every time they pop up somewhere- which will stop the auto-suggestions.

If you fall on this side of the fence, and if you care to keep a friendship in the future with people, be respectful and give anyone you feel may be impacted by a major change and/or a change with pervasive implications, a heads up the change is coming, and though it may hurt them during this initial conversation, it’s been communicated in person, and in a caring way. I’ve also encountered this scenario in the past, and have a new mad respect for this friend! Sure it hurt, and it was a tough call for him to make and actually say “I’m calling anyone I don’t want to be surprised”, but he did it no matter how hard it was! Then I had a choice, and actually did avert major impact/shock in this specific case.

Some are quick to say “Oh, just forget them, ignore the follow suggestions etc.”. The point is images or information that may cause an anxiety attack or shock to someone’s day is real with tangible impact. Don’t dismiss it if someone tells you a similar story. Settings are just that- Settings. You can change them- but on YOUR timetable. By adjusting the how, when, and what you see or read, the impact can definitely be minimalized.

I kept this post and steps very simple, because at the end of the day- you just need some quick steps to get started and hopefully mitigate current pain, and potential future/additional hurt from connected applications quickly! I only included examples from my own experiences, but I’m sure there’s more depending on what apps are used, so view this as a guideline.

My hope is that this post helps even one person out there, and we can all continue to learn and apply respect and kindness as we become even more dependent and ingrained in social media apps realizing they are now within the fabric of our lives.

Thank you to @jackdanger for the title and moral support to get this written!

Quick-hit Tool Box:

Facebook Unfollow:

-You are still friends with the person you unfollowed
-Does not disable your account
-You will not see the person’s posts in your stream
-You decide if you want to go to their page
-You have to have some willpower
-You will still have their new Relationship connection suggested to you in FB, Words With Friends, GoodReads, Instagram, etc. unless you go in and specifically block this person.
*The key here is you need to Block anyone to prevent the apps from suggesting you follow them.

Facebook Unfriend:

-Disconnects you from this person and you would have to become ‘Friends’ again in order to see each other’s posts info depending on your Privacy Settings
-Bigger step than Unfollow and requires mutual consent/ approval if you want to become Friends again
-You MAY still have their new Relationship connection suggested to you in FB, Words With Friends, GoodReads, Instagram unless you go in and specifically block this person.
*The key here is you need to Block anyone to prevent the apps from suggesting you follow them.

Facebook Delete Account:

-You will no longer be able to post, see posts, etc., but they save your information in case you want to come back. Deleting your account is the most permanent option if you want to get off all together.

These steps can apply to the person you’ve lost or is gone, and to their current interest. You know the level of impact and how it effects you- we’re all different. You can usually find instructions on how to complete these steps on Google or if an app has a good Help area.
I personally find it faster to find instructions on Google because it will link right to the app Help location or a post with others giving instructions.

**These steps do not apply nor should be considered a substitute for actions which may need to be taken due to a stalker-type of scenario. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are now providing guidance and reporting, and should be contacted directly.