Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reading Between the Updates

The foundations of a relationship can sometimes be gleaned by simply keeping a keen eye on what either of the two seem to celebrate the most.    While a great connection and a rich sex life are both vital to a relationship, one can discern quite easily by glancing at the details what one or the other celebrates the most in their relationship.  It is in such introspections that social media such as Mark Zuckerberg's blue logo monstrosity, Facebook.com, or one's blog can be much more revealing than one expects.

Who needs to worry about losing one's privacy to Facebook
when we're all too willing to already over-share information?
I know of a pair who when I first heard of them was talked about as the perfect sweetest couple EVER.   In many ways, their relationship was deemed to be a prime example of a perfect gay long term relationship.  But then in the scant number of months leading to their break-up, it was quiet evident that all their posts were about themselves and their own INDIVIDUAL celebrations of life.    Updates tended to focus on how one, rather than both, or even at least one talking about the other, enjoyed their day.

"Hit the gym.  Feeling good.  I love today."

"Decided to catch the latest Bond movie.  Should be fun."
"Got a haircut.  Love my new look."

Me.  I.  All about the person and not about them.  All about enjoying life alone.
I couldn't help but wonder when I read them, "Where they not ever together?!?!?"  At one point, the two ate at some Italian restaurant.  Their updates then followed.

"Had delicious pasta today.  Love the food here!"
Came one update.  Okay, so he was enjoying his night... even if it sounded alone.

The other, around the same time, sent this update:

"Bored.   Anxious to go home.  Good food at least."

And again, barely any hint of being together. 

Maybe it was a case of being in the closet.  Or maybe it was a hint that the other wasn't too keen on where they decided to go that night.  But one would have thought the updates would have at least hinted that they were hanging out at the same place.

When things fell south, many were devastated.  To many, it was unthinkable.  How could they have ended such a "perfect" relationship?  I didn't even bat an eyelash.  I could see it a mile away.  They were too happy with their own lives they did not really enjoy sharing it with one another.
Yep, the POKE icon is actually a hidden taunt at what you are.
Another pair I heard of is a stranger mix.  While I don't know them personally, the mutual friends who we share often tell me of what they read in their newsfeed.  Supposedly, the updates that flow have a clear theme.  Travel.  Expensive things.  Costly food.  Outlandish indulgences.  While living a money-landen life is not bad in any way, celebrating them alone does make one wonder:  what is the other doing other than financing all this?    Even worse, all these celebratory posts are to cheer about "they are mine" rather than "we now own this!"  In some ways, I've tried to be more open-minded about such relationships, but deep down I fear the day when the shit hits the fan.  Somehow I already can tell if things go south, "How do we survive this" will come only after the question, "What do I keep?"

Then, there is this pair I know of which loves to play the switcharoo game in their social network updates.  The two are greatly in love and passionately care for one another, but due to personal reasons are openly exploring having sex with other partners.   My feelings on open relationships aside, I am happy that they do at least keep an honest and open flow of communication between them - honestly sharing if they found someone interesting and discussing whether or not it is alright to have fun with the said person or not.  None of the "I'll claim to be single/your ex" manipulations in play.  So their social network updates are tailored to hit the said "market".  I applaud them for their courage in choosing to wade in what I feel is potentially dangerous waters.  The risk of tearing apart trust can be tremendously detrimental to a long term partnership.

I do however pity the poor soul who becomes the victim of their united front.    I can only hope that the poor sod at least is given a clear understanding of what the situation is, and isn't lead on to think he's in a relationship with a single man.
To quote, Sharleen Spiteri and Johnny McElhone,
"You can say what you want, but it won't change my mind, I'll feel the same about you."
And of course there are those who keep their private lives to themselves.  A friend of mine is married and between the two of them, only she had a facebook account.  Her updates are often hilarious, giving an insider glimpse of the industry she works in and she rarely posts actual updates about her husband.   However, on the times that she does, one can easily see the honesty and affection they contain.  No pomp and overly dressed statements that try to make the relationship sound more fantastic than it really is.  Just an honest statement of how well things are between them.
There will always be them liars out there.
Or worse.
Ultimately, people who embrace the idea of having a virtual presence in a social network tend to seek an outlet to share openly things they appreciate and celebrate.  And what these things are can give another a good glimpse of what to expect of the person who wrote those updates.   While it ain't a precise science, I think it wouldn't take a special degree in anything to discern what kind of a guy one would have to be to post affectionate messages aimed anonymously to someone as status messages, when the guy's said partner is clearly someone who supposedly doesn't go online.  Or what to expect from a date with someone whose profile picture still shows him wearing the favorite shirt his ex gave him.   

Sometimes, deny what one wilt, the updates reveal the details indeed.
So if you have a facebook account, well, maybe you ought to take a step back and look at how your updates normally sound.  That may give you a better idea on why some people know you better than you think!


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