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Important Changes To Facebook’s Relationship Status Reporting

August 7, 2010

In my continuing effort to get the rest of the world to conform to my obviously superior understanding of things, I have taken the liberty of doing a quick redesign to Facebook’s Relationship Status thingy.

PHASE ONE: Fix What’s Already There

1. You Can Be In A Relationship With Yourself. I mean really, you wake up with yourself every day, you have to brush your own teeth, deal with your own drama and even wipe your own butt – and that’s not a relationship? Please! That’s like saying stay-at-home-moms don’t work. And really, in a karma-galactic-manifesty sort of way, you really need to master this relationship first. Just because I don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend or “complicated” relationship doesn’t mean I’m not deeply engaged with a compelling person who makes me crazy. Please let us be in relationships with ourselves. We need you to validate us, even if no one else will.

2. You Might Think Its Complicated! Jeesh, judge much? Just because you don’t understand how 4 people can live together – three of whom are fucking each other, two of whom have a kid together, all four of whom used to be married to each other in one way or another and may share a second cousin – and make it work, doesn’t mean it’s complicated. To them, it may be a piece of cake, and you’re the one who’s confused. So admit it. It’s not complicated to the people who are having the relationship, and it’s not their fault that you feel the need to figure it out. Please change this language to: “You Might Think It’s Complicated,” or “It’s Not Complicated To Us,” or something like that.

3. An Open Relationship Of Two. Now, this should be obvious, but you can’t REALLY be in an open relationship with just one other person. This generally takes at least three people, and it gets pretty, well, complicated, when only one party is validated. If Johnny is in an open relationship with both Sally and Susie, but only Sally gets credit, Susie may get pissy, and that’s gonna create no end of crap for the otherwise happy triad. Kudos to you for acknowledging the poly thing, but you have to go all the way and include everyone, openly and honestly. That’s the only way the poly thing works.

PHASE TWO: Replace What’s There With Something Better

Let’s get real here, I am in some sort of relationship with every single one of my Facebook “friends.” I have even met a lot of them in person! Some of them are even friends. I think that it makes far more sense to create a sort of multiple choice / Madlibs sort of thingy so that we can honestly asses our relationships with everyone in a way that is most useful in our goal of creating just the right persona to attract or repel the people we want. It’s a simple matter of offering “statusy” options to create a sentence. You select one answer from each applicable column of options. For instance:

Option 1: I have never met this person but “friended” them because I – am desperate to appear popular / want them to notice me / think it will make THIS PERSON jealous

Option 2: I actually know this person.

Option 3:  I – am / wish I were / once was / obsess over the idea of

Option 4: working with / dating / at a party and introduced to / married to / fucking / stalking / fantasizing about / trying to be like  / totally real friends with / in preschool with them and felt bad turning down their friend request

Optional Clarifications. Some of these things really need to be clarified a bit, things like frequency and intent matter in a relationship, after all. So:

Option 4 A: but, only – when I’m drunk / because I have to / so that my parents won’t get mad at me / until I can find something better / every now and then / I have no idea who they really are

Option 4 B: exclusively / occasionally / as part of a larger pool of prospects

Option 5: Person’s Name with link to their profile

Then you actually get useful data, something like this:

  • I actually know Billy. I wish I were fucking him, every now and then, as part of a larger pool of prospects.
  • I have never met Alexis, but being her friend makes me appear popular and I obsess over the idea of being like her until I can find something better.
  • I once was at a party and introduced to Larry but I have no idea who he really is.

You see, this is much more useful. Obviously, needs some fine-tuning, but I am confident that this is the way to go.

Of course, there’d need to be a way for the other person to approve, or at least explain, the relationship status they’ve been defined within. That’ll be fun!

The next step, of course, will be to deal with cleaning up the photo-tagging. Like  making people explain why they “tagged” people in photos that they are not actually in. Like:

I know he’s not actually in the picture but I tagged him so that people will – know that he’s mine now / see that he was with me that weekend / know I’m fucking him because then I’ll look cool.

But let’s deal with how we define relationships first, then we can tackle how we manipulate people with them.

Thanks Facebook team. Don’t worry, we can do it, we can make relationships make sense once and for all.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2010 6:54 pm

    FWIW, it’s certainly possible to be in an open relationship with only two people. Just because a given relationship between two people is open to the possibility of other relationships doesn’t automatically mean that there *are* other relationships. 🙂

  2. Alyssa permalink*
    August 7, 2010 7:31 pm

    true enough. but they ought to at least LET you name the third…. 🙂

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