Can Facebook break your heart?

Nothing says you’re dumped more clearly than a Facebook message that has been ‘seen’ 6 hours ago, but never replied to. Nothing says you’re dumped more clearly than the guy who was supposed to be taking you out, pictured and tagged in the pub with another woman. You know you’ve been dumped when THE guy, who once showered you with beautiful, poetic messages, ‘liked’ all your profile pictures, responded to your status updates, just disappears and stops showering you with any cyber attention. Unrequited love is painful enough, but Facebook can make it a hundred times worse.

Years ago if you were dumped and heard the lines ‘It’s not you, it’s me’,  you wouldn’t have to see them again, or until you felt ready to face them. You could sit alone at home getting depressed, fat and hairy, until you licked your wounds and felt safe enough to enter the dating scene again. Now everybody is ‘friends’ with everybody on Facebook, and any chance of forgetting the heart-breaker is difficult. Of course you could always block him, but how would you stalk him? In fact, nothing says you’re dumped more clearly than you being blocked, because you keep accidentally turning up at every event they are ‘attending’.

It’s no surprise then that a recent survey conducted by the University of Michigan found that Facebook can in fact make you depressed, and the more you use it, the more depressed you can get. But it’s not only sexual relationships that can suffer at the hands of social networking sites. How may friendships have been destroyed because somebody forgot to invite an old mate out to a reunion? How many times has somebody complained because you have forgotten to wish them Happy Birthday, or forgotten to ‘like’ the 15th picture of Zac sat on his potty? Children are a gift, but I don’t want to see 500 pictures of somebody else’s child learning how to roll over, stand up, walk or brush their teeth.

I sometimes feel quite bullied by people on Facebook. The amount of requests I’ve had  to share new business ventures, which I know have no way of succeeding, and would get laughed out of Dragon’s Den, is quite shocking. But I do it – I do it because I don’t want to upset my ‘friends’.

Social media is a wonderful way to connect and reconnect with the people you don’t get to see very often. It’s also a great way to be really nosey, and to find out all the gossip. But I suggest if you want to avoid being gossiped about, having your heartbroken or falling out with ‘friends’ you have never even met, turn off your phone or computer and face the real world. That’s what I’m going to do, just when I’ve finished liking that picture of Zac and wishing my old French Teacher’s nan a Happy Birthday.

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