Facebook Data Tells Us What We Already Know About Human Nature

These Facebook Data posts about relationships is like when OKCupid did the same data analysis. It confirms what you may already believe to be true.

For example, timeline posts go way down between couples after they’ve declared themselves to be in a relationship:

We studied the group of people who changed their status from “Single” to “In a relationship” and also stated an anniversary date as the start of their relationship. During the 100 days before the relationship starts, we observe a slow but steady increase in the number of timeline posts shared between the future couple. When the relationship starts (“day 0”), posts begin to decrease.


On top of that, when someone declares themselves out of a relationship there’s an immediate spike of posts directed to them within the first couple days, followed by waves of people messaging them.


We all know what this is. I see people, usually women, declare themselves out of a relationship, and then the wolves come out to sniff around, trying to pick her up but disguising it as support.

Of course, there’s no reason to put that on your timeline unless that’s what you WANT to have happen. It’s a prime opportunity for rebounds.

Sad-Sack-Sensitive Guy Movie

Tim Grierson on Her:

Critics have praised Her as a commentary on our increasingly isolated lives as we form virtual friendships over Facebook rather than face-to-face. But Jonze’s film also proves to be a cutting indictment of the sort of Sad-Sack Sensitive Guy that appears in contemporary love stories. Though set in the future, Her really addresses our present—and one of its best insights is noting how a certain type of contemporary man, by trying to be so considerate and in touch with his feelings, is actually doing himself a disservice by overvaluing his laudable assets.

Face It: It’s Over

Chris Stokel-Walker struggled with staying Facebook friends with his ex-girlfriend:

In a relationship, you weave yourself into your partner’s life. After a breakup, you undo all that work and unpick yourself from each other’s tapestries. Belongings are exchanged (in my case, mailed to me in a taped-up George Foreman Grill box), habits are reformed, and you begin to relearn the single life.

In a pre-Facebook world, you could do that in relative privacy. You’d be sad, sure. But after the initial sting, you’d be free. Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to connect us all to one another means that now you’re left with a tie that binds and a quandary. Unless the breakup is particularly traumatic, the likelihood is that your ex’s parting words will be, “I want us to remain friends.”

There are some weak ties you shouldn’t maintain. Since we’re heading into a new year there are some things you should leave behind in 2013.

Defriend her already.

The Star Wars Test

From Stop Podcasting Yourself 297.

JJ: My last girlfriend…she’d never seen Star Wars. What a pitiful experience it was to watch…because I thought it was gonna be exciting because I thought she was pretty cool. We get along great!…She’s 29 years old and we start to watch Star Wars and about two minutes in she just turned to me and goes, “If this wasn’t famous I would’ve turned it off by now.” It was an uphill battle. She didn’t even realize it was Harrison Ford, either! About halfway through the film she asked, “Is that Harrison Ford?” I was like, “Yes! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

GC: Did she also not realize that you were excited by this, watching this together, and she should’ve just been amenable instead of being a bitch about it? Just have been like, “Oh, this is a thing you like! I will watch it and if I don’t like it I will keep it to myself.”

JJ: Where are these women that you speak of?

DS: Or fall asleep. That’s not too rude.

GC: But also, just watch the thing. I’ve watched a lot of movies in the name of love that I had no interest in watching, watched from start to finish. And then complain about it to somebody else later, not to the person who loves this movie! I can’t believe she just turned around right away and was like “Stinkeroo!”

JJ: Two robots in the desert? Is that Harrison Ford?

DS: No that’s C3PO.

JJ: Is that Harrison Ford?

DS: No, that’s the Death Star.

GC: Well, you know what? Better off without her.

DS: …is she single now?

The test is not “does she like Star Wars?” We KNOW you probably won’t. The test is, “If I watch Star Wars with her is she just going to whine about it the whole time?”

I have failed this test with things that are not Star Wars. Downtown Abbey. Duck Dynasty. Shark Week. I couldn’t just sit there. Three strikes and I was out.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Not simply a cold-hearted thing to say.

The scene, watched in a vacuum, seems pretty straight forward. Scarlett is begging Rhett not to leave and telling him how her life will be in shambles. Rhett replies (evilly) “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

The background, of course, is much more complicated. Rhett had already given up on the relationship, thanks to Scarlett’s complete and utter apathy towards him (despite the fact that he made several sacrifices for her benefit). The final straw is when Scarlett runs into Ashley’s arms for comfort after Melanie’s death, with Rhett standing right there.

Now the book, in my opinion, portrayed the scene much better. Rhett talks to her for a minute, telling her how he used to love her but now he feels nothing. How he tried and tried to feel for her and wants to be able to care about the relationship, but (takes a breath and pauses) “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

It’s a very sad and disheartening line from someone who was telling the truth. Not some callous taunt delivered to break a persons heart.

“All my exes live in texts”

On breakups in the facebook era, although I question if this is really social media’s fault and more about snooping exes who just can’t help themselves.

I have 700 friends on Facebook, 36 of whom I consider exes.

Is that a lot? That’s just the people on Facebook.

Er, anyway.

Note the part about the guy who “fades away” – he’s the only one in the story treating breakups as an adult and moves on…besides the way he broke up, if you believe they were actually in a relationship.

You don’t need to be a bitch

On “Why Men Love Bitches”:

The truth is that men are attracted to bitches, but we don’t love them because they are bitches; we just love women that happen to be bitches. In other words, men are attracted to bitches for a quality other than their bitchiness – a quality that any woman (bitch or not) can have. A similar thing is true of women who like “assholes.” They only like those men because they are also strong, or confident, or powerful. They don’t like them because they are assholes, they like them in spite of their being assholes.

This is why we can’t be friends

Although women seem to be genuine in their belief that opposite-sex friendships are platonic, men seem unable to turn off their desire for something more.

Ladies, almost always, he likes you. It’s science.

If you operate on the “we’re just friends” angle you’re either naive or taking advantage of it for the attention and desire he gives you.

A Catholic and an Atheist

I know the title of this post sounds like the beginning of a bad joke… a Catholic and an atheist walk into a bar… but it’s actually about something I never thought I’d do in a million years. I’m dating a religious woman.

I’m often interested in how couples with different political, religious, or health/diet (say one of them eats meat, the other doesn’t) beliefs stay together for so long.[^1] One comment here:

Good luck. My atheist dad has been married to my Catholic mother for over 35 years.

The most famous example I can think of is James Carville and Mary Matalin, opposing political strategists and pundits who have been married for about 20 years.