People deactivate their Facebook for a number of reasons, few of them legitimate or effective. But if you just typed your friend’s name into Search and they’re MIA, they may be going through one of these five crises.
1. They need a job
Is it true that certain companies have struck a deal with Facebook whereby they can access your profile to make sure you’re not a crackhead or a God-fearing nutso? IDK. I can’t understand how it would ever be legal, but I have to believe the myth started with some nugget of truth. In any case, it has a lot of job-seeking 22-year-olds scared shitless. In the weeks leading up to graduation, as my friends were putting a final coat of polish (i.e., bullshit) on their resumes, they deactivated their Facebooks in an effort to erase all photographic evidence of their boozy, shmoozy collegiate existence. Or, in a more irritating scenario, they’d alter their name to something unsearchable—“Mark Garrison” > “Marky Garr”!—in which case my usual course of action was to unfriend them anyway.
The problem with this trend is that people interviewing for legit jobs have skewed ideas about what constitutes a compromising photograph—“OMG, Ernst & Young is going to see that pic of me smoking a cigarette!”—and people who should probably be more concerned about their job situation can’t imagine that their tagged photos are at all inappropriate—“Listen, if they can’t handle the fact that I upload Photoboth photos of myself taking bong hits, they can’t handle ME.”
2. Their ex is broadcasting their newfound love like it’s world news
I don’t usually like to indulge in nostalgia, but when my significant other and I broke up a year ago I wanted to jet-pack straight back to the Stone Age. Facebook makes forgetting about your ex impossible. You can hide them from your newsfeed, you can block them from Chat (seriously, no one knows about this, but you can create a friend “list” with just your ex on it, and then when they’re online, just click the “Go Offline” button for that list), you can un-tag yourself from all photos in which the two of you appear together, you can even defriend them, but they will never, ever go away.
They’ll write on your friends’ walls, they’ll appear in new pictures, and when they get a new boo they make that shit PUBLIC. And yes, they’re doing it to get your attention—don’t let your friends convince you otherwise. Facebook is the cruel bitch who keeps bringing up your ex in conversation to make you feel bad. Temporarily closing the curtains on this excruciating window into your ex’s new romance is the most understandable reason for deactivating.
3. According to new tagged photos, they’re a fat, ugly f*ck
Except for cocky assholes and bulimic people, no one really loves tagged photos of themselves. Unlike posed photographs, they’re usually taken with shitty cameras at weird angles. And unlike mirrors, you can’t shift and turn your body and dim the light until you’re satisfied with the image in front of you. It’s just a dead little picture, out there on the web, for anyone to look at, and you can’t do anything about it. Usually un-tagging suffices, but sometimes an especially awful onslaught can drive the self-conscious to deactivate. These people will usually diet for four hours (i.e., skip lunch) and then reactivate when they think of a funny status to put up. It’s a little needless and overdramatic, but it’s an effective way of projecting your frustration without projectile vomiting.
4. They want attention
The bulk of people who deactivate their Facebook are lonely people who want attention from their friends. Maybe they wrote on a friend’s wall and that friend never wrote back; maybe their friend put up a status about having the best night of their lives after claiming they were staying in. In these instances, the deactivator is faced with a catch-22. If they say anything about being hurt, they’ll seem overdramatic. But if they don’t do anything to express their hurt, the friend will think they’re a pushover and continue to take advantage of them.
The only hope is to deactivate and wait until the unfriendly-friend notices and texts them being like, “Hey, why did you deactivate your FB? What are you doing tonight? Let’s hang out!” The problem with this plan is that a friend who’s never writing you back or lying to get out of hanging out with you isn’t likely to notice and/or care that you’ve deactivated your Facebook. Like the people who think they’re fug, these attention-seekers are back to stalking and over-commenting within hours.
5. They’re legitimately ready to be done with Facebook forever
JK—no one’s ever done with Facebook! Facebook is the high school sweetheart that you break up with a million times but end up marrying. You hate how it takes over your life and requires so much of your time. You hate that it has all your friends under its spell. You hate that everyone loves it so much because it makes it that much harder for you to love it. You hate how nice it is, how smart it is, how fucking perfect it is. But then one day you’ll get over yourself and let its love wash over you, thankful that it waiting for your return all this time.
By Daniel Lefferts