How to discreetly change your relationship status on Facebook

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!

Since there's even  a fan page dedicated to gossiping about other people's status changes it's a good idea to be discreet about yours.

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

1) Log in to Facebook and click on the "Settings" link at the top right of your screen
2) When the "My Account" screen comes up, find "Privacy" on the list and click on the link to the right that reads "Manage"
3) Click on the link that reads "News Feed and Wall"
4) UNCHECK any boxes related to relationship status (there's that little heart icon again)

This will stop notifications from going out when you change your relationship status. (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).

OK, now you're ready to change your status:

1) Go to your profile
2) Click on the "edit my profile" link in the section below your profile picture.
3) Under basic information, go to the pulldown menu for "relationship status" and click on it.
4) If you're really trying to be discreet, instead of selecting "single", 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 it to single when you're feeling up to publicly declaring your new status.

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 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

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Jen said...

Wow. I never thought about having to be discreet about my relationship status. I only add people I trust and anyone that got snippy or anything but supportive would find themselves quickly removed from my friend list. This is good information to know, though.

Sasha Carr, Ph.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Torturedbutterfly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Torturedbutterfly said...

thanks Sasha !!! It really work for me :)