How Being Single Affects The Way You Use Facebook

How Being Single Affects The Way You Use Facebook

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How Being Single Affects The Way You Use Facebook

Last week I caught up for dinner with an old friend who I went to high school with, who I haven’t seen in 10 years. It was lovely. We ate way too much prosciutto, drank way too much wine and talked far too much about relationships. One of the topics of conversation that came up was how people in relationships behave differently to single people on Facebook. I have plenty of friends who have been single, married, in relationships, in complicated relationships, divorced and actively dating over the years on Facebook. I’ve noticed recently that on the whole, people’s FB behaviour changes quite dramatically from when they’re in relationships to when they’re single. Their behaviour also changes dramatically from when they’re actively dating to when they’re not. Here’s what I’ve observed. These are purely observational and not judgemental. Facebook habits of people in relationships are up next.

Single People Hate Being Tagged in Ugly Photos

Most people hate being tagged in ugly photos but it seems to be my single friends who have ninja like untagging skills. A close friend of mine is recently single and I’ve noticed that if I post a messy Saturday night photo of us where it looks like our faces are melting off  and we’ve forgotten how to use our eyes, she quickly untags herself and hides the photo from her public profile. When she was in a relationship she’d tag her boyfriend, her brother and half her family in the photo so everyone could see how awful we both looked. She’s more discerning now about what ends up on her page. Most of my friends who are in relationships don’t seem to care as much.

Single People Freak Out If Facebook Announces A New Connection They’ve Made

Another friend and his long-term girlfriend broke up amicably a few years ago. When he started dating someone who was a mutual acquaintance of him and his ex, Facebook alerted everyone in his feed that he had just added this new squeeze as a friend on Facebook and, figuratively speaking, he shat himself. Everything was fine and he was probably over-reacting but my single friends are a bit more cautious about Facebook announcing any new connections. My attached friends don’t seem to give much thought at all about who they add to their Facebook friends list or who knows about it.

Whole Chapters in The Photo Albums of Single People Will Sometimes Disappear

A lovely friend of mine is a serial monogomist. She has a new serious boyfriend every couple of years and she’s now in her 30s. This means that there’s at least 5 giant gaps in her Facebook photo album history where ex-boyfriends have been ruthlessly erased at the end of the relationship. I know that not everyone goes through and culls past relationship photos from their albums but this chick is a chronic selfie taker and whichever boyfriend she’s with, ends up in half the photos. She never deletes the photos, just hides them from public view out of respect for whoever she’s newly dating, so that a million photos of her looking happy with a guy she once loved aren’t constantly plaguing him on Facebook. 

Updates from Single People Are Quite Generic, Especially If They’re Actively Dating

A girl I actually don’t know very well, broke up with her long-term boyfriend about 2 years ago. When they were together her updates were hilarious re-enactments of her trips to work on the train, complete with snarky made up names for her fellow passengers like The Face Lickers and Stinky Wee Man (I never figured out if Stinky Wee Man was a smelly short man or smelly regular sized man who smelled like wee but I’ll be sure to update you if I ever find out). When she started dating a new guy, these updates just stopped. They were absent for about a year but have slowly started trickling back now that she’s happily settled in her new relationship. There does seem to be a bit more self censoring amongst the single folk on my Facebook feed.

The Profile Pictures of Single People Are Usually Flattering and Not Weird

Most of my single friends on Facebook, or at least the ones that are actively dating, generally seem to have a nice photo of themselves as their profile picture. It’s recognisable, they usually look like they’re having a good time and they generally look super hot as well. A random selection of my attached Facebook friends’ profile’s present like this – a close up of them flipping the bird, a picture of Astro Boy, a picture of Oscar Wilde, a picture of a toy monkey, a weird symbol thing and a blank blue square. What is it with that?

What do you think? Has your Facebooking changed according to your relationship status? What other changes have you observed in the light of everyone having an online history?

Stay tuned for part 2 – How Being in a Relationship Affects The Way You Use Facebook.

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Basket face. 7 months ago

    I hate to admit it as a newly single female. But yes, everything you say is correct. God, why are we so lame single people? Why can’t we keep our dontgiveafuck coolness.

    • Author
      Smaggle 7 months ago

      Oh love it’s not about single people being lame! It’s just a mind set that changes behvaiours.

  2. Nessbow 7 months ago

    I’m recently single (for the first time in a decade) and I’m not sure that many of these apply to me. The only one that does is the ‘ugly tagging’ one, but that was also true of me when I was in a relationship.
    The one thing I hate about Facebook now that I’m single is the ads. All of my sidebar ads are now for dating sites, weight-loss products or cosmetic enhancements. Because obviously the only thing on my mind is attracting another mate. Yeah, right.

    • Author
      Smaggle 7 months ago

      That’s horrible! How gross. I only ever untag photos that are incriminating like if I look super drunk or something! :-)

  3. Melbee 7 months ago

    This is truly hilarious. Firstly love the blog! As for FB. I am usually single and I recently dated a lovely man for 4 months. I was painfully aware to not take any photos of us happily in love so as to avoid many of the messy scenario’s listed above. But I for sure noticed I was more comfortable to put some more “out there” comments up. Heaven forbid a man fall in love with a women with an opinion!!!!

    • Author
      Smaggle 7 months ago

      Ha! Thank you! I totally agree, once you feel more stable in a dating scenario people do tend to relax a bit.

  4. Emily @ The Beetle Shack 7 months ago

    I’ ve been married MY WHOLE LIFE. I want some faltering Facebook profile pic opportunities. Time for divorce!

    But yes, I’d have to agree- single friends have flattering (kid of awkward) profile pics!

  5. Fiona Dolan 7 months ago

    Firstly, it was so amazing to catch up last week! I now feel like a bad influence however, tempting you with so much wine on a Monday… but it was so worth it. Love when you see someone after so long and you’re comfortable enough to get right down and dirty with conversation! It was so great.
    When I was single, I was definitely a paranoid de-tagger of “ugly” photos. I’ve now been with my manfriend for over four years and couldn’t be bothered anymore, but I can completely understand why people do it. Social media is pretty much a PR exercise and I always try to be positive and fun on Facebook, so if you’re single I can only imagine this is amplified x1million!
    I’d like to think other than the de-tagging, I act the same way though!!

    • Author
      Smaggle 7 months ago

      Oh it was fanatastic! I had SUCH a lovely time! I agree about being positive and fun on Facebook, people who moan are just so depressing. I like to see things that make me smile so I try to put that out there instead of negativity.

  6. Natalie Mulford 7 months ago

    Actually, now that I think about it, yes! I’d been single for the past two years, but started dating a new guy around 3 months ago, and as I’m thinking back, it has changed the way i’ve posted. Heh, I never even actually realised!

    • Author
      Smaggle 7 months ago

      It’s interesting isn’t it? I love looking at the way people behave. It’s fascinating!

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