Let’s say, theoretically, ladies, that you’ve got a main squeeze that hasn’t been announced to the whole universe. And, let’s say, theoretically, ladies, friends on your social networks are a tad bit curious to learn more information about said squeeze. Those friends may feel inclined to, how do we say, friend your lover on Facebook.
Prevent them from doing so!
Ladies, if your luvah was not previously known amongst friends and is brand-new in your social circle, then you’re the Relationship Account Manager, serving as the single point of entry to all social responsibilities. If your friends bypass this woman-in-the-middle-as-social-traffic-cop arrangement, you’ve lost the ability to (a) paint a rosy picture before they meet him/her in real life, (b) make a clean break if you need to call it quits and (c) mediate two distinct friend pools Oh, and (d) keep the whole thing a secret.
Unfortunately, if you use the “In A Relationship With” field on Facebook, or what I like to call The Most Socially Damning Feature Ever Designed1, the jig is up and you are screwed. The best you can do at this point is read and understand Daisy (D) and Natalie (N) as we review our Top 5 Reasons Why Your Friends Should Not “Friend” Your Lover On Facebook.
5. If you break up, your friends could jump (friend)ship.
N: That creepazoid you just broke up with is still telling bad jokes that (WHY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH?) people are “Liking.” Did Zuck intend this feature to serve as the knife that slices the skin of your lower back as if it were delicate baked chicken? ...DID HE NOT? Breaking up is hard enough; the last thing I’d ever want to see is a shrinking loyalty pool as a result of it no matter whose fault it was.
D: On the flipside, that loser you just broke up with continues to “like” your friends’ bad jokes. (Not that any of my friends ever tell bad jokes, she says even though we all know it’s not true.) This type of post break-up ass kissing is not okay and everyone just needs to stop it right now. I mean, is he doing it because he actually thinks their jokes are funny or to drive me bananas? I THINK IT’S THE LATTER BECAUSE I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S ALL ABOUT ME.
4. It’s Judgment Day Week Month Year for that heinous jealous person who has always had a crush on you.
N: Maybe your new girlfriend is a veterinarian helping to rescue abused kittens and puppies. Maybe your new boyfriend drives an ice cream truck. Maybe she has a face tattoo. Maybe he doesn’t know how to privatize the “Info” fields. Facebook is for judging people, and if you leave that wide open, Jealous/Bitter Person of your Past friended you on Facebook for the singular reason of comparing themselves to your new love. Unfriend them if you want, but it’s a sticky situation that you should get your ass ready for.
3. If you break up and your friends don’t unfriend him, it’s a new level of awkward.
D: Your friends must de-friend your psycho ex, though this is hard to enforce since there are many of them whom you do not sexually control (anymore). You shouldn’t have to ask them not to tell you about your ex’s gross obsession with posting super PDA pics with his new girlfriend. BUT YOU WILL. If you’re the friend with this info, do us all a favor and keep that shit to yourself until we’re at least two bottles of wine deep.
N: I just don’t want to know. DO NOT. WANT. TO KNOW. Wish there was a way that I could nuke the FB friendship between them. (Hear that, startups? Free app idea. Yes, you are welcome. Just try not to get it banned, a la the Whopper Sacrifice.)
2. You’re not REALLY friends with the lover. So why be friends on FB?
D: Which I guess brings up the why do we friend people on FB question. Should we be discerning or is everyone just friends with everyone these days?
N: Honestly, if I’m dating someone, I don’t absolutely need to see their Facebook profile. I don’t want to subconsciously play the obsessive girlfriend and scrutinize their history and their profile picture and their tagged college photos. I already have my own FB profile to feel embarrassed about; why do I have to worry about theirs, too?! I like to think I have a good sense of who they are in real life and I’d be OK if they weren’t in my social networks. Additionally, I trust Google to dig up better dirt on them on the Innernette than the flimsy curation their FB profile shows.
D: I’m totally the same way. I haven’t even looked at my boyfriend’s Facebook pics for fear I see something I don’t actually want to see. Snooping (you may not call it that because it’s Facebook, but that’s totally what it is) never leads to anything good.
1. Your friends are your friends, not acquaintances.
N: If you’re the type of FB user that makes friend requests after meeting them once, Father 2Pac says it best: I ain’t mad at ya! But if your FB friends are mostly acquaintances and your bond with them is diluted, then they might reach out to That Guy You’re Seeing even though they’ve never seen him. Friendship is just a digital label at that point, and while you might think they’re being nosy, you might have brought it on yourself. (I’m impeccable at developing a slow-building guilt trip, aren’t I?)
I consider the friendship request on Facebook analogous to asking for one’s email address, or, if you’re serious, phone number. We send messages, we poke, and we post pictures on Facebook, a lot of times in a flirtatious or otherwise private way. It’s not a wide open circle: it is a privileged space. And this isn’t Linked In -- I am not socially associated with my boyfriend on a technicality, and your friendship with him cannot be measured in degrees.
BONUS: Events on Facebook.
D: While we’re on the subject, maybe DON’T INVITE MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER to your party (if you’re my friend). If I want his ass there, then I will invite him.
BONUS BONUS: Family members on Facebook.
D: That sounds so horrible I can’t even think about it.
N: Only some of my family is on Facebook, and we occupy alternating poles on several controversial spectrums. Can you imagine the shitstorm that could occur if your boyfriend posted something (anything, actually) on Facebook and you agreed and your Aunt DeeDee flipped out and told the rest of your family? THE HORRORS.
Ladies, you own an invisible friendship bond, and your lover owns one, too. Between the two of you, you’ll make a beautiful molecule of social networks that will collide organically once your real-life friend circles have mixed. Real friends know what real friendship is; using you as the mid-way to online friendship with your plus-one is not it.
Thank you and please do not friend my boyfriend. I'll let Salt 'n Pepa tell you why.