In an effort to protect the persons involved I will henceforward call the couple Louis and Joyce. Their true names are nothing similar to this. I’ve tweaked (not tweeted) a few details for clarification purposes only.
About a week ago Louis shared that he had broken up with Joyce (his girlfriend) on Twitter. The tweet read “sad to say Joyce & I are no longer.” Perhaps Louis was feeling sad and lonely and was attempting to gather some pals around him to get through this? Uh-uh. As the facts unfolded it became apparent that Joyce had no idea Louis had broken up with her—via Twitter. Joyce was one of Louis’s loyal followers—for two years. Had Louis forgotten to “unfollow” or block Joyce? Or was this public announcement to over 800 followers, who in seconds would have the news of the unshared break-up, a pre-meditated effort to hurt and humiliate someone he once cared about in a once unheard of format? You tell me.
Joyce did not check her twitter feed until her lunch break and so did not see the tweet until after it circulated. She sat in her office dumb-founded and waited for her cell phone to ring- it wasn’t April Fools Day but bad jokes can happen anytime.
I don’t know if Louis ever called Joyce to explain but regardless of whether he did or didn’t, from the view from my chair, he’s a huge asshole and I’m being nice.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first story like this I’ve heard. I actually hear about text, voicemail and email breakups all the time—it seems no one has to speak directly to anyone anymore. And particularly rude, inept, inarticulate, uncaring or stupid, people can sext, text, rage and breakup in 140 characters or less.
So my question is— What the hell is this about? When did some people get the notion that they could beg out of a thing call dialogue, interaction, communication and a human interaction to talk out their relationship — even if that dialogue results in the ending of a relationship? What happened to a kiss and a hug to remind us what once was and may no longer be? What about the chance for closure and understanding? Instead through facebook we can de-friend or block communication, un-follow, delete and block twitter followers, phones with visual voice mail can pre-screen and restrict callers. Break up via the Internet is both clean and dirty.
I love technology. I love email, the Internet and even facebook. Each has helped us to access information in ways that were unthinkable not so long ago. The disabled can get to the library and chat with friends. You can re-discover your best friend from the fifth grade or the girl who you bunked with in camp at 9 (I did). I love that we can converse with others who are miles away and do it all without expensive long distance charges and the hassle of transcending time zones.
I know I am still slightly behind the times but I still think the words “did you speak to him or her?” means really “speaking” to one another—like in you heard the other person’s voice. Although it’s hard to believe, email didn’t become popular until the 90’s. Facebook wasn’t born until 2005. Until then it was face-to-face, looking (at a person) and talking – but those days are seemingly over. And the quick slide down the technology abyss can have not-so-postive results. Research is already demonstrating that the lack of human connection and interaction on a regular basis is leading to social awkwardness and an increase in depression. We are headed for a troublesome future.
How many of us buy a wedding, birthday, and baby gifts on the internet? And marry? Yes, you can even get married on-line (I’m not sure it’s legit but I imagine it will be at some time)? I’m wondering if you ever get to meet the person, meet up at the alter, or you just skip the whole interpersonal thing altogether? Internet romances flourish; emotional affairs abound but what of touch, eye contact and body language? How often and how ripe are these new communication tools for miscommunications and unimaginable wounding? How often are relationships left with a bunch of emailed and texted words—just words and lines of text devoid of love and understanding? Did you know there are a multitude of break-up Apps that simplify the process even further?
Can you have understanding and closure without the touch of a hand, the look in the eye, the grazing of a cheek and the experience of truly being in the same place at the same time? I don’t think so. Sadly, I’ve been de-friended. I have even de-friended. Although I reached out repeatedly for an opportunity to speak and share, a really close relationship ended with a lot of words ( a text – not mine) that looked more like my grocery list than an exchange between two people who once cared about each other — a lot. I have to imagine that this is the best some people can do but it’s a cop out, it lacks courage and compassion. Breaking up is hard to do but doing it in 4G, Twitter, Facebook or text is just really lame and in the case of Louis and Joyce-reprehensible.
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