Thoughts on Announcing Your Divorce on Facebook

Since I’ve reached a certain age, I’ve noticed that I don’t get very many wedding invitations any more. In fact, I think it’s been a good four or five years since I’ve been invited to a wedding. Which might mean I need to make some new friends. Or it might mean I’m getting old. Either way, it’s kind of a bummer, because I do like cake.

In direct contrast to the lack of wedding invitations in my mailbox, I also have noticed several friends getting divorced, which isn’t something you celebrate with cake (at least most of the time). And it’s occurred to me getting divorced makes things terribly awkward in certain social settings, both in real life and on the Internet.

Since Facebook connects me with people I don’t see on a regular basis, this provides our world with new, socially awkward situations. Facebook has dutifully notified me of certain relationship status changes. When someone I know was formerly married and suddenly becomes single, well, I admit that I appreciate the notification. In general, I follow my own rule: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. And if I found out about someone’s divorce on Facebook, there’s a high probability that we’re not close enough for me to find out in person.

But having that little notification does come in handy when and if I run into someone at the grocery store and ask, “Say, how is your wife doing?” — only discover that the correct noun is now ex-wife.

I haven’t had anyone play out their divorce on Facebook yet, for which I am quite grateful. I’m sure it’s happened though. I have, however, run into the opposite situation — someone who got divorced and didn’t tell anyone. That creates a whole new level of social awkwardness, let me tell you. Because I did run into this person in real life… and it was… um… awkward.

Anyway, I’m not advocating for one method over another here, only acknowledging how difficult it is to navigate the new virtual social network when it collides with our real-life social network.

I am advocating for eating more cake though. That’s a trend I can get behind.

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