The Breakup Coach

November 5, 2009 / 4 COMMENTS

How to discreetly change your relationship status on Facebook Updated June 2012

If you spend any time on Facebook you've probably seen one of those embarrassing updates on your news feed announcing that one of your friends "is now single" or "is no longer in a relationship with so-and-so", complete with that little icon of a broken heart. Ouch. Maybe this has even happened to you when you went to change your own relationship status...or your ex did. Double ouch.

As if a breakup weren't hard enough to deal with, now you get to have a bunch of messages from semi-random people who happen to be your "friends" on the site but don't actually know you that well. Ugh. And how about a wall post from a frenemy dripping with fake concern: "Hope you're doing ok since you got dumped, Stella.  Don't worry, there's still time cross off your 'plus one' on the caterer list for my awesome engagement party next week--see you there". Grrrrr!

So here's how to avoid adding insult to injury by quietly changing your Facebook status.

  1. Go to your profile

  1. Click on the "Edit Profile" button on the upper right part of the screen. This will take you to the Edit page.

  2. Click on the "Friends and Family" link on the left of the Edit page.

  3. Click on the pulldown menu and choose your new status.

  4. BEFORE YOU SAVE ANY CHANGES, click on that little padlock to the right of the Relationship Status menu.  Pull down the dropdown menu and select "Only Me".  This will prevent the change you're about to make from appearing in everyone's news feed!

  5. If you're really trying to be discreet, instead of selecting "Single"in the Relationship Status Menu, select the blank space at the top of the menu. Now there will be no relationship status listed on your profile at all and it will remain a mystery to lurkers on your page.

You can always go back later and change the privacy setting so that people can see your new status on your page, but it won't pop up in anyone's feed.

Unfortunately you have no control over how your ex chooses to handle the information on their end, but it wouldn't hurt to pass on the instructions to them if you're on civil terms.

And of course, you can save yourself a lot of trouble beforehand by being extremely conservative about posting your relationship status on Facebook in the first place--an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Here's to minimizing digital heartbreak,
The BreakUp Coach

(Note: these instructions are correct currently, but if you spend any time on Facebook you know that they're always changing stuff on there, so be aware that the details of how to do this may change in the future.  In general it's a good idea to keep up with your privacy settings by checking them every once in a while).

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Jennifer Brindley - November 10, 2009 12:00 am

I was broken up with via phone, and I thought it was CRAP. I can't imagine someone dumping me over e-mail, facebook or Twitter. Even for the poor shmuck who dumped me on the phone, I drove to his house immediately to collect my stuff. He couldn't avoid me even if he tried. I'm just not down for that. To me it shows disrespect.


Ask Angie - November 10, 2009 12:00 am

I think after two or three dates a "I'm just not that into you" email is fine. But once you hit that part of the relationship where you are assuming you'll spend your free time together, then it's time for a conversation.

Jen - November 12, 2009 12:00 am

If you've only been on a couple of dates and most of your contact has been through text that would be ok. I'm not sure that even counts as a breakup.

Bubbie - November 14, 2009 12:00 am

I so love your approach to break-up's. So practical and easy-to-follow advice. I'll pass your blog over to anyone who has a question that you can help them. Mine is really an open forum made up of common sense by people who have been there, done that. I wish all schooled professionals were as wonderful as you.

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