Southern View: Should you display your relationship status?

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Facebook statuses: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

According to a survey conducted by Ellison, Steinfield and Lamp (2007), about 90 percent of college students include their relationship status on Facebook.

This means whether he or she is single, in a relationship, engaged, etc., it’s on the social network for all friends and family members to view and discuss.

It’s a social symbol for where we stand in society.

If we list the status, then we are making the statement that we want society to know who we are seeing, or not seeing.

If we choose to hide our relationship status, then we are choosing to exclude that part of our life from society to avoid gossip or unnecessary nosiness.

The question is, should we display our relationship status on Facebook? How important, or unimportant is that?

On one side, there are people who prefer to keep their social lives more private.

For those of us who utilize the social network strictly for the bare minimum, such as working on a class project or keeping in touch with family members across the country, the privacy settings seem to work for keeping other aspects private.

There is an amount of privacy that comes along with keeping a relationship off Facebook.

No one can judge us for what they don’t know.

However, they can speculate that a missing relationship status means we are single, when that may not be the case.

By hiding a relationship status, the uncertainty of how Facebook friends and third party viewers will react disappears.

Those friends will still have an opinion or a guess as to whether or not so-and-so is dating.

However, since there isn’t any sort of “Facebook Official” proof, the only evidence would be face-to-face contact in observing a couple holding hands or showing affection.

It’s a no-hassle, no questions asked approach to dating.

Dating in the real world quickly became dating in the cyber world when social norms deviated and combined the two worlds.

In the age of social media, we put a lot of stock in sharing what we’re doing almost every minute of the day.

What we post on Facebook could directly affect our profession, therefore we might try to be more cognizant of what we post.

An employer may or may not like that a future employee has been in a relationship for several years.

Or the employer might be curious, and Facebook stalk the romantic partner of a future employee to find out more information.

Facebook is like the big brother watching over us.

If we show too much, we are condemned, judged, fingers are pointed at us.

If we show too little, we are ostracized, not part of the social norm. If we aren’t on Facebook, we don’t exist.

On the other hand, why make the relationship private when Facebook is just keeping up an ongoing conversation?

If you have no problem talking about your relationship to other people, then it shouldn’t be a problem to click a button.

Once we sign up for Facebook, we are asked to share our interests in such things as movies, music and books.

So, why not share our romantic interests as well?

Changing our relationship status does not define a relationship. The only person you have to prove that you are committed to something is your partner.

Communication is the key to avoid misunderstandings.

It’s important to talk to our partner and to establish a strong trust bond so that there is open communication.

Society pressures us to make our relationship public, which makes our personal lives public.

If we have an argument or we break up with our significant other, everyone will find out once the status is changed to “single” or it is hidden completely and all of the photos of us together are removed.

Friends and family get skeptical when we say we’re in a relationship, but your profile fails to show the same. They wonder what we have to hide.

Or maybe they just want to stalk our significant other.

Either way, making relationship statuses public are just that: displaying another aspect of our life.

It may sound silly that we care so much about what others think or will perceive based on our relationship status. But at the end of the day, it’s one tiny change that we’ve made to our profile.