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Breaking up in the age of social media, in 23 easy steps

Purging someone from your news feed doesn’t get them out of your head

By Garrett Schlichte

As if breakups weren’t hard enough! Social media makes them even more complicated. What 20-something hasn’t been kept up late at night by the thought of accidentally viewing an ex’s Snapchat story? Based on my own mistakes, here are 23 steps to gracefully extricate yourself from a relationship that’s no longer IRL.

1. Unfollow your ex on all social media. This includes but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope, Vine, “Trivia Crack” and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.”

2. Realize that purging someone from your news feed doesn’t get them out of your head. Spend a Wednesday night with a bottle of wine. Wine will always be there for you.

3. Wake up the next morning after polishing off two bottles of wine, and see how many of your online purchases have refund policies

4. That afternoon at your desk, hate-like a few pictures of your ex, which their best friend posted over the weekend.

5. Post a selfie taken with the “pretty filter” on Snapchat and the caption: “overworked, over-caffeinated, over it” from a hallway with the best lighting and a neutral background.

6. Ignore a call from a client and spend the next 7 to 12 minutes contemplating whether you should delete the picture.

7. Text your group chat for a second opinion.

8. Realize your photo is passing your 1-like-per-3-minute ratio. Decide to leave it up.

9. Three days and 174 likes later, start unfriending all your ex’s friends.

10. Later that evening, start your Bikram yoga class by setting your intention to dispel any negative feelings toward your ex and their friends.

11. While lying in savasana after 90 minutes of attempting to align your chakras, you decide to suspend all your social media accounts.

12. Spend 20 minutes pondering: Announce that you’re suspending your accounts, or just go cold turkey?

13. Go cold turkey.

14. Explain to your aunt that you didn’t delete her on Facebook; you just suspended your account. That’s why you haven’t liked her #first7jobs post.

15. In the 22 minutes between getting into bed and falling asleep, decide it’s time to start online dating again, if only to kill those 22 minutes.

16. Fall asleep three hours later, after meticulously crafting new Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid profiles, making sure they’re different enough that anyone who sees you on multiple sites knows you’re not the type of person who would copy and paste dating profiles.

17. The next day, smugly tell your co-workers how refreshing it is to spend less time on your phone now that you’re off social media.

18. Have a mild panic attack while Venmo-ing your co-worker for your sushi burrito and you see your ex sent someone $17.00 for a “very worthwhile Uber ride home.”

19. Delete Venmo and vow to start carrying cash.

20. Cancel your afternoon meetings and furiously swipe for a date for the evening.

21. Decide a same-day match plus date is a little aggressive. Keep swiping anyway.

22. Yelp a new gym so you can get one fitness class in before happy hour.

23. Reactivate all social media accounts. There’s no way to approve a new gym, much less a first date, without knowing their like-to-post ratio across at least three platforms.


This story originally appeared on the Washington Post’s Solo-ish blog.

Garrett Schlichte works in higher education and blogs at CultureStocked and Medium.

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