Ever since that first “Dear John” letter was delivered by carrier pigeon, breakups have sucked, but social media makes them suck harder. Even if you block, hide, and unfriend, you can still be attacked by an unexpected photo of your ex posted on the accounts of mutual friends. Rather than be the victim of such virtual hostility, you should harness the power of social media to fight back, and prove to everyone that you are doing just fine, thanks.
It’s Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we’re looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting shit done. We like to think we’re shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That’s up to you.
Is this petty? Yes, but being petty can feel real good, and if you’re not to the “go with peace, and live with love and light” stage of your breakup, you’re entitled to a cheap thrill or five. Here are some of the ways you can win at social media, and thus win the breakup. (Please note: These are not strategies to “win anybody back.” If that’s your goal, please ignore all of the following.)
Hide, but Don’t Block
In order for your posts to make your ex feel like they really screwed up, they have to be able to see them. This can’t happen if you unfriend them, block them, and make your Instagram private. You, of course, don’t want to see their shit, so hide them on Facebook, unfollow them on Instagram (depending on how many followers they have, they probably won’t notice), and mute them on Twitter.
Be Choosy About Selfies
It may be tempting to post sad, sexy selfies of yourself lying in bed with mascara running down your face to express yourself and your pain, but please refrain. In fact, while you should post photos of yourself, very few of them should be selfies, unless you are taking a selfie with someone else. Posting a pic of yourself that you clearly did not take proves that you are out and about with other people, and who knows who that mystery man or woman behind the camera is. (It’s probably your sister who insisted you put on “real clothes” and look at trees or some crap, but no one will know.) Other, effective photos you should post on your various social media accounts include:
- Photos of yourself doing things your ex would not have enjoyed, which demonstrates how happy you are with your newfound freedom. You didn’t even realize how much they were holding you back.
- Photos of yourself out with a cutie. Bonus points if you’re sharing a beverage.
- Photos of yourself doing shit they definitely would have enjoyed. It is especially important that someone else take the photo here.
- Photos of yourself looking hot AF. It’s okay if this is a true selfie, or even a mirror selfie.
Also, any and all photos where you look truly happy should be shared. Not just to make your ex feel bad, but to remind yourself that you feel good.
Keep Any Breakup Humor Self-Deprecating
If you are on the Twitter, you may get the urge to tweet some real clever zingers at the expense of the person who ripped out your still-beating heart and casually tossed it in the paper shredder. This is ill-advised for a few reasons. For one, it’s just mean, and though this is all about “winning” the breakup, there’s no reason to be outright cruel to another human who is probably in a lot of pain. It’s also tacky, and you are not tacky.
But humor (supplemented with some of these) really is the best medicine in this case, and you should make jokes, especially slightly self-deprecating, “wow, I was such a fool back then,” kind of jokes, that demonstrate growth, maturity, and self-awareness.
While going through my divorce last year, I may or may not have made a divorce playlist (I did). I didn’t share the whole thing on social media—too obvious—but I did share a few songs from it every now and again with real subtle captions like “song of the day.” You are welcome to borrow any and all of my songs if you wish, but selecting your own can be very cathartic.
If, however, you are in dire need of recommendations, let me suggest “Quick!” by The Magnetic Fields, and both “What Makes You Think You’re the One” and “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac, because no one has ever broken up more spectacularly than Buckingham and Nicks.
Of course, you’ll eventually arrive at a place where you don’t care if your ex is snooping on your Insta, or reading your tweets, or clicking through old Facebook photos at 2 am, and you won’t be doing those things either. And that, my friend, is when you’ll have officially won.