09 December 2009

Facebook relationship status/looking for: bothersome

I want you to stop and think about Facebook for a minute. It's weird! You enumerate all this stuff about yourself, so people know know that you're into the Canadian treatment of pre-rhotic vowels or fiber before you pronounce 'sorry' funny or show up with a box of high-fiber o's. Is this important? Is it killing the ability of one to describe oneself to strangers? Is it just plain wacky that people do this? I don't know. In any case it seems as though we have the ability to glean a great deal about people without even asking.

Do we?

I'm turning specifically to relationship status and looking for. Let's say you're browsing through and you see relationship status: single, looking for: friendship. What do you make of that? Someone who, at the present, is opposed to the idea of anything that could lead to romantic relationship? That's what it seems to read.

I bet, though if you were to take a stranger's or maybe even a friend's profile and see those fields, you wouldn't read it literally. I don't for sure. There's a healthy dose of denial being thrown around here. I suspect, you'd have to look long and hard to find people like that and if you did you'd probably find that they're robots, or eat their own poop, or are Martians. This isn't just some bitter guy who was told by a girl she didn't want a boyfriend and then the next time he saw her, doopsies she mentions her new boyfriend at the soonest opportunity. I can think of at least one film (don't judge me) at the moment that addresses this theme, and I'm fairly sure if you asked your friends you could dredge up stories like this. The denotation is no fucking good.

So what's the connotation? I think it could vary. The one that's striking me as pretty feasible at the moment is: I'm using a very strict filter, it's probably not worth asking me out. Or maybe there's some hidden relationship at play that's not being admitted because it's in some sort of trial stage or something. Yeah it's silly as fuck that one could interpret two pretty straightforward fields on a social networking site as having some weird other totally different meaning, but can't you see how this could happen?

On the other end of the spectrum, setting looking for to "anything I can get" can only be described as suicide, for guys anyway. It's honest, but what does it buy you? Are you going to positively change anyone's viewpoint on you? If so do they eat their own poop?

So basically what I'm saying is that these fields are used not as a representation as reality, but to generate some subtext. And that kinda sucks.

So I have my status set as relationship status: single, looking for: friendship, dating, a relationship. I think it's fairly honest. For the longest time it was friendship, a relationship. I didn't want dating if it went nowhere: too much risk of emotional turmoil. One day, my neighbor got into my Facebook account and in addition to setting it so I liked men, changed it to friendship, dating, a relationship. While I changed the men back to women, I thought about the dating addition and kept it. At that point did I undergo some revelation that made what I was looking for fundamentally change? Probably not. The real sticking point was should I really be demanding a relationship? My status could alienate some girl who just doesn't want to think about a relationship, but maybe through dating would develop an appreciation for one. So yeah boom subtext. And I don't see myself as subtexty.

So here's a puzzle. Say a girl seems to be taking a liking to you. Then you go without seeing her for about a month, for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile you see her Facebook relationship status stay single, but her looking for change from friendship, dating, a relationship; to friendship, dating; to friendship. What do you read from that? Anything? Honestly I'm not posing this as some sort of desperate plea to determine what to do, really I just want to see what sort of thoughts this evokes in others. It's horrendously interesting to read this stuff.

It's probably best to not even pay attention to it. But who likes rejection? As actually benign as it generally is, it generates immense fear, so why not be at least a little prepared. So you want to be informed before taking action. But you can't fully trust what's being said.

It really is bothersome! We're asked to be honest about what we want, and then it seem like we game it anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, absolutely, it's probably best to not even pay attention to it. Tons of people don't pay attention to their Facebook information, they just set it when they make the account and then go pick their noses. Or their friends set shit as jokes and then they don't notice or bother to change it back. Or they don't think deeply about what to set. The last reason anyone should avoid pursuing someone romantically is some random unconfirmed Facebook information.